Amphibious Ultralight

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Jak Stoller

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Jul 31, 2009
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Portland Oregon, USA
I know most of the discusions in this part of the forum as specifically for float planes, but at the moment I am kicking around the idea of building an ultralight flying boat, similar to a Macchie M7 or M33. The problem I’m running into is; what do you cover a flying boat with; specifically an ultralight flying boat?
What little I have found has said that the standard approuch of fabric covering will degrade in salt-water.
Any info or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
--Jak
 

bmcj

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I'm not aware of a salt reaction with fabric, but I can see it possibly absorbing the water (any that got inside the structure) and slowly accumilating salt deposits. Again, this supposition is not based on any facts or knowledge... just guesswork.
 

radfordc

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Are you talking about building the hull from tubing and then covering it with some sort of fabric? Puddle Jumper floats are made from a heavy rubberized canvas material. I don't think I would be comfortable with anything less substancial. The usual aircraft fabric coverings would not stand up to use as a seaplane hull...IMO.

If you mean building the hull from wood and then protecting the wood with a painted fabric finish that should work. Isn't that the way it was done "back in the day"?

Charlie
 

bmcj

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Keep in mind that most float flying done in small aircraft is in fresh water. Ocean swells tend to dissuade small plane pilots.
 

Jak Stoller

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Portland Oregon, USA
General plan (at the moment) is to build the hull from fiberglass and cover the rest of the plane with fabric. The question regarding saltwater is mostly because the primary body of water for me around here is the bay (Puget Sound).

--Jak
 

BBerson

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Salt water should not affect fabric much. The Grumman Goose has fabric covered control surfaces. An ultralight should absolutely be covered in fabric.

The main structure if steel or aluminum may corrode if neglected. Paint the structure and wash the airframe with a garden hose after each flight into salt water. Put in drain holes.

Good luck with your project.



edit: unfortunately, ultralights are prohibited at Oak Harbor Airport, see here:http://www.airnav.com/airport/KOKH
 
Last edited:

Dana

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Have a look at the Searay / Buccaneer / Aventura line of aircraft. They have a fiberglass lower hull, with the ultralight's typical aluminum tube and dacron (undoped) cover elsewhere.

I have a friend who used to have a Buccaneer. Flew it off Long Island Sound for some years, then disassembled it and parted out the good stuff and scrapped the aluminum tubes due to corrosion.

-Dana

Technical support is how much a minute? Only one other industry charges $3.99 a minute to talk to you, and at least you get some degree of pleasure out of that!
 

Float Man

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Feb 16, 2009
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Vernon BC Canada
Just to make sure every one is aware puddle jumper floats are fiber glass, our Full Lotus floats are the rubberized inflatable float. I would suggest making your design around one of our durable floats and then making your aircraft from that. You can use fabric and then paint it, the fabric is not prone to salt degradation, however I would suggest using anodized aluminum for all of your tubing.

Thanks

FLM Staff
www.full-lotus.com
info@full-lotus.com
 

Jak Stoller

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Portland Oregon, USA
It's been a while since I checked the forum, how life takes us elsewhere. Ultralights are prohibited at the Monroe Landing Airport (which is south of Oak Harbor about 10 miles), but I have seen several float planes (not ultralight) taking off from the harbor itself. Also an option available to me is NAS Whidbey Island, as they have a modest allowance for homebuilts and ultralights (via the flying club). Fortunatly I'm active duty so I can get access fairly easily. As stated though my primary interest is the harbor/bay itself. Seastar are nice looking planes, but of a scale up from what I'm looking to build. I'm basically looking towards a more retro looking Buccaneer. While the lotus float would make the design much easier to construct, I feel it doesn't have the same flavor as what I'm looking for. Thanks for the info on the fabric though.

I'm hoping to design a building plan over the next several months (and with a deployment to Japan in the middle of that, I don't know how long the "several" will be) and begin design analysis. The mind is willing, but the pocket book isn't quite able.

--Jak
 

Jak Stoller

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Location
Portland Oregon, USA
That aircraft more closely resembles that of a J2F Duck


where as I prefer the lines of a


While I'm fairly convinced it would be easier to build a regular plane and mount it to a float, it does not produce the visual aspects I am looking for.

--Jak
 

Jak Stoller

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Jul 31, 2009
Messages
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Location
Portland Oregon, USA
Twin tail booms are sexy, if I had the money I'd build a Conwing L-16 :gig:, but I'm not sure how it would do weight wise for an ultralight. Does anyone have any ratio's there? Does it come out similar (weight in singular support or weight distributed for dual but slimmer)? it might be a nice option as I could set the wing/engine lower, which would allow for the sponsons/outriggers to be lower, ergo less drag, and an overall batter cg.

All and all it (the one in the "what kind of seaplane" thread) is a very nice looking plane, I prefer pusher for aesthetics though (pullers look better as dualies).

--Jak
 
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