The Fire Plane is on Floats!

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

Moderator: scubarider2

The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby FlyerChief » Sat May 14, 2016 4:50 pm

Hello All,
Just a quick update on my Highlander C-FDEP. It is finally on the Zenair floats that I have been building for the last two years. I built them from an un-drilled kit and would highly recommend the pre-drilled kit to anyone wanting to build a set. Building these was like building another plane from plans rather than a kit... definitely a lot more work and time.
That said, they are finally done and on the plane so all is well with the world and it's going to be a great summer... when it finally arrives here in Ontario. It's windy and cold the next few days. Attached are a few pictures and once the weather is more conducive to flying again, I will try to shoot a bit of video. I managed to get a few water take-offs and landings on Thursday and I am pleased with the performance so far. I will try to get some hard numbers for the water take-offs in the next week or two, but I managed to get my climb test conducted this week too at 1550 lb., so I will be able to carry the same load that I did on wheels.
For those interested in the set-up, I set the fuselage to float angle at about 2.5 degrees so overall there should be 4 degrees from wing chord to float top. The floats were set at 71 inch centres so that I could keep the overall width below 8' 3" in case I want to trailer it somewhere. Step was set at 2" aft of the most rearward CG. I mounted the hydraulic pump inside the passenger side float and kept all of the lines inside the float assembly so the only connections to the plane are two #10 electrical wires and two 1/8 inch brake lines. The weight of the plane itself will not change when I put it back on wheels since everything stays with the floats.
Like I said, you can expect more information (and maybe some video) once I get to fly it a bit more.
Regards,
Dan
C-FDEP on Floats at CYSA.JPG


C-FDEP on Wildwood Lake.jpg


DSCF4476a.JPG
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
User avatar
FlyerChief
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:53 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby Jack L » Sat May 14, 2016 6:43 pm

Congratulations Dan!

The docks are in and the guest cottage is open so when you are ready for adventure come on up north. Look forward to hearing more details on performance.

Jack
Jack L
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:10 pm

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby danerazz » Sat May 14, 2016 8:20 pm

Were you able to use the zenair kit fox mounting hardware, or did you have to use something else?
Dane

Paralysis by analysis
#242
danerazz
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:33 pm
Location: Bangor

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby FlyerChief » Sat May 14, 2016 9:13 pm

Hi Dane,
Yes, the Kitfox fittings work well, but you need to buy some tubing to make bushings to fit the AN-5 size holes in the Kitfox adapters so they will fit the AN-4 bolts used on a Highlander. I made mine just a bit longer than the Kitfox adapter to accommodate a washer on each end, which holds the washers in place during the installation process.
It sounds a little complex, but it's very simple and works great. Here are a couple of pictures to show the process and materials. I had to drill the tubing out to 1/4 inch then ream it to get it smooth inside.
Dan
20160109_205936.jpg


20160109_210025.jpg
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
User avatar
FlyerChief
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:53 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby gkremers » Sun May 15, 2016 4:41 pm

Hi Dan,
Looks really nice. Let us know how the testing goes. I'm close to ordering a set of anphibs for my Highlander.

Gary
User avatar
gkremers
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby av8rps » Wed May 18, 2016 10:46 pm

All I can say is... I'M PROUD OF YOU BUDDY! Building a set of those floats is the equivalent of building another airplane, so CONGRATS is definitely in order!

And I am really glad to hear that your rigging worked out. I too am interested to hear your performance results.

Now... the big question is, have you put it on your list of places to go to come out to the EAA Seaplane Base during the convention to hang out with me and my gang? If you haven't already, make sure to put it on your list one day. We'd all love to see your Highlander. My EMS volunteer staff at EAA's SPB are mostly firemen that like airplanes, particularly seaplanes, so you'd likely find some instant friends there :D

Paul
av8rps
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 433
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:01 pm

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby FlyerChief » Wed May 18, 2016 10:51 pm

Thanks Paul,
It is definitely on my list!
I got a bit of flying in today and did several water landings and take-offs. The performance seems pretty good, but I've been too busy trying to get used to float flying to actually get any performance numbers yet, but I'm sure that will come soon. Maybe tomorrow??? :D
Dan
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
User avatar
FlyerChief
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:53 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby gkremers » Tue May 31, 2016 4:50 pm

Hi Dan...
I know all floats are different but in your setup can you tell me the distance from the point of the spinner to the farthest forward point on the floats. When I measure to be sure the Highlander would fit in my hanger with the amphibious floats I didn't calculate that distance. I was more concerned with the height and forgot completely about the length while on floats.

Thanks
Gary
User avatar
gkremers
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby av8rps » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:35 pm

Hey Dan,

I know you've been busy flying your amphib Highlander all over the place this summer, but wondering if you'd care to share with us how you feel it is working out on those Zenair floats. Would you do anything differently? How bad did the floats kill cruise / what is your cruise with various power settings? How's that big 2 blade Prince prop working out on floats? Are you happy with rigging settings?

Paul
av8rps
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 433
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:01 pm

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby FlyerChief » Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:47 am

Hi Paul,
Yes... busy is the operative word. I have over 100 hours on the Highlander since putting the floats on it and over 60 hours of those are water operations.
Overall I am quite pleased with the Zenair floats and the rigging angles. The plane only lost about 3 mph compared to the bush wheels. I still cruise close to 100 mph at 5500 and 90 or so at 5200 rpm and high speed taxi on the step quite well. I believe the low angle relative to the wing chord is a factor in the cruise speed as is the fact that the prop is likely a little bit course, which gives me good cruise, but likely also slows my takeoff from the water. That said, I'm still getting into and out of very small lakes with no problem. I fly fairly often with Gary (KitfoxJunky) and his Kitfox 4 on Aerocet 1100's. There isn't too much difference in distance off the water, nor the cruise speed, which I figure is pretty good since his gross is 1250 and mine is 1550. I hope to try a prop with a finer pitch this fall just to see if it makes much difference in cruise or time off the water. I will let you know how that works out.
My only concern about the Zenairs is the front wheel castor mechanism, but I think that's always been bit of an issue with the Zenairs. I have had the UHMW bearing plates on one wheel fuse due to wobble on landing. A swift kick and a bit more grease cured it, but it was almost impossible to turn off the runway when it happened. Because of the return springs on the wheels, it's a delicate balance between keeping the bearing plates tight enough to prevent wobble, but loose enough that the return springs are able to pull the wheel straight for retraction into the floats. I've also gone through a few cotter pins too, but carry a few spares now and have the pin change down to 2 minutes or so using a piece of safety wire to pull the spring back onto the keeper pin. Other than those items the floats have been great!
Dan
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
User avatar
FlyerChief
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:53 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby av8rps » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:19 pm

Thanks for the great info Dan. I'm sure it will help anyone even contemplating floats on a Highlander.

Knowing you can keep up with Gary's 100 hp Model 4 Kitfox is quite an accomplishment as that thing is light, and therefore a real hotrod. My Model 4 Kitfox is much like Gary's, only mine has the 80 hp 912ul, and it still is a hotrod even with 20 less Hp. So again, sounds like you got your Highlander set up pretty close to perfect. I do wonder though, have you verified your airspeed to be accurate? My Kitfox will pretty easily go 105-110 mph so if youre keeping up with Gary you are doing exceptionally well.

If it helps any, nearly every amphib float has some issue with the landing gear. My Aerocets do not turn well, but I've learned to live with tbat as everything else is so good.

I'm really glad to hear you are happy with your Highlander amphib. Amphib floats on our planes turns an already good adventure machine into an incredible adventure machine when you have lots of water to play in!

Paul
av8rps
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 433
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 5:01 pm

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby gkremers » Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:38 am

Dan,
Glad to hear things are going well on the floats. What was your new empty weight. I would also be interested in your wheel vs float empty CG.

Thanks
Gary
User avatar
gkremers
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 403
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: The Fire Plane is on Floats!

Postby FlyerChief » Tue Sep 27, 2016 11:47 am

New empty weight is 969 lb. on amphibs. CG only moved about 1/3 of an inch so it's virtually unaffected in that regard.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
User avatar
FlyerChief
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:53 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada


Return to Just Aircraft