Amphibs- SS or Highlander

For general discussion of the Just Aircraft family of aircraft.
Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

Moderator: scubarider2

Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby bandit » Sat May 10, 2014 11:08 am

Amphibs- SS or Highlander?

Wanting to order a kit and looking for advice! Just purchasing Lakefront acreage with 1000 foot grass strip and a hanger on the water. Want the best of both worlds, SS for wheel plane and floats for june through sept!
All advice appreciated!

Thanks
Bandit
bandit
Forum Regular
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:46 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby bandit » Sat May 10, 2014 11:11 am

Also, does anyone have dimensions of a Highlander on Amphibs? (or SS if its ever been done?)

Thanks again,
Bandit
bandit
Forum Regular
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:46 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby Tralika » Sat May 10, 2014 12:04 pm

Bandit,
Have you ever flown amphibs? Before you make a decision to buy them you should give it a try. Take off and landing is very different from any other wheel plane and very weird. Landing with the gear in the wrong position is an added risk with Amphibs. Landing with the gear up on land is not too bad. Landing with the gear down on water is life threatening. You might want to check on what it will cost to insure your plane with Amphibs compared to straight floats and or wheels. Amphibs are very heavy and assuming you are going to certify your plane light sport, it will cut the useful load to almost nothing. If you live on a lake, straight floats may be a better option. The Highlander kit comes with float attachments. The Super Stol does not come with float attachments.

Expensive, heavy, complicated: Three things it's best to avoid in airplanes.
John Nealon
Wasilla, Alaska
Highlander Extreme #191
mykitlog.com/jnealon
Tralika
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 216
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:49 pm
Location: Wasilla Alaska

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby kenryan » Sat May 10, 2014 3:53 pm

One guy in Fairbanks put amphibs on his Rotax powered Zenith CH701. The performance was so bad he pulled out the gear and riveted the openings shut, turning them into straight floats. Another guy in Canada put amphibs on the Zenith CH750 (Rotax) and also saw very poor performance. He felt he would need a lot more horsepower to make up for the weight and drag of the amphibs. He sold that airplane.
Super Stol Kit #299
User avatar
kenryan
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 265
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: anchorage, ak

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby av8rps » Sun May 11, 2014 9:07 am

Wow! Sounds like you bought a place in paradise...

Dont let everyone talk you out of amphibs. It is the coolest accessory you can add to your airplane. Plus, a Highlander will not be affected anywhere near as bad as most aircraft due to it having a super high lift wing and a very high horsepower to weight ratio. I've been flying Avid's and Kitfoxes (and some Highlanders) on floats since 1987 and personally believe the design actually flies better on floats due to a lowering of the CG.

Now don't get me wrong, I like to go booney bashing on wheels too, but within a 300 mile radius of where I live I have approximately 32,000 lakes to play around on, plus all of the Great Lakes and countless river systems. So somehow, airports and grass strips seem boring by comparison to me. And since there aren't more than a handful of other backwoods non airport places for me to land around here on wheels, to have a good performing amphib like a Highlander to play around with on all that water is premium fun in my opinion.

That 701 had to be set up wrong as I've flown two 701's on amphibs and they were both good performers and flew nice. But with any aircraft, if floats are a poor design (and they are out there, believe me) and/or they are improperly installed, or just the wrong size for the aircraft, yes, you can get horrible performance. But if all done properly the negative impacts are not that huge. In fact, it is about half of what a more typical Cessna will lose (yet, ironically Cessna 185 amphibs are considered a premium seaplane).

With all that said, if you have the ability to use your aircraft on wheels and on amphibs, you will never regret doing it. Amphibs opens up an entirely new world of flying. And unless you've experienced it, you really can't appreciate it.
av8rps
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 438
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:01 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby bandit » Sun May 11, 2014 9:16 am

Thanks so much for replies. I did not know the gear added that much weight! Initially I was thinking amphibs because of options for destinations, and I was looking at it from a safety standpoint as well. ( more options for landing spots in case of emergency). I did not factor in the added complications of amphibs, and clearly if insurance goes up significantly, there is good reason for that!
I would appreciate all other opinions regarding this subject!
Any recommendations on which floats/amphibs would be best for Highlander and or SS? (weight/performance/etc)

Also, does anyone have dimensions of a Highlander on Floats? (or SS if its ever been done?)

Thanks again,
Bandit
bandit
Forum Regular
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:46 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby pt17 » Mon May 12, 2014 4:56 am

Hi Bandit, I have just about finished Highlander+Zenair amphib float project. It is set up so as to change from extreme gear to Amphibs easily. I will fly it with wheels for a while before I put it on its floats. Even though they were quick build floats, it took one year out of three to get everything set up. This involved machining all the float attach fittings. Total float weight including undercarriage is 96kg. With MTOW of 650kg, payload is roughly 234kg. With std pilot wt 77kg, and full fuel that leaves 92kg for baggage or passenger and limited bags. As I plan to use it mainly single pilot, I can carry full fuel and nearly 100kg. Time will tell.
pt17
Forum Regular
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:09 pm
Location: Melbourne Australia

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby moving2time » Mon May 12, 2014 9:53 am

I have always been interested in flying the Highlander on amphibs. I have one hour of float time which I paid for last year when I visited Seattle. There is a company on the north end of Lake Washington which offers float plane instruction. It was the fastest hour of instruction I ever went through because it was so darn exciting. Loved the entire experience and it was super cool flying a float plane in the Seattle area with all of the islands. Personally I thought the Cub they used performed better than I expected and to tell you the truth flying it off the water was way easier that I expected it to be. I plan to have Just locate and weld the anchor points onto the SS frame for me while it is in the jig just like the Highlander. Why not go for it. Joe B
moving2time
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:42 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby av8rps » Mon May 12, 2014 10:02 am

bandit wrote:Thanks so much for replies. I did not know the gear added that much weight! (snip, snip)...I would appreciate all other opinions regarding this subject!
Any recommendations on which floats/amphibs would be best for Highlander and or SS? (weight/performance/etc)
Also, does anyone have dimensions of a Highlander on Floats? (or SS if its ever been done?)

Thanks again,
Bandit


Don't let all the negatives associated with putting amphib floats on your plane stop you. It's not as bad as it sounds. And the benefits are huge, especially from the fun factor persepective. I can't imagine what else you could do to an airplane (especially a Highlander which is already huge fun) to make it more versatile and fun than adding floats.

However, I do want to add that gettting the aircraft set up properly is a huge factor in minimizing performance loss. A good example of that is two videos I've watched recently that show two nearly identical Rans S7's on floats. One is on a set of 1500 Murphy straight floats, and the other is on a set of Czech 1250 amphibs. Interestingly, in the videos showing takeoff performance, they both perform about the same. BUT...the amphib has two full grown men in it while the straight float aircraft is flown solo. So how can that be?

Simple. The amphib floats are sized better for the aircraft. So many times people believe bigger is better when it comes to floats. And generally that's true for how the aircraft sits in the water. But for all the other operating modes (on-the-step performance and flying), the smaller float has the advantage. While the large float will sit higher in the water, the drawback of all that floatation is added weight, more aerodynamic drag, and worse, more hydrodynamic/water drag. The smaller float will sit deeper in the water, but once it comes up on the step (planing across the water surface), it has the advantage over the larger float. So you don't want to be too big, but you also don't want to be too small. I generally view this as the holy grail of seaplanes.

In my nearly 30 years of messing with seaplanes, I can't tell you how many guys I've seen sell their pride and joy because it just doesn't perform. And almost always it is because they erred on the side of going to a bigger float, chose a bad float design, or both. A good example is a friend that built a 115 hp 914 powered Model 6 Kitfox with a set of Zenair 1650 amphibs. It floated nice and high, but performed poorly. By comparison, my 80 hp 912ul Kitfox 4 on a set of (too small) Aerocet 1100 amphibs is a hotrod.

To support what I am saying here, check out the link to the Rans S7 on 1250 amphibs; The first video is of him landing (shows the 2 guys in cockpit) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQJ4cPhVhFg . And the next video is of the takeoff https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzHPDLfsOEI . And note how low the floats are sitting in the water. Technically most will say this aircraft is "underfloated". But I know personally that it works well. This Rans belonged to an older friend of mine and I used to fly it for him quite a bit. I put over 40 hours on it giving rides at his fly-in and Oshkosh, at times with passengers over 350 lbs, and all with no issues. Now there are floats that provide a bit more floatation and yet perform nearly as good (the CZ 1300 is an example), but do weigh more, and cost more.

I purchased a set of CZ1250 amphibs from a friend of mine with the clear intent of putting them on my 680 lb Highlander (the Rans in the video weighed 730+ on wheels), so I know they would have worked well on my plane. I felt that combination would have met the requirements well, even though by number many would argue they are too small. But the video says it all.

Ironically, I found a set of CZ 1300 amphibs since and decided I am going to sell my CZ 1250 amphibs. The 1300's are not going to perform off the water quite as nice as the 1250's as they are heavier, but the landing gear is slightly better as it has full suspension the 1250's don't. So once again, it is all about tradeoffs. But the bottom line is, make sure you get the right float for your airplane based on its empty weight when on wheels. So many of these 1500 series floats of today are designed for heavier aircraft than the typical Highlander (including heavy lycoming or continental powered aircraft, which we all know are significantly heavier).

Oh, and worth mentioning is that the float manufacturers don't make this any too easy. The 1250's I mention obviously have been real life flight tested to over 1500 lbs, so they support well more than 1250 lbs. And the 1300's have been tested to more than 1600 lbs. So does that mean that 1500's or 1600's are good for 1750 or 1850 lbs? Not necessarily. So what I'm saying is that you need to do your homework. Pay close attention to what others have done. If someone else has already done it and it works well, why reinvent the wheel? Not all manufacturers rate floats the same, so it can be very confusing to say the least.

And I almost forgot, let's talk about landing amphib floats; I think the comment "It's like landing a shopping cart" is funny, but kind of true. And while you can't plop down a set of amphibs on the runway like you would a Super STOL on its incredibly forgiving landing gear, when you land an amphib floatplane the floats create their own ground effect when they get close to the surface, so the landing is generally pretty easy and smooth. Granted, I try to be gentle with that minimal retractable landing gear (remember, we want it light - so it's not designed to be any tougher than it absolutely needs to be). And consequently, my floats have treated me well.

And by comparison to landing a tailwheel aircraft, floats are much easier. Sure, you have to be gentle with them, but once on the surface they are easier to maneuver than your average Cessna nosedragger. Just like a shopping cart...

There's my float tips of the day :)
av8rps
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 438
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:01 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby stede52 » Mon May 12, 2014 11:07 pm

Bandit,
I have a flying buddy, George Thiel (Highlander pilot) who has a set of beautiful aluminum amphibs for sale and they are perfect for the Highlander. George has a ton of experience on floats and amphibs being an X-Alaskan bush pilot, so if you'd like to talk to him about float flying and what he has for sale you can email him on: [email protected] or call him on 206-795-7637.
Steve D N419LD
User avatar
stede52
Premium Member
 
Posts: 1039
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 11:40 am
Location: Carnation, WA

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby bandit » Wed May 14, 2014 9:50 pm

Thanks for all your replies! Sure makes decisions easier knowing there are so many people willing to share their knowledge and experience! I am very excited as we take possession of our new place June 15 and want to put order in soon after for highlander or SS. I like the SS so much, but would like more input as to whether it will make as good of a float plane as the highlander? :?
bandit
Forum Regular
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:46 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby Tralika » Wed May 14, 2014 10:18 pm

The Super STOL is heavier than the Highlander. I'm not sure how much of that extra weight is in the landing gear, but weight will already be an issue with a float plane. Deepening on the weight of the gear you may not pay that much of a penalty when you go on floats. The Super STOL is a $14,000 option so if your planning to be on floats all the time it would be a shame to leave that expensive landing gear in the hanger. That leaves the Super STOL wing, I don't know why that wing would not work on a float plane but I can't think of any operation on floats that will call for the extremely high angle of attack that the Super STOL wing is made for. If you do order a Super STOL make sure you order float attachments from the factory.

All I can say is after looking at the capabilities of both airplanes I chose the Highlander Extreme. My long range plan is to put my plane on floats but first I have to get it built and flying on wheels.
John Nealon
Wasilla, Alaska
Highlander Extreme #191
mykitlog.com/jnealon
Tralika
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 216
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 12:49 pm
Location: Wasilla Alaska

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby bandit » Wed May 14, 2014 11:50 pm

My plan is to fly about 3 months a year on floats to enjoy the beautiful weather and many lakes in our area and the rest of the year on wheels. The SS looks like it lands so much shorter than the Highlander which opens up many more landing spots for fun and safety. I know it is quite a bit more $$ and heavier and still not sure if its worth the upgrade???

Thanks,
Bandit
bandit
Forum Regular
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:46 pm

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby SheepdogRD » Thu May 15, 2014 6:26 pm

There was some discussion of this earlier. You may want to review this thread: http://www.wingsforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=218&t=22920.
Richard Holtz
Highlander N7340Z -- Ms. Tonka -- in gestation

If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.
User avatar
SheepdogRD
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:41 pm
Location: West of Atlanta, GA

Re: Amphibs- SS or Highlander

Postby av8rps » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:15 pm

I was recently reading some old posts and found this one interesting because it included a post advising people not to make their airplane a floatplane / amphibian because of how bad it will ruin the aircrafts performance, safety, etc, etc. And honestly, some of that is true. I'll be the first to admit putting floats on your airplane will change it. However, if you do it, and you do it right, you will NEVER regret having done it.

So to support my viewpoint, I would like to suggest watching these videos that demonstrate just how enjoyable float flying is in an LSA type of an aircraft. I chose this video because of the scenery, and because while the airplane is not a Highlander or SS, it is a very similar design, and it is operating on only an 80 hp 912ul and a ground adjustable prop.

So in the dead of winter, take the time to enjoy some very scenic float flying in a beautiful 80 hp yellow Kitfox amphibian in Norway. You just might be inspired to float your Highlander or Super Stol afterwards :wink: (oh, and fwiw, Our Highlanders make GREAT seaplanes too!!)

Midnight float flying; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-oyVW9fuuo

And this one is cool too; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMtxvNzkIdA

More flying with scenery; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJj6CE3BrMI

Initial testing of the plane on floats; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0unkxsNpkU

More beautiful scenery while doing touch and goes; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04Gl3Ov16uw

Paul
av8rps
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 438
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:01 pm

Next

Return to Just Aircraft

cron