Seaplanes Aircraft that typically take off and land on water...radio control seaplane discussions are in here.

First Time Floater

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Old 10-27-2012, 06:16 AM
  #1
kwblake
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Default First Time Floater

Hey folks. I am interested in getting into float flying and of course have a question about floats. Which ones to buy? I have done a little checking and came across the following.

http://www.maxfordusa.com/hz-40-fiber-floats.aspx

http://www.thundertiger.com/product/3025/3.html

http://www.vqmodel.com/MateriePrime/...loat/Float.htm

The ones from VQ look real nice. (no not the ones with the dolphins). They have a set in my LHS, and seem to be finished in what looks like printed Silver mylar. Lots of rivet and hatch detail. Also the Aluminum struts front and back look like they would be quite strong.

The two from Maxford and Thunder Tiger have been recommended here in this forum. But both are unfinished. Not a big deal though.

I have a Avistar Elite on order. (my Nexstar had a fight with a tree, and lost badly) I plan on using both floats and skis on the Elite. I have a set of skis that I used on the Nexstar.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:50 AM
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jrf
 
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Default RE: First Time Floater

KW:

The Maxford are fiberglass and thus easy to damage. Also easy to develop leaks. The struts would probably be useable on your Elite.

The VQ are wood, covered with "ChinaKote". They will not survive more than one outing before the covering starts to come off. Also the struts are too short and position the floats too close together. You need the floats at least 25% of the wingspan apart to prevent the airplane from blowing over when you turn it crosswind on the water.

The Thunder Tiger floats are superb. They are made from a very durable plastic and their shape works very well on the water and in the air. Tower sells them and they come in a version that includes struts specifically designed for trainers like your Elite.

I have been using the Thunder Tiger floats for about 6 years and have put them on half a dozen 46 size planes. No damage so far and they have all floated, taxied, taken off, flown, and landed perfectly.

Jim
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:20 PM
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kwblake
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Default RE: First Time Floater

Thanks Jim. How did you finish the Thunder Tiger floats? If you painted them, what did you use? If I remember right, they are ABS. What kind of paint will stick? I thought the VQ were also fiberglass. Been wrong before!!!

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Old 10-29-2012, 04:44 PM
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Default RE: First Time Floater

I've used mostly wood floats for my float planes and have had good luck. Most of mine were built from kits and I have covered them in monocoat and some in light weight fiberglass cloth and painted them. I had a set of plastic ones once ( not the ones you listed) and didn't care for them at all. Sig still makes a decent set of wood floats:
www.sigmfg.com/IndexText/SIGFK003ARF.html
Hangar 9 makes floats and they are junk for what they charge in my opinion BUT if you can pick up a busted set or a set cheap, you can open them up and make them stronger and have a good set of wood floats.
Really depends what type of plane you are outfitting and how strong they need to be versus light weight.
I have a set of wood floats that I glassed and then painted with rustoleum . They have been on my Senior Kadet for several years and they wear very well. Only thing I had to do was respray the bottom from shore landings !
You can also get styrofoam cored floats and cover them in lightweight glass and paint them.

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Old 10-29-2012, 04:48 PM
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jrf
 
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Default RE: First Time Floater

They don't require any finish. Yes they are ABS, but it is not the ABS we are used to. It is a softer, thicker type that will not crack or break like the more rigid type we usually see. Clean them well and any paint will stick. I had one pair that started to yellow from the sun, so I painted them with Rustoleum.

Jim
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:51 PM
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Default RE: First Time Floater

Altho the Thunder Tiger floats are indeed very nice, I prefer the foam-cored floats available from Planefun floats or Seaplane Supply.  Light, Durable, and can't sink.  Easily customizable for your airplane. 

see my website for tips,  I don't sell ANYTHING.  www.smilesandwags.com.floats.html
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:43 AM
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Default RE: First Time Floater

I cut my own out of foam and cover them with glass...It is not hard at all...Solid foam never leaks...
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