You shouldn’t encourage me like that. But just to ruminate some more, this time on an Anderson Kingfisher which I recently looked over and talked to the owner (not the builder) about. First I want to say that while I have developed some opinions I’m not saying others shouldn’t have different ones; whatever wets your whistle you go for it, that’s what homebuilding is all about.
From my perspective the Kingfisher has one main advantage over a Volmer Sportsman– about 1.5 ft lower thrust line. The owner says power changes do not affect pitch up or down. Also, the seats are side-by-side, to correct my earlier post.
On the other hand I think of several cons;
1) Your eyeballs are at about half cord under the wing so visibility changes from one of the best with the VJ-22 Sportsman (and others) to one of the worst. The wing floats are half floats or you’d have no vis to the side, and the nose is way longer so vis ahead is also worse, especially I’d think when taxiing onto the beach while trying to steer around obstacles.
2) Entry/exit is more difficult even though the seat height is lower than the VJ because you have to come in from behind the wing, ducking under the trailing edge and squeezing through the small clamshell door. Freeboard is less – about one foot according to the owner to the bottom door half, which may be fairly watertight when closed. Just avoid trying to get in/out while in shallow water if the door is towards any surf. Also no standing up in your seat -- in boat mode -- to check ahead for submerged logs or rocks, throw a line, etc. (The Lake Buccaneer was great for that. I’d design my VJ canopy to allow it.) How you could get out on a dock I can’t imagine.
3) There is less potential baggage area behind the seat and greater CG concerns of the baggage weight. Picture a VJ if you relocated the seat behind the step up against the rear spar bulkhead. Of course you could possibly make another baggage area in that long nose to balance it out.
4) The owner says his empty wt is 1200 lbs with a high-compression 0-235 and metal prop. He thinks his plane was overbuilt. Kingfishers have a deeper vee hull than Sportsmans; maybe a nicer ride but he has a hard time getting on the step. He’s played with various props, added 4 inch spray rails, hull strakes and installed vents behind the step, and still can’t takeoff a 1000’ AGL lake by himself (I’d say he’s 160lbs) on a hot day. He’s thinking of going to a 0-320. I don’t know but I wonder whether having that blunt windshield immediately behind the prop in part of the most important area of the prop disk could have an effect on performance. He said he cruises (at 2600rpm) at 75mph (yes that’s what he said); of course I don’t know how accurate his ASI is but to me that is really slow.
1) The tailwheel rotates sideways to retract, a la Seabee and is free-swiveling with a lock. Interesting, although I like my idea for t/w retract better. It does let the air rudder extend lower than a Sportsman with a separate water rudder dropping out of the air rudder like a Lake has. Just wondering whether that sideways wheel is still dragging a little in the water while climbing on the step?
2) The wings are Piper Cub. One thing I am personally partial to, but could be used on the VJ-22 if you really wanted (and I do).
3) The main gear is independent, left and right. There’s no crosstube because your legs are in the way, so you retract each side individually. This means that the gear bulkhead has to be extra-strong -- I think building this way ends up being a little heavier, and of course you can’t have the gear rotate up and around to the rear with the doors there, which can help getting on the step in a Sportsman.
4) You climb onto the nose to access the engine. I think I still like my idea on the VJ-22 of reinforcing the turtledeck to walk up the tail.
5) I think in certain conditions you’d get a little more spray through the prop than either tractor or pusher VJ. Just guessing. There’d be at least some propblast at the cabin; I like the Lake/VJ and others that have the prop really up out of the way.
Well, you did ask for folks opinions. I’m sure others have some different ones. The VJ-22 isn’t perfect. I think some state-of-the art composite designs on the net could be better in some ways. They look sleeker, if that’s important to you. They’re also more expensive and may be unproven. We all have our design preferences and mission priorities, budgets and construction aptitudes but for me ol’ Volmer Jensen came up with a real winner, even after 50 years, which is why a fair number are still being built today. But whatever you build,