For several years now I have been tinkering on the drawing board for a new seaplane. I have recently made some design decisions that are solidifying the project and I am looking for people near and far who might be interested in a project like this. So here goes.
I am looking to scratch-build a stitch-and-glue plywood, wood & fiberglass 2+2 flying boat that will duplicate the performance parameters of our 1968 Cherokee 140. I think of this airplane as an elongated version of a Coot Amphibian or Osprey2 Amphibian with 2+2 seating, folding wings, a 500NM range, and that is trailerable, so we could tow it behind our truck-camper or RV.
My wife and I, our luggage, and our dog routinely fly 400 NM from EZF to HXD for visits with family. We are right at 2150 lbs gross in our Cherokee with 40 gal of fuel and make the trip in 3.8 hours with 1 hour reserve. We have the ability to take two couples, no luggage and a light load of fuel up for a joy ride, and our airplane cruises at 110 Kts at 6500 ft while burning 8.0 GPH, and 100 kts at about 7.5 GPH.
I want low speed maneuvering so that we can use the airplane to spot dolphins from the air, land and maneuver around with them quietly. This boat will be equipped with an inboard 1.5 HP electric propulsion system with a folding prop and a Kitchen Rudder control system. The Kitchen Rudder allows a single screw vessel to maneuver like a twin screw vessel, with a single lever control and a constant throttle setting. It is an old system and it works. The folding prop will reduce drag on the prop for flight and high speed water operations. See http://www.oldmarineengine.com/discus/messages/1/95580.html
The aircraft/vessel will have a 2.5 HP 12V DC Auxiliary Power Unit driving a charging alternator. It will likely be rope start, and mounted below the main engine so it can act as a pre-heater in the winter time as well as battery a charger to provide power for the battery and electric propulsion drive system. Should the main engine quit over the water, after landing on the water, the APU can provide power to the electric propulsion system as long as the fuel supply lasts, allowing the vessel to navigate to the nearest port. The APU can also be started without the battery, and can recharge the battery should it go dead while camping in the wilderness.
I expect the aircraft to have a gross weight of 2400 lbs, fly at 100 kts at 6500 feet and burn 8.5 GPH. It must hold 44 gallons of fuel in the wings, and have a 5 gallon automatic reserve tank in the main hull. The battery should provide enough reserve power to drive the electric motor at 1/2 throttle for 15 min, and start the engine after that. It should have a useful load as equipped of 800 pounds.
I have been looking at the stitch-&-glue plywood method of building boats, and I think this method is the way to go for the hull portion of this boat. It is reasonably fast, it is reasonably priced, it is flexible to different designs, and Devlin's book shows you how to apply this method to building any type of boat.
So I am asking any of you who may be interested in a project like this to contact me. I am hoping this will be the ultimate fun airplane for me and my wife, and maybe for some of you as well. Thank you for taking the time to read about this project.
William “Pete” Hodges
The Quixote Airman
Spotsylvania VA 22553