Deciding on float plane kit!

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Bluedog

Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
10
Location
Alaska
I'm having a hard time deciding so far.
Looking at ZAC 801, BearHawk, Glaastar 2+2,
Tundra Dream.

Problem is there are not many that are using floats.

Can anyone provide any info on kit planes currently using floats and there specs..

I see the specs at the sites but its the users i need to talk to or get info from.

BD
 

FWYer

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2009
Messages
1
Location
Vancouver Island
Tough decision! Every float aircraft is a compromise, and you have identified a bunch of good compromises. I fly a couple of Cessna 180s on EDO floats (straight and amphibious), and I spend too much time thinking about what I would want to do to do better.

The Bearhawk sounds like a great float plane - like a better Maule, perhaps. But tube & fabric is for freshwater only - salt will kill anything steel very quickly. So here on the west coast a Bearhawk would be wheels-only and hangar-only (fabric & sun are not a great combination either). On that basis, you have to cut out all the J-3 and Supercub replicas.

Call me crazy, but I like the look and specs on the CH801. It seems to do a lot with not much power. I have never seen one on floats, and I wonder whether it's because the nose-dragger design would render the prop would end up too close to the water (water spray can render useless a $7,000 prop in less than two years if it's not handled carefully).

I *have* seen a bunch of Murphys, and even visited the factory and talked with Daryl once. The Moose, which is an impressive plane, apparently flies great with that big Russian radial. The problem with the moose is that they cost more than the average DeHavilland Beaver to build. Every Moose builder started out thinking he could get an 80% Beaver for 60% of the money, but ended up spending 110% of the money for 80% of a Beaver.

As for the Rebel, compare one to a Luscombe or Cessna 120/140 sometime. They are very similar, and some are beautifully built, but some not so much. A 150hp Rebel will cost you $50k-$60k to build, while a hot-rod Cessna 140 might cost you $35,000. And there is a liquid market if you ever wanted to sell your 140.

So what's left? The Tundra? Great plane, from the photos I've seen, but it suffers from the same problem as the Rebel - it's basically a Cessna 172 or 175 on floats. Nice aircraft, but it'll never be a Cessna 180, and you can get a 172 on floats pretty cheap. Ok, relatively cheap - there's nothing cheap about float flying.

So, where am I left, after all this contemplation? Back with my 180s. There was a kit offered at one time, the St. Juste Super Cyclone, which basically reverse-engineered a Cessna 185. Maybe it's still available?

Or, if I really wanted a new seaplane, and wanted to build myself, and wanted to land in the salt every now & then, I would go small and rebuild a Cessna 140 from the spars out, or I would do a Murphy Rebel with the "Ontario Mods", a mogas-burning O-320, and real commercial floats (amphib or regular) installed.

If I wanted to go big, I would buy a recently-overhauled or new-from-data-plate DHC-2 and never look back.

My two cents, anyway.


Bill
 

Swehockey24

New Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2008
Messages
2
Have you considered a Bushcaddy L164?
We compared the Tundra Dream, 2+2, and a few others. Currently building the L164.
Just another option.
 
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