Float plane take off distances?

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ruddersup?
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#26 Post by ruddersup? » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:32 pm

Height above the shoreline, that's it. What kind of cruise do you get with the Husky, beats the hell out of the Super Cub doesn't it?
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#27 Post by ruddersup? » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:48 pm

Chuck,
I should be in Campbell River in a couple of weeks to pick up an aircraft and hope to get together with Randy in Nanaimo, would be neat to meet you.
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#28 Post by Cat Driver » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:32 pm

The Husky on the Whip. 2100 amphibs. humps along at 110 knots.

When choosing between the Super Cub and the Husky I chose the Husky for its control response, they are very similar in all other respects.

If you come to Nanaimo would love to meet you, Randy knows where to contact me.
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#29 Post by dondlhmn » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:46 pm

Taking off typically uses a LOT more water distance (and you need to include the climb out, unless you don't mind hitting the trees or the hill or whatever!!) and float plane pilots learn endless techniques in a lot of ways....personal experience (and hope your lack thereof doesn't result in an incident), reading and (best way) flying with more experienced/knowledgeable pilots. It is helpful to learn such things as taxiing around in circles to make wakes, tossing something (hopefully something you don't really NEED!) into the water to use as a aim/flare/touchdown point, setting up an approach angle/speed/attitude until it just sort of "hits" the water in glassy conditions, how to launch off of a big wake, and lots of others, to include HOW and WHEN to just say "NO! That last one sometimes takes some huevos, but will extend your life expectancy greatly. One thing to remember---you will build a good reputation by sometimes saying "NO" and by being safe. You will also build a reputation by hitting the obstacles. The question is, which reputation do YOU want to have?---or as I always looked at it ---"would I want MY WIFE and KIDS to be in the back seat with THIS pilot flying?"
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#30 Post by trey kule » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:56 pm

The FAA actually has some good tips for lake size estimation, that dont involve any more technology than a watch and airspeed indicator..
But judging distance is an art that comes from experience.
A wise old pilot told me in my younger days, to taxi until I was sure I could make it, and then continue to taxi that distance again. Landing? You gotta look at the surrounding terrain as well as the lake itself. Lots of pilots got off the water, found they were not going to clear the hills, pulled back below Vx..things got worse. Pulled back more....at least thats what we believe happened. Dead pilots can not tell us themselves.
When you are learning, you work out of generous lengths to learn that lakes, rivers, oceans are surrounded by rising terrain...
As you get experience you will learn to judge a lake.
As to google...Anyone trying to use google to judge shallow water should be planted head down in a lilly pond so they cant kill others.
....water levels just might have changed since google took their picture. Hydo lines might just be running over the lake now.
But hey, its there right? So we should use it. Just another tool in the ol' toolbox of tricks. Any of you techno wizards ever looked at a map?
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#31 Post by BGH » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:03 pm

Probably late to this discussion but I was taught to slow to 60 kts indicated,trim a touch nose up in case you aren't paying attention & then either count seconds,or hit the timer,don't run right to the end of the lake bacause you need some pucker factor space.
Time needed for take off was average for the day plus a bit for safety.If average for the day was a 20 second run then add 10 seconds ,more if it was a higher altitude lake.

Daryl
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#32 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:42 pm

What floatplane did you slow to 60 knots?
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#33 Post by PilotDAR » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:02 pm

When I can, I look the lake over first, then go home and measure it on Google Earth. It's reassuring to realize that the lake is longer than it seems, and that you can safely do it. One lake I liked, I had touch and go'ed, but was nervous to stop, until I measured on Google Earth, and found to be half again my comfort distance. I still have a pucker factor going in and out, but it always works with a reserve of safety.

Similarly, I do my circuits relative to shoreline landmarks I can identify on Google Earth, so when I get home, I can determine how much distance I had used. My water run in the Teal is a consistent 700-800 feet and 13 - 15 seconds, in still air. My shortest body of water has been 2000 feet with low obstacles at both ends.
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#34 Post by Cat Driver » Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:12 pm

Elevation and temperature can really make the takeoff run a lot longer.

There were some high and hot lakes in South Africa.
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#35 Post by BGH » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:30 pm

185,sportsman stol,20 flap,trim just a touch nose up,set throttle so that aircraft stayed around 60 knots - maybe 65 indicated.

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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#36 Post by PilotDAR » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:19 am

185,sportsman stol,20 flap,trim just a touch nose up,set throttle so that aircraft stayed around 60 knots
'Sounds right to me....
Elevation and temperature can really make the takeoff run a lot longer.

There were some high and hot lakes in South Africa.
Yes, the affect of elevation and temperature on performance is well known. When I landed the Twin Otter on the runway in Harare (formerly Salisbury), the only advice from my mentoring pilot was: "Land long." The runway was around 15,000 feet long. I was later told that this length was needed for the BOAC Comets which flew that route decades earlier, and suffered performance loss in the climate.

Float flying demands that the pilot be either a very good or very conservative decision maker. Commercial float operations seem to have these locale decisions mostly pre made for their newer pilots, which is great. It's private operations which can be troublesome, as a pilot just decides to land in a pretty lake, without really having all the factors affecting departure worked out.

One of my most pleasant and valuable recollections of a visit to TC decades ago, was simply overhearing a conversation between Inspector J.P. Sr. and a pilot flying a Maule floatplane somewhere. JP asked a few questions of the pilot, and apparently determined that he was low experience. What followed was about 15 minutes of pure gold "save your butt" type advice. That pilot (and I) got way more than our tax dollar's worth that day.

The most memorable element of what JP taught the pilot, and me, by eavesdropping, was that as you circle your intended lake, take the time at altitude to sketch the lake, north, the wind as you perceive it, any hazards or obstructions, your intended landing (and departing, if different) path(s), and where you intend to beach or dock the plane. Once you're on the water, it's going to loo very different, and you may wish that you have a bird's eye view to help you choose the best path out - may as well get it while you can! This sketch will force you to consider the hazards and obstructions you can see, relative to your water run paths, which lessens the risk that you blunder into something bad. And int he very worst case, something does go wrong, you have a paper record for the insurer, that you really did think about what you were doing carefully.

It is very true, that once on he water of small lake, things look different. Without reverse, you may be reluctant to taxi into a confined area, or go around a tight corner, but that might actually be where you came from, and where you need to be for a safe takeoff. Your sketched map will remind you that yes, that it is the way, or no, don't go there, you saw a shallow rock from the air.

Generally, when float flying, you do not have the advantage of established airport infrastructure - airport diagram, wind sock, assured operating areas on the surface. You must rise to the occasion of making good decisions based only on what you see and know, and your skills. This is certainly not the time for optimism, and boldness (you already did that, you're there!). It's the time for reasoned, and very conservative decision making.
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#37 Post by Lost Lake » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:59 pm

Aircraft, Air temp, density altitude, load, winds, experience, skill, obstacles, There is no answer beyond experience and skill. Most lakes today have been flown into before. Ask someone if you don't know
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#38 Post by peterdillon » Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:57 pm

Not a fan of doing any low passes or turns over glassy water. Getting well set up as you come low over the shoreline or trees in terms of flap, speed, and consistent decent rate is what works best for me. Using the above and with a bit of experience you will get comfortable and safe levelling off at 1/2 the height of the shoreline and from that point its easy to transition to the proper attitude and decent rate. As to the previous questions when I started flying floats I used to time the take off run in the lake with my watch at cruise speed to get the length and it worked fine.
As far as gauging distance for takeoff once on a lake if you visualize a man standing by the tree or something and how big he would look on the far shore you are taking off towards you will be surprised how that gives you a real accurate idea of distance. If you go out on a back road first and get a guy to stand at 1/2 and 3/4 and a mile away you will get the sense of what a man looks like at that distance.
I found out first hand why in smaller lakes you should always use it all for takeoff and climb over water if possible even when you have the power and confidence to do otherwise. Another thing that will help new float pilots in small lakes is to avoid the temptation to climb to quickly once off the water especially when heavily loaded. Aim the nose for the top of the trees at the end of the lake and hold it there. No need to look at the airspeed or get distracted so you can just fly the airplane and build airspeed. Much safer to clear the trees by 20 ft at 80 than go over at 100 ft at 60 or worse yet get behind the power curve and be 20ft over at 60 mph and hit a downdraft. My friend in his 206 said it felt like pushing the down button in an elevator.
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#39 Post by skybaron » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:18 am

Lots of good tips here.

Marine Charts (either old school paper or loaded on a GPS/phone) is an invaluable tool to study prior to heading off to an unfamiliar destination. Tide lines, shoals, sandbars etc are all availble for you to assess.

Topo Charts will help you visualize/predict how the wind may behave coming from a certain direction that my help or degrade your distances through mechanical turbulence, shear zones, downdrafts/upstarts and so on. Just like water (air) flowing through channels (terrain).

Nothing will be like the environment when you actually arrive, but doing your homework beforehand will make you better equipped.

Also, when you're waiting weather out, a couple of good reads touch on the exact points mentioned here and then some:

"Seaplane Operations"
"Water Flying Concepts"

Both are written by Dale Deremer
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Re: Float plane take off distances?

#40 Post by valleyboy » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:22 pm

I guess float flying is truly becoming a lost art.
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