New to the Highlander

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New to the Highlander

Postby MarkZ » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:06 pm

My friend just took delivery of a Highlander that has only flown off of skis or floats. Wheels have been newly installed and is ready for flight. It has 180 hrs TTAE Rotax 912ULS. I have zero time in this airframe and have no clue how to start or stop a Rotax engine. My job is to see my friend through his Sport Pilot ticket in this craft. So my question is, "Can I get a bit of advice from someone out there on the operation of the above?"
Thanks in advance!!
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby Tralika » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:16 am

MarkZ,
I suggest getting in touch with the EAA Chapter in your area. Most likely there is someone flying a 912 not far from you. Many chapters have their own Rotax Guru. I don't want to minimize the expertise found on this forum but getting up close and personal with the engine will most likely be of more benefit than reading about it. You might want to post your question on this part of the Wings Forum since it deal exclusively with Rotax engines.

viewforum.php?f=15

You don't mention any past experience with Light Sport aircraft. Have you tired to locate a flying Highlander in your area? It would be helpful to get some time in a similar aircraft before you start to fly it yourself. Most Highlander owners are happy to take someone flying and show off their plane. Especially if you buy lunch.
John Nealon
Wasilla, Alaska
Highlander Extreme #191
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby messenger » Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:39 am

I agree with tralika, post your location and find somebody close with a similar highlander and go learn a little about the rotax engine. RLM
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby MarkZ » Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:45 pm

I appreciate the response. It's really kinda strange because this airplane has only flown off of skis or floats. The previous owner was skidish about flying it off the hard surface. I don't have any problem flying the Highlander but I'm totally in the dark on the engine. We have a Rans of some flavor on the field (0TX0) with the 912 but I haven't spoken to him but plan to soon. If all goes well I should fly it by this weekend. I haven't heard anything negative about Just Aircraft and really look forward to putting it on. This airplane is drop dead georgeous and the new owner is excited to get his ticket in it.
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby Tralika » Tue Feb 11, 2014 5:07 pm

MarkZ,
I looked up 0TX0 on AirNav.com. I'm guessing the new owner bought the plane from someone out of state. Either that or it has very little time on skis. Maybe this winter you could fly it on skis but normally I'd think you would have to wait a while for the right conditions in your area. Did the new owner get the floats with the plane? If so I'm curious what kind of floats it is rigged with. I plan to fly my Highlander on floats but that's a way off. Also, on the sat photo of 0TX0, what is with the lake next to the field. I've never seen a multiple lane seaplane base before. It looks like 0TX0 has a nice grass field. Perfect place to learn to fly a taildragger.
John Nealon
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby MarkZ » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:50 pm

Sorry for the confusion, I live on 0TX0 and the plane is based at T67 sporting a never used set of wheels. The skis and floats stayed with the previous owner who plans on another Highlander at a future date. I have talked to Scott at Just Aircraft about flying characteristics and the operation of the 912ULS. What a n!ce guy who works for a welcoming company. I look forward this experience and will report my personal findings.
MZ
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby av8rps » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:07 pm

Hi Mark,

I am quite familiar with that beautiful Highlander you are going to fly as my friend was the builder. And yes, he did essentially only fly it on amphib floats and skis, and therefore had little experience flying it as a taildragger on blacktop (I believe his limited experience with it on wheels was all on a grass strip). So if he wasn't current on wheels, and not used to flying it off hard surface, I can understand him being a bit skittish about it.

I also have a Highlander, and the two of us have had a few discussions about what tailwheel might make our Highlanders handle better on blacktop, as I have found mine also a bit squirrely on blacktop. And even though we both have hundreds of hours of tailwheel time in other airplanes, the problem is that we both primarily fly floats and skis, so our tailwheel skills can easily get rusty. I know he talked about putting a Scott tailwheel on it, or one of the Alaskan Bushwheel tailwheels in an effort to make it a bit more docile on pavement, but never got around to it because he was only flying it on floats and skis. If it were my airplane, and I was new to the Highlander, I would either find a grass strip to fly it from until I had some hours under my belt, or I would seriously consider upgrading the tailwheel. Even better, I'd do both of those things.

There are a lot of good discussions on this forum about the best tailwheel for the Highlander. Recent discussions include good info on the new "locking" tailwheel design. The designer of the Highlander (Troy) told me recently that the locking tailwheel makes such a huge difference on the Highlander that it makes it almost as easy to fly as a nosewheel type aircraft. So that might be a really good thing to do with this particular Highlander, as I'm sure it would make the learning curve much easier for the student pilot. Anyhow, that is just my two cents worth.

And much like my friend, because I mostly fly floats and skis I too have been dragging my feet about changing out my tailwheel. And even though I have a lot of experience in tailwheel airplanes like the Highlander (Avids, Kitfoxes, etc), I am seriously thinking about that locking tailwheel. I've flown a Pitts witih a locking tailwheel and really liked it. And lets face it, while us hairy chested taildragger pilots like to think we can fly any tailwheel airplane, there's that old saying that refers to ground looping taildraggers; "There are those who have, and those who will..."

Taildraggers are taildraggers...

One last suggestion; You might want to call Lynn Gardner. Lynn is an experienced Highlander builder and pilot, and a flight instructor. So she would be an excellent person to train a trainer in a new Highlander. I believe Lynn is here on the forum occasionally so you might even be able to connect up here.

Wow, lots of typing here. But hopefully this info may help.
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby av8rps » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:00 pm

Tralika wrote:MarkZ,
I looked up 0TX0 on AirNav.com (snip...snip) I'm curious what kind of floats it is rigged with. I plan to fly my Highlander on floats but that's a way off. (snip...snip...).

Tralika,

The floats that were on that Highlander were the same as the ones I have for mine, the CZ 1300 amphibs. It is a really nice flat top float that looks much like a shrunk down Wipaire 2100 amphib, but they only built a small number of them, they are heavier than the round tops, and when you do find them they tend to be expensive.

What kind of floats are you putting on your Highlander?
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby moving2time » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:01 pm

Interesting, all the talk about floats on the Highlander. A while ago I asked if there were many people with floats on a Highlander out there and the only one that replied was Dave Krall. Visited Seattle last year and stopped by Dave's house for dinner while I was out there. Nice guy, we had a great evening. While I was in Seattle I also took a Float Plane lesson off of Lake Washington. I would love to put floats on a Highlander one day. BTW, Which Highlander is the topic of this discussion? I don't believe it was eveer identified. I have a picture of a white Highlander with Green and Gold trim that was listed for sale a few years back at Oshkosh. That is the only Highlander I have ever seen on floats.
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby av8rps » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:22 pm

moving2time wrote:Interesting, all the talk about floats on the Highlander. A while ago I asked if there were many people with floats on a Highlander out there and the only one that replied was Dave Krall. (Snip, snip)......


Moving2time;
I am more than guilty about not being there for you guys that have float questions. But I get so busy that I'm usually lucky if I can even read the forum, much less being able to reply to it.

There have been a handful of Highlanders on floats over the years, some on great floats, and some on not so great floats. The one that was on floats but was just sold (minus the floats) in this thread originally belonged to a good friend of mine who flys float planes for a living (a Beech 18 and a Caravan amphib). He absolutely loved his amphib Highlander with a stock 912s using a IVO medium ground adjust prop set up on a really nice set of CZ 1300 amphibs. He had some of the downwind technology (AKA "Shark 1600's") floats previously, and hated it. So let's just say those floats had "some issues" (just more evidence that having a good set of floats on your airplane makes all the difference in the world).

I wrote an article in EAA's Sport Pilot / Experimenter a bunch of years ago about how good of a seaplane an LSA makes, and at that time specifically used a Kitfox and a Highlander as the examples. I recall that was in July or August of 2008, and am pretty sure at that time my two friends were the only two that had floated Highlanders. Because I flew a lot with them with my kitfox amphib, and also flew with them in a Highlander amphib to SunNfun from Wisconsin, I felt I was well versed on the Highlander as a float plane. EAA said the article was one of their most well received articles, so apparently there are a lot of people wanting to know more about LSA floatplanes. Unfortunately, I just don't have time to write as much as I would like to. I enjoy helping others to obtain their dream of having their own seaplane, so I try to do all I can when I can.

So with all that said, if anyone wants to open up a new thread specific to float questions, I will try to answer as much as I can while I have what seems to be a temporary lull in lifes other activities. And if there is any interest in it, if I can track down my digital copy of my article and post it there for all to read (note; I may have already done that on this forum somewhere else, I just don't remember :roll: I know I put it out there somewhere, but it was probably on the Kitfox forum? Either way, I would be happy to repost it).

I will also try and find some pictures of the Highlanders I know of that were put on floats. I just have to track those pictures down. I've got them somewhere :? Oh, and to answer your question about which Highlander this thread is talking about, it is a mostly white airplane with dark blue bottom and red trim. I don't believe there are any pictures of it anywhere on the forum. It is truly a beautiful Highlander, and even some awards. But my friend is apparently so modest that he never posted any pictures :wink:

Also, for any of you that go to Oshkosh, you can always come and hang out with me at the EAA Seaplane Base if you want to know more about seaplanes. I'm in charge of the EAA SPB so I do get kind of busy during that week, but I always try to take time to talk with my airplane buddies about floats when they are there. And even if I can't, the EAA SPB has a lot of others that are extremely knowledgable and willing to help. We like to see the seaplane community grow...the more the merrier!
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby FlyerChief » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:23 pm

There have been a handful of Highlanders on floats over the years...


Here's a really nice one on Zenair amphib floats from Ontario, Canada...
Bob's Plane.jpg


There are two more Highlanders in Ontario that are almost complete and should be flying this spring, both will likely be operating on Zenair floats by summer!

Dan
Highlander #241
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby kenryan » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:05 pm

Flyerchief,

Is the owner of the Highlander with the amphibious Zenith floats happy with the performance? What engine does he have? The reason I ask these questions is because I know a guy who put those floats on a Zenith 750 (with 100 hp Rotax) and he was disappointed with the performance. It took him forever to get off the water.
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby danerazz » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:46 pm

That could be due to a number of factors, if they don't have the float-fuselage angle right or the longitudinal position of the floats right, the performance will suffer.
Dane

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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby FlyerChief » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:59 pm

I don't know Bob myself, but the other Highlander builder here does and he mentioned that Bob likes them. Bob's Highlander has a 912ULS 100hp. His Zenair amphibs are a bit slow getting off the water, but I think any amphib float is going to seem that way, especially if you are used to straight floats. Like Dane mentioned, they may not be set up 100% correct for his plane either. Personally, I am willing to trade off a bit of take-off distance in favour of the versatility of amphibs and for the cost Zenair is pretty hard to beat. The larger wheels on the Zenairs also appear to be better for grass strips than most amphibs.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
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Re: New to the Highlander

Postby av8rps » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:55 pm

Out of respect to Mark's initial question, which had nothing to do with floats, I will open up a new thread titled "Highlanders on floats" where we can continue this topic.

So all you float enthusiasts, come on over!

Paul
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