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Patrol Standard fuselage vs seaplane fuselage?

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  • Patrol Standard fuselage vs seaplane fuselage?

    I' getting ready to make the decision and wonder how many of the Patrol owners/builders out there chose to go with the seaplane fuselage over the standard fuselage? Is there a significant weight penalty with adding the door to the left side? With the seaplane fuselage where did you place the engine controls? Pros and cons to each option?

  • #2
    I built my LSA with doors on both sides and now have about 100 hours on it. I also covered my doors in plexiglass.

    I had envisioned flying without the doors installed most of the time as that is how I flew my prior plane(a Christavia, think "Home built Champ") with its single large right hand door. I was planning on making my door hinge pins "Quick release" so the doors would be easy to remove/install.

    What I have found is it would have been sufficient to have just put in the Plexi where the door is on the left side for the increased visibility instead of the complexity of adding a fully functional door and the head scratching that went in to a throttle linkage for the rear seat. I've only found myself opening the left door for easier "maintenance access" to the cabin area. The large flip up windows and the visibility through the Plexi covered doors obviates the need to actually remove them.

    So unless you actually need the left door for access as a float plane, my opinion is it just added complexity. However, I would install the plexi where the left door would have been as the increase in visibility is worth it.

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    • #3
      Very good points and suggestion. Thank you. I currently have a Kitfox 5 with full length plexi on both doors and I absolutely love the visibility out the sides. If I could keep that with the Patrol it would be great.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have attached a photo that makes it easy to see what I ended up with.

        Something else I might consider (but would have to carefully think about the weight penalty) would be to enlarge the bottom of the rear window,; basically draw a line continuing the lower door slope to intersect the lower rear corner of the rear window,

        But plexi is heavy and I'm not sure if that large of a piece of plexi wouldn't need some additional support in the middle.

        However, I think there is a four place out there that did this but I don't recall the specifics.

        I also added the skylight but likely wouldn't do that again. I don't think the visibility benefit is worth the weight.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BTAZ View Post
          I also added the skylight but likely wouldn't do that again. I don't think the visibility benefit is worth the weight.
          In flat country that is true, I've no doubt about it.

          In mountain valleys and in heavily congested airspace, I have found our skylight pays for itself time and time again. Without exaggeration, it's saved us from a certain collision on one occasion. Always look where you are going
          Last edited by Battson; 09-11-2017, 05:16 PM.

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          • #6
            Even here in "flat country", we have to fly traffic patterns, where a skylight comes in pretty handy...
            Jim Parker
            Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
            Patrol Quick-Build Serial # P312

            Comment


            • #7
              Given the "hard limit" for stated gross weight on an LSA, legal useful load depends on shaving ounces.

              I "hefted" the skylight when doing the final install and I would guess it is 5 lbs or so plus the extra structure for mounting it.

              Student activity in the Phoenix area gives us two out of the top ten busiest GA airports in the US(Deer Valley(DVT) has Westwind and Transpac, my home field of Falcon(FFZ) has CAE, Lufthansa has their own field. and plenty of FBO type training operations) and the practice areas are always pretty full as are all the "pilot controlled" fields withing 60 miles or so, I can't say I have seen traffic that required action on my part in the skylight before I saw it by lifting the wings prior to turning(in particular in the pattern) or through the other windows.

              And one certainly gets lots of practice looking for it here

              Perhaps it would be more handy in a side by side like the four place and the extra weight wouldn't be as much of an issue on the Patrol and I expect it would be handy in canyon sort of flying but for me, I wouldn't install it again as its usefulness/weight ratio isn't there.

              But that is what is great about a plans built, freedom to make it what you want it to be.

              Comment


              • Bdflies
                Bdflies commented
                Editing a comment
                Hmmm... I think you just made a good argument for ADS-B compliance. With in/out you see everything. Depending on the system, you can filter the stuff that doesn't matter.

                Bill

              • JimParker256
                JimParker256 commented
                Editing a comment
                "with [ADS-B] in/out you see everything."
                Well, not quite. There are plenty of aircraft that do not now (and never will) have electrical systems and/or transponders, and those same aircraft are exempt from the ADS-B equipage requirements. Gliders, Balloons, Cubs, Champs, Bearhawk LSAs without generator/alternators... All of those will be invisible to ADS-B long after the 2020 deadline rolls around. You still need to be able to 'see and be seen' regardless of ADS-B status.

              • Bdflies
                Bdflies commented
                Editing a comment
                You're absolutely correct. I knew my display would only reflect what the tracon showed. Yesterday, I crossed paths with a buddy's SNJ - about a half mile south and 500' above me. I saw the big yellow plane, but nothing on my screen.... Nothing like such a sight to remind me of the limitations that Jim speaks of. See and avoid is still the rule of the road!

                Bill

            • #8
              Hate to thread drift, but I believe a simple review of "The most likely way to die in and airplane" will show that mid-airs are and always have been pretty far down the list.

              In general, safety would probably be better served by taking the $3K or so required for ADS-B and applying it to AVGAS for flight currency and worthwhile focused instruction to stretch our piloting and decision making skills,

              That would have a better chance of lowering the "Loss of Control" accidents and might help improve the failed decision making associated with continued flight into IFR or poorly managed minor equipment failures that turn into accidents.

              Every month we review AZ related accidents in our EAA meeting. I can't think of a single "ADS-B would have prevented this" conclusion.

              There have been a few mid-airs here in the past fifteen years(perhaps five, I lost a friend in a Cub/Glider collision fifteen years ago) but for every mid-air there are multiple "classic accidents"(stall/spin in the pattern, VFR into IFR, failed impossible turns,CFIT, fuel contaminated by too much air in the tanks, other in flight/ground loss of control) every year.

              Comment


              • #9
                "Thread drift"? Like most conversations, it goes where it goes.
                We don't talk politics around here and that's fine by me. I'll just say that I'm probably as opposed to government mandates as anyone here. The front license plate, on my pickup, is a "don't tread on me" plate. Before building the Patrol, I'd decided to not do the ADS-B compliance thing, avoid 'required airspace' and see how that went. Not knowing all the details of how the Powers decided to require compliance, in 'required airspace', I really can't pose an opinion. My first reaction to someone telling me something I HAVE to do, is 'uh no'.
                When the opportunity for the Patrol arose, a big part of my excitement was the opportunity to equip it with my 'dream avionics' package. Since I was starting with a clean sheet of paper, I figured I'd just as soon do the compliance thing. It added some $$, but in the scope of the project, it's not significant. I think it was about $1k added cost.
                For that decision, I'm provided with free weather information - similar to the high priced XM product. Pretty good! There's nothing like launching into blue skies, only to find that there's bright colors all around you! The traffic displayed, is another benefit. It's my understanding that the TIS-B uplink displays everything that's on the TRACON screen. In a busy traffic intensive environment, I can definitely see the benefit. It's another source of information.
                Will this piece of electronics prevent fuel starvation? No. Will it reduce CFIT? No. It won't prevent VFR into IMC, nor will it prevent midairs. It won't prevent most of the stuff that kills our brethren. But, it provides information to the pilot, to allow better informed decisions.

                Bill

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                • #10
                  Forgot to mention that I got a chance to look around Falcon Field, several years back. I was in Scottsdale, for a conference. I'd heard of the reputation of the aviation mecca. I drove around, slack jawed, amazed at the spectrum of aircraft and folks busily involved. Looks like a wonderful place to stay immersed in all things aviation!

                  Bill

                  Comment


                  • BTAZ
                    BTAZ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Until about 2005 it was busy but not bad.

                    Unfortunately, now it is so busy I don't even try to do touch and go's as the pattern is always full with "Airliner size" pattern work.

                    But the tower folks are great, easily getting me in the two times I have had a dead radio in the past few months and the patience they have with the heavy accents of the pilots in training is amazing.

                    And no worries about it closing because of lack of use or perceived revenue generation. There are some noise complaints but the city recognizes a gold mine when they have one and CAE tries to be a good neighbor..

                • #11
                  Originally posted by BTAZ View Post
                  Hate to thread drift, but I believe a simple review of "The most likely way to die in and airplane" will show that mid-airs are and always have been pretty far down the list.

                  In general, safety would probably be better served by taking the $3K or so required for ADS-B and applying it to AVGAS for flight currency and worthwhile focused instruction to stretch our piloting and decision making skills,

                  That would have a better chance of lowering the "Loss of Control" accidents and might help improve the failed decision making associated with continued flight into IFR or poorly managed minor equipment failures that turn into accidents.

                  Every month we review AZ related accidents in our EAA meeting. I can't think of a single "ADS-B would have prevented this" conclusion.

                  There have been a few mid-airs here in the past fifteen years(perhaps five, I lost a friend in a Cub/Glider collision fifteen years ago) but for every mid-air there are multiple "classic accidents"(stall/spin in the pattern, VFR into IFR, failed impossible turns,CFIT, fuel contaminated by too much air in the tanks, other in flight/ground loss of control) every year.
                  Here's my take on it... Loss of control (whether on the runway or in the air), VFR into IFR, CFIT, stall/spin, fuel contamination, running the tanks dry, etc. are all preventable BY ME. I'm not saying I will never screw up, but I am saying that ultimately, I control my own destiny with each of those events.

                  But being overtaken from behind by a clueless Cirrus pilot (feel free to substitute your own "favorite" aircraft brand for Cirrus) who is heads-down in the cockpit and oblivious to the fact that I'm right in front of him is something that I have ZERO CONTROL over. And I've almost had it happen twice in the past four years - one that crossed below me left-rear to right-front, close enough I could inspect the rivets on his tail cone, and the other about a year later where he crossed maybe 20 feet below me, directly from the rear, and then his tail missed my prop by maybe 10 feet as he began a "zoom climb" IMMEDIATELY after passing below me. I'm 100% convinced that neither of them ever saw me.

                  After that second incident, I purchased a Zaon XRX (PCS system) so I could at least have a general idea of where traffic is based on their transponder replies. It wasn't a perfect system, but better than nothing. When ADS-B came along, I jumped in early, upgrading my Commander 114's Garmin 330 to 330ES. I was amazed at how much traffic was around me, and how much easier it was to spot that traffic when you knew exactly where it was...

                  So now I guess I'm a complete convert, and would strongly prefer to have ADS-B (both OUT and IN) equipment in any plane I fly. In the two years I've had ADS-B In/Out, I've probably altered my flight path a half-dozen or more times to eliminate any possibility of conflicting with other traffic, regardless of whether I can actually see that airplane visually or not. I sleep a lot better at night.
                  Jim Parker
                  Farmersville, TX (NE of Dallas)
                  Patrol Quick-Build Serial # P312

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Pilots pick up traffic visually when they see movement. Movement of the "dot" out there is what draws our attention. But, when the dot is moving, the vector of the traffic is not heading directly towards us. Its when the dot is stationary that we are the unintended bullseye of the traffic. When the dot is stationary and at twelve o'clock the closure rate is very high, and the time to see and react is pretty small. I bet your magic has very high value when you are sipping coffee, enjoying the sunrise, with a target coming at you from the front window.
                    Brooks Cone
                    Southeast Michigan
                    Patrol #303, Kit build

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