View Full Version : For the fliers...

09/25/2007, 05:01 AM
I are a seaplane pilot now...


Spent this weekend getting the groundschool and airwork in, then took the oral and checkride managing to somehow pass. ;)

Definitely different and VERY fun, so if you ever thought about adding the rating DO IT! :)

09/25/2007, 05:11 AM
I are a seaplane pilot now...

Spent this weekend getting the groundschool and airwork in, then took the oral and checkride managing the somehow pass. ;)

With grammar like that I'm surprised... :p

But seriously, Congrats on the upgrade!

09/25/2007, 10:51 AM
It's always fun to expand our HORIZONS. (Congrats)

09/25/2007, 02:24 PM
We have a seaplane school here in Palm Coast. They fly outta Gore lake, near the airport. Wanna splash in some afternoon...give me a call...I'll buy ya lunch at Highjackers, there at the airport. There is a guy flying an old "Seabee" pusher type flying boat around the area. Like you guys, we have an abundance of places that will accomodate small floaters. The school uses an old J3 Cub on EDO floats....you're a long time on that step, in a J3. I've had a VFR since the late seventies...even have maybe 100 hours in the rear hole of an old taildragger Stearman (first thing I ever flew...granpop said if you could fly a taildragger, you could pretty much fly anything) Never been in a float/seaplane. Your neighbor, Kermit Weeks, has a hell of a seaplane....that giant, fiberglass, WW2 British monster. Enjoy pal...drop in for lunch.

09/25/2007, 02:41 PM
Hey, congrats man!!!! That is awesome!!! Hopefully my Osprey 2 will be flying sometime soon so I can get my rating too.

There is a guy flying an old "Seabee" pusher type flying boat around the area.

I also have the plans for the Spencer Aircar which is the kitplane version of the Seabee. Once the Osprey gets done, my dad and I are thinking about modding the Aircar to composite to lighten it up and maybe try and streamline it a bit too. I hear they work great with either 350 or 454 motors installed in place of the continental tiaras which are hard to find, not to mention parts.

09/25/2007, 03:20 PM
I am not flying behind or in front of a 350 GM powerplant. Isn't a Lycoming (or something) available to fit the need. I'm not hatin on the 350...I use plenty, it's just that , when I break one, I pull over.

09/25/2007, 05:52 PM
Actually plenty of studies have been done indicating that auto powerplants are far more reliable than their aviation cousins. The auto engines have been tested for millions upon millions of hours collectively and have been put through far worse torture tests than any aviation engine I have heard of. The aviation engine designs also herald back to the 1930's with only very slight modifications over time. New and improved auto engine designs come out every few years with plenty of improvements and innovations since the 30's. That's not saying that you can just pull one out of a car and throw it in a plane, a lot has to be done to make it safe in the air, but with a little know and patience they are far superior to aviation engines. From a price standpoint you can get a new or rebuilt high performance auto engine for a minute fraction of the cost of an aviation engine and the auto engine will include advanced fuel management, fuel injection, a turbo or supercharger, intercooler, an electronic sensor/troubleshooting suite, and better fuel economy than an aero engine and the TBO is the same or longer and costs less than a quarter of the price of a lycoming TBO. The high performance isn't meant to be used as such, it is simply meant to beef up the engine and is more insurance than anything else. In addition to the better parts options, availability, price, and upgrades, the auto engines win every time. The aviation market just doesn't have even a drop in the bucket compared to the auto world in R&D budget, and that's not even including the gigantic aftermarket suppliers. On our engine the glass panel setup is almost included in the price of the engine since we have every readout known to man available so we can see what the engine is doing and how it is performing at all times. This kind of advanced warning and troubleshooting simply isn't available on commercial aero engines. The weights are about the same too once the auto engines are stripped of unnecessary parts like cast iron exhaust manifolds and heavy auto engine mounts and that is even including the weight of the PSRU(prop speed reduction unit). I would much rather fly behind something that I have driven to work every day with no problems my entire life than an aged design which is forced to redline every time it takes off or lands. The engine we are using in place of the aviation equivalent has 1.5 times the horsepower (greater ceiling and less strain on takeoffs/landings)and can cruise at a modest 2500 rpm and gives us a far greater range. Sorry to rant, but I have done my homework and auto engines in aircraft simply kill their aviation cousins.

09/26/2007, 08:23 AM
Thanks much all! I got my ticket at local Brown's Seaplane Base here in Winter Haven, they pretty much wrote the book on it and it's also where I took my first flight back when I was a wee tot. Unfortunately though there isn't much of anyplace that rents seaplanes for solo operation due to high insurance, so I'll probably pop in there once every six weeks or so to get in a little "splash time" for currency.

Most of my time is in the venerable Cessna 172 which will likely continue, but my dream bird and reason for the seaplane rating is the Murphy Super Rebel 3500 on amphibious floats...


The M14 radial is real popular right now for this bird but it was originally designed for Lycoming power but will accept a number of alternative power plants. While not necessarily wanting to get into a debate of auto vs. air engines (air will always win in a straight fight) I've narrowed my choices down to either the Mazda 20B or a surplus turboshaft engine. Either way I'll end up with a long, narrow turbine nose like on a Pilatus PC-6...


If I can swing the turboshaft then I can use biodiesel and whatever jet fuel is available, but with the Mazda I've got less initial expense and self-maintenance. At least I won't have to worry about the decision for a good long while, and at the moment there's a strong movement toward new diesel aviation engines with 14 new designs going into production this year alone.

Oh, speaking of Seabees, Brown's has a twin Seabee they use for the multi-engine course. I think it's about $450 an hour wet/dual.


09/26/2007, 03:24 PM
HEY! I've seen that twin Seabee in the St. Johns river over by Washington Oaks state park. My choice would either that beautiful old flying boat of Jimmy Buffet's or any other Martin. I grew up seeing a 50's Sea Dart on display at Willow Grove NAS. They had six or eight WW2 floaters on display (including a Zero on a float) but the F102 was always the one for me. The parking lot in front of the planes was the local make out spot when I was a kid...any wonder I love anything that flies?

09/26/2007, 05:59 PM
They've got a Sea Dart on static display here at the Sun 'n Fun grounds, although it's not in the best of shape.


Oh, the Short Sunderland over at Kermit's place is also in pretty rough shape. It's on display inside one of the main hangars and has been stripped for a while. Last time I spoke with him we just talked about his Fieseler Storch and I didn't even think to ask about the Short's fate. Some neat stuff out there, including a V1 flying bomb which I think would make a very cool homebuilt (Fi-103 manned version) using a small turbine instead of the pulse jet.

09/27/2007, 02:31 PM
That Sunderland was flying maybe eight or ten years ago...how bad can it be?? Don't answer that...70 year old glass, hmmmm. I never knew there were more than two of those Sea Darts, they blew one up in San Diego harbor (or was it Tampa) when it sucked water into the intake and grenaded the engine...that is when Willow Grove got their "Display" dart...the program was killed. Guess their were at least three! :p Hey Joe, does Kermit still have his Grumman Duck? They were flying that thing daily. The Storch had been taken to bits....it's been a while since I was out there.

09/27/2007, 05:03 PM
I was out there a few months ago and the Duck looked fine, the Storch had its wings off for rebuild. IIRC it's actually a post-war French model which were built to spec but I'm not sure whether it was license built, although some were produced at the Morane works under the Vichy gov't. It does have the correct Argus inverted V8 though.

If you ever want to come out give a shout and we'll meet y'all there for gawkin' and gabbin'. Oh, looks like we'll be out your way during Biketoberfest visiting our friends in Palm Coast and maybe the weekend of the 6th too. I'll shoot you a PM if so in case your up for a brew or bite. ;)

Here's a wiki entry on the Sea Dart, says there are four surviving examples from the program: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F2Y_Sea_Dart