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

Why not very many tri float designs?

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:38 PM
  #1
flybyjohn
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Default Why not very many tri float designs?

I have seen a few tri float, (old timer, hot timer) float settups on here but they seem to be not very popular. By the sounds of the owners of them, they seem to do very well on the water and in the air. Why is there no following of them?

I decided to give it a try and so I took the tower uproar 40 arf I had sitting in the box for over a year and put it on tri floats. I still have to mount the engine and radio gear but the floats are on and I think they are going to work good. I don't know exactly what angle to put the bottom of the floats to the plane since there really isn't alot of info on them. I have it set up so it is easily adjustable. I made them out of some white styrofoam and used 1/4" plywood glued into the foam for mounts. Carbon fiber arrow shafts for the spreader bars and 1/32" aircraft ply on the bottom from about 3" in front of step back to the step for a little protection in that spot. I covered the front floats with monocote and it seems to be sticking well and covered the rear float with econocoat which didn't stick quite as well. The front floats are right about 3.5" wide and the rear float is 2" wide. I may be able to make the rear smaller but didn't know just how much weight it had to support until the plane is done. The size now should float about one pound of weight and the total airplane I hope will be under 4.5 lbs.I will upload some pictures of it tonight.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:55 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

Well one reason "not to use them" is they don't do that well at high speed,, Most who do use them,, Like me, will install them an a slow flying type plane. See what happens at higher speeds is the floats want to lift the nose because of the way they have positive incidence to the wing and trust lines.

My first was a top flight Elder,, slow flier with a flat bottom wing a lot of fun until I let a buddy with little experience fly it. [:@]

The current one I have is a nitro planes e-stik,, It has a symmetrical wing but still can fly pretty slow. I know if I get it going too fast it wants to climb and pitch up a lot. I've thought about mixing some down trim with the throttle, but haven't experimented with that. I just fly it as is.

The Uproar might work well,, you won't know until you fly it.

Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:06 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

A couple of years ago I purchased the hot timer/old timer float set up from seaplanesupply.com, but I see he no longer offers these floats today. My guess is supply and demand. My personal experience was mixed as it took some time and many attempts to finally figure out the correct prop pitch and tail float set up to get the plane to "pull" up from the tail float and onto the two front floats. Once planned up, it was a very positive experience. Compared to a traditional float set up, this set up will drench the tail end section of the plane and all control surfaces. I found my elevator and part of the horizontal stab had to be repaired after the first summer, but a lot of this was the learning curve mentioned above. I kept my front floats parallel with the fuse and it worked just fine. Good luck...Hutch...

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Old 03-26-2013, 01:58 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

Pictures as promised. As soon as I get the engine on tonight, I will load up all the gear and balance and do a float test in the yard with a small makeshift pool.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:03 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

Not my style of plane, but that thing looks very nice,,, good job
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:16 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

Float test complete. Radio gear is in and battery is strapped on to balance. It looks like it is going to be a bit tail heavy. I have several options, make a hatch in the rear to hold the battery, mount the servos in the tail on the fuse, or add a bunch of lead to the tail. I know I will have to worry about waterlogging the servos if they are on the back unless I can waterproof them. The battery in the tail will require a little reinforcement back there. And then the lead, well, I just don't like to ever do that.
Well, here are the float test pictures. Any constructive criticism I can get will help me out in the long run so have at it. I think there is plenty of floatation in the tail and main floats. The water level in the rear might have been just a little lower than the front float wheel barrow water so the tail will actually sit a little higher in the water and the front floats will have just slightly less angle of attack in the water.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:11 AM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

First question is,, is this going to be water only or convert back to land some times?

If it's going to convert back to land, add the weight to the floats. A little weight all the way back on the float will make a big difference vs. the battery half way back like that

If water only, then relocate equipment for sure to save weight,, Hitec has a line of waterproof servos now.

Good luck
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:22 AM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

Thats a good question Scale only 4 me. I attached the floats so that it would convert to wheels in a matter of minutes, but I don't really need another land plane at this time so it might just stay floats only. I can pop the floats off put wheels on and then place the battery in the right location and then put the floats back on and rebalance. Looking at all the other uproar 40s it looks like they all come out nose heavy with a 46 engine needing sometimes 3 oz or more right in the tail to balance.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:18 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

You are right...... floats setups seem to be not very popular. However they work very well.
Here our Fockker Eindecker on trifolats video.
youtu.be/RvMvYzyigDE

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Old 03-27-2013, 05:42 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

I have a set on one of my stik's, I have since crashed my stik, I got frustrated with trying to get it flying well, I only had a few flights on it with the floats. Like other people they provided a lot of lift and it was a handful. I started liking it, but I changed it back to land based and never tried it again.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:42 AM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

You can try some of your stik's with two floats. These models fly really well. I leave a video link of one of my stik'swith two floats
youtu.be/KOMKoz3Qcas

Carlos
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:49 PM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

Someday before Idie I'd like to do a three-float model . . . but a Seagull or Swordfish.





IMHOyou don't see three float models as most folks want an easily converted land plane for multi use. Itook "the plunge" and have a G-44 Widgeon that is water only. Ithink that's fairly rare to have water only models.
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Old 03-29-2013, 05:00 AM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

HK4ECG, that Fockker Eindecker looks like it ROW really well and flys very well also. It looked like you were trying to get a wingtip to carve the water at one time in that video.

Charlie P. , those are two very worthy models to build. What I would give to be in an open cockpit like that cruising above the water, although it would be better if it was on my time and not the military's.

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Old 03-29-2013, 05:14 AM
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Default RE: Why not very many tri float designs?

Well I bolted up the engine and balanced the plane again last night and now it looks like even with a 5 cell battery all the way in the rear, I will still need the equivelent weight of one and a half AA cells on the rear tail float to balance. I cut open the bottom of the fuse and had a look last night and I think I can mount the servos inside and use the current control rod tubes for the outputs. This would protect the servos from water. The battery pack in the rear with the servos should get me really close to balance.
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