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Old 10-09-2015, 07:30 PM   #31
DesertFox4
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Lynn hasn't logged in since 2-1-15. Hope he is ok.
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Old 10-10-2015, 06:08 AM   #32
av8rps
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Thanks. I'll see if I can track him down through some mutual friends.
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:51 AM   #33
Lynn Matteson
 
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

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Originally Posted by av8rps View Post
Thanks. I'll see if I can track him down through some mutual friends.
Hi Paul

Good to hear from you. I tried to answer last night with a text from my cell phone, but it apparently didn't go through. Rather than go into a lengthy discourse of what has happened with the floats so far, I'll send this and see if that works. If it does, get ready for a lengthy tale of some success and a lots of woe.

Lynn
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:52 PM   #34
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Hey Lynn, nice to hear from you!

I'd love to hear your success and your woes with floating your Fox, and I'm sure others here on the forum would too. So please, by all means share with us your experiences with putting amphib floats on your Kitfox 4 Speedster.

Paul
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Old 10-12-2015, 07:47 AM   #35
Lynn Matteson
 
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

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Hey Lynn, nice to hear from you!

I'd love to hear your success and your woes with floating your Fox...
After I got the floats rigged (pretty much to your suggestions, Paul), I tried taxiing, and the plane wouldn't respond correctly to input from brake applications...this is an anphib, as you recall. It turns out that I had crossed up the brake lines during the installation, so I swapped the lines where they crossed and this small problem went away...duh!

We got all the weights recorded, balance was within specs, and my flight instructor took it up for a flight...perfect...no handling issues. He took it to the lake, made a couple of landings, then I got in with him for a test flight, and a lesson. With two of us aboard...me 165 lbs, him 235...the plane took forever....45 seconds plus...to lift off. Next we tried getting on step, lifting a float and popping it off the water. This worked, but he suggested that the step needed to go further aft, as he could feel the aft of the floats being "snatched" down upon landing, and that the sweet spot was too hard to hold when trying to get on step. We tried more landings and takeoffs, but it was always the same story....long takeoff runs.

He suggested that because of the short wings, lift was suffering, so I told him that I could add the previously cut off (prior to my buying the incomplete plane) wing section back onto the plane.
That job kept me busy for a couple of weeks, and when I had that little chore done, I tried a flight...not much better, I felt, but hard to compare with previous flights from my field because of the long wet Spring, and the soggy grass runway, now dried out and comparing those conditions with a now-longer wing and now dry conditions.

During the next few weeks, I got intermittent training in his J-3 on straight Edo floats, and was getting more comfortable with this whole different aspect of float-flying, but not ready to solo yet. This was partly due to the backwards layout of the Cub....tach reads backwards, controls are in opposite hands, can't see the carb heat knob, water rudder lift handle is to the side and slightly behind me...all hard for this 78-year old adjust to. : )

All that, and his available time is short, because of his job flying for a major airline, and domestic duties, none of which I have, so the frustration level on my part is raising.

A couple of times he would have me landing at his place, and would distract me with talk of something or the other and I'd be on final with the wheels still up...exactly what he wanted to see. So he'd have me go around, naturally, and by now I figured that a checklist would be handy, and also for me to call for a "sterile cockpit" which shut him up. Don't get me wrong....he's just trying to keep me safe...and we get along just fine. I also work on planes for him in my spare time at his place.

So eventually he flies it to a hard-surfaced airport near here, (I drive) and do multiple landings on that smooth surface and he finally ok's me to fly solo after he's convinced that I can call out all the checklist items....carb heat, mixture, landing gear position, rpm, water rudder position, etc. I do 3-4 solo landings and he ok's me to fly it home solo to my place....finally, after 5 weeks of installing the floats, having it flown for tests, and flying it with my instructor, I was released to fly it home solo and park it in my own hanger. Now I can fly it by myself again...from and to land only, mind you...but at least I can fly it alone again. And now is when I can get into trouble ALL by myself...and I do!

That's enough for this segment, I'll continue later or tomorrow...Oshkosh experience, coming up.

Lynn
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Old 10-12-2015, 08:00 AM   #36
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Hi, great story.

Did you end up moving the step aft some ?

I have a pipe dream of amphibs on my outback series 5, so all these stories , life lessons are very interesting!
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Old 10-12-2015, 03:59 PM   #37
av8rps
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Hey Lynn, can you type faster?

I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the rest!

Paul
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Old 10-13-2015, 03:23 AM   #38
Lynn Matteson
 
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Landing gear woes

Now that I've got the plane back in my hangar, I can fly it to local fly-ins, breakfasts, etc., but with a warning from Brian (my flight instructor, mentor, and good friend) that these floats are not the strongest he's ever seen, and that the landing gear is the weak point. I shouldn't be considering them to be as strong as the Grove landing gear that I built the plane with, and I ought to be operating them on hard/smooth runways whenever possible....in other words, cut out some of the turf activity. Well, that's hard to do when my place is turf, and so is his, and so are most of the places I frequent. So I kinda let this advice fall on deaf ears, which mine nearly are, and this will bite me in the ass later on....

So now I've modified my plane, after I've flown it for over 1600 hours and to both coasts of the US, into something that I can't fly to all the places that I used to, can't fly it into lakes, etc., because the training is dependent on Brian's time being available, and I'm getting frustrated.

I should point out here that when I built and installed the floats, that I installed a couple of pressure gauges to show the pressure in the gear retract system...a pressure gauge for the "up" direction, and another for the "down" direction. Because I can't see the actual position of the wheels, I operate the switch (operation is electrical/hydraulic pump) in the chosen direction until I see the pressure gauge max out, telling me that the work is done....all four cylinders are at their maximum extension or retraction, whichever the case may be, and I can release the switch. Right from the start of the project, I had built mechanical indicators for the front wheels to show up or down, but nothing yet for the main wheels. I was relying on the pressure gauges to show position indication of the mains, either up or down...another ass-biter coming up.

Lynn
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Old 10-13-2015, 03:26 AM   #39
Lynn Matteson
 
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Quote:
Originally Posted by av8rps View Post
Hey Lynn, can you type faster?

I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the rest!

Paul
I can type faster, but the squirrels in the modem are complaining.

Lynn
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Old 10-13-2015, 06:05 AM   #40
Lynn Matteson
 
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Default Re: I still need float-rigging info

Landing gear woes solved?

Somewhere along the way, Brian suggested that as old as I am, and having flown only one plane (not true, I've flown about six different planes, but no solos in them) that I should look into getting a device to remind me to check gear location. I figured that the gear position is the only thing different about flying this plane now as opposed to wheels only flying. He pointed out: "Isn't your life worth $600?" (approx. cost of a gear position reminder device that calls out wheels down for runway landing, or wheels up for water landing)
I guessed that it was, and ordered one...it'd give me something to do while waiting for the next lesson. So I got the device from Spruce, and it needed info from the gear telling it where the wheels actually were....position switches. So I set about building a small switchbox containing two microswitches, one that would close (complete the circuit to ground) when wheels were up, and one that would close when wheels were down, and I wired them into the plane. I then built a small subpanel ( running out of room on the main instrument panel) and mounted a green light (runway landing) and a blue light (water landing). This worked great! Now instead of watching for the pressure gauges to indicate when the wheels were at their end positions, I had these really cool lights that came on to tell me the same thing...or so I thought.

I got this panel mounted on the plane the day before I left for Oshkosh. Took it up for a flight or two and everything was ginger-peachy. Weather kept me from going until Monday of Oshkosh week, and when I did get going (west from here [southern Michigan], then around Chicago, then north) I had a 10-15 mph headwind until I turned north. I finally got there, stopping once for fuel/**** call, then landed on 27 at OSH, and made the turnoff to head for Seaplane parking. An attendant crossed his arms in front of me and I stopped. "You have smoke coming from your right float" I got out and the right float was dragging on the pavement. A small group had gathered and they lifted the wing while I ran the "'down" switch. The wheel locked into position, I thanked them and taxied off to my eventual parking place.

When I had changed my procedure from watching the gauges max out as an indicator of "locked and loaded", to watching the light come on, I overlooked the fact that the light was indicating that ONE wheel, the left one, (the ONLY one with the switches) was locked, and I still needed to observe the gauge for max pressure...the only true (more on this later) indicator of maximum wheel movement.

More later...gotta go install a bladder tank into a Republic SeaBee.

Lynn
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