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Helipads

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of libertariandoc libertariandoc 4 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 31 total)
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  • #8747
    Profile photo of libertariandoc
    libertariandoc
    Participant

    Well, I’ve actually flown seaplanes (I hold a Commercial land/sea single & multi engine, ATP single/multi land and sea, and Instrument rating, and CFI ratings plus several type ratings) which combined with my degree in astronautical engineering and 10 years experience working in the Aerospace industry leads me to a different conclusion.

    Even a seaplane that is not flown on water (an amphibian) costs more to purchase, operate and maintain than a similar land-only based aircraft. Being a dedicated seaplane or amphibian (even a C182 on floats) there are additional maintenance inspections that have to be performed on the floats, the hull, etc. Certain models of cessnas, IIRC, have different TBO’s for use on water and land, and propeller damage is significant on the water (which matters for propeller-driven aircraft). Further, pure jet engines operated on water need more cleaning (water flush) and polishing (of turbine blades) than those not used on water, and blades (prop and turbine) don’t last as long due to water erosion. Water impacting engine accessories also causes more damage than air, or hail or gravel.

    And the Be-103 has rather pitiful performance numbers. 6 seats total, Vne 130 knots, designed for freshwater, calm waters (lakes, rivers) so any significant salt water or swells will damage it. Basically it’s got less guts than a Cessna 310. For the stage lengths that a BE-103 can perform at all, a small helo (like a Bell 412) will do better.

    As far as the Osprey, by the time a Seastead needs aircraft, they will be cheaper, easier to fly and more maintainable. One of the helos they are designed to replace (the CH-46) is in commercial service (BV-107), and the Osprey is already cheaper to maintain than it is.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    #8749
    Profile photo of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    I have done a ton of research on this, and everything I have read said that the pre-flight checklists and maintenance of amphibious planes is no more difficult than normal planes. Yes, you need to check for water leakage, make sure the bilge pump is working, examine the body for damage, etc but the wheels and undercarriage of regular planes take just as much punishment and need to be just as carefully inspected. The only thing different with seaplanes is the old mantra “gear UP for WATER landing, gear DOWN for RUNWAY landing”. But this is all book-learnin’…it sounds like you have much more actual experience in these matters so I defer to your knowledge.

    But we’re not comparing land-based planes and amphibious planes….we’re comparing amphibious planes and rotor craft like helicopters. You cannot deny that an amphibious plane is much easier to fly, repair, and maintain than a helicopter. And as many “guts” as a Cessna 310 has it’s not gonna help on a seastead. We have to compare apples and apples.

    I admit the stats on the BA-609 are very impressive, but you are probably looking at $20M per craft. Yes, prices will come down but it will still be very expensive. Even something like the S-76, which has been around for decades, is still in the $2-$3M range. Even in 10-15 years I can’t believe something as complex as the BA-609 will ever be as cheap as a normal, single-rotor chopper.

    The BE-103 is not a hawk, it’s more like a duck. With a hurt wing. But again, it’s a cost thing. A Bell 412 will run you, what, $10M? Plus the increased maintenance and repair costs. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. I’m leaning much more towards the Lake LA-270 Seafury…same speed and size but nearly twice the range of the BE-103 and still only around $500k. I also like the Seawind 300C which is even cheaper at $350k but it’s still in pre-production and who knows when (or if) they will ever make it to market.

    I’d even say dump the BE-103 and stick with a bunch of small, two-seater amphibious planes. I’m also looking at the Dornier S-Ray in addition to the SeaMax. But for something like rapid medical transport you’d probably want the room that a medium-sized plane can give you. I’d love either a ShinMaywa US-2 or a Candair CL-415 converted to passenger and cargo transport. But again we’re going into the tens of millions of dollars and I’m trying to stick with craft that can be purchased “off-the-rack” in civilian markets.

    #8751
    Profile photo of libertariandoc
    libertariandoc
    Participant

    Better do more research.

    For land planes on floats (for example, a Cessna 182 on floats, preflight requires opening each of 4-6 watertight compartments on each float, and visually confirming there is no water in them. There often is, and it has to be pumped out before takeoff – the rivets work themselves loose and leak. If the floats are amphibious, there is a fairly complicated (for a small Cessna) series of cables that exents and retracts the wheels and rudders on the floats. On a land-based C182 the preflight of the landing gear is to look at the tires and make certain there is air in them, and no apparent damage. Total time is maybe 10 seconds per side.

    True seaplanes like the Lake require more maintenance when operated on salt water than fresh (I used to own one, a LA-4, which is built on the same Type Certificate as the LA-270). All the zinc chromate primer, Boshield and Corrosion-X in the world won’t stop corrosion from happening, and the book calls for a fresh-water washdown after every flight below 100’AGL over salt water. The military does a washdown on their patrol aircraft after flights below 1000′ AGL. Despite that, parts still corrode and need to be replaced, at a much higher rate than on land only aircraft. Further, the anti-corrosion treatments add substantially to the weight of the empty airplane. My LA-4, for example, could not carry 4 people and full fuel (neither can a Cessna 172 without the corrosion prevention products added for the float enabled versions, btw).

    Lastly, using small aircraft means that seasteaders will have to fly themselves. How many will be willing to learn how to? In an airplane that has a (theoretical) maximum of 4 seats, one seat is the pilots….and that leaves at most 3 seats (and no cargo, luggage, or full fuel) to the rest.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    #8752
    Profile photo of billswift
    billswift
    Participant

    Most of the discussion is irrelevant to what I was suggesting, which is that if seasteads ever do become even mildly popular, there should be enough of a market for someone to start running a regular service to them using larger flying boats like the old Grumman Albatross or Consolidated Catalina. I never even considered the smaller boats or float planes as reasonable for open sea use nor for seasteaders to keep their own planes.

    #8753
    Profile photo of libertariandoc
    libertariandoc
    Participant

    billswift wrote:

    Most of the discussion is irrelevant to what I was suggesting, which is that if seasteads ever do become even mildly popular, there should be enough of a market for someone to start running a regular service to them using larger flying boats like the old Grumman Albatross or Consolidated Catalina. I never even considered the smaller boats or float planes as reasonable for open sea use nor for seasteaders to keep their own planes.

    While the big old flying boats (like the PBY and Albatross) could land in open water (with low sea states, say a 4 or less) they suffered a LOT of damage when they did. In higher seas, taking off was very dicey – which is one of the main reasons that the US Air Force (Air Rescue Service) and US Coast Guard quit flying the Albatrosses, in the early 1960’s. Even then, they could use JATO bottles to help take off: Today there are no more. I just saw an article about the US Navy’s aerial demonstration team, the Blue Angels, who will no longer have their C130 support aircraft make a JATO takeoff at the end of the show – they don’t trust the old JATO bottles, and can’t get any new ones.

    Even the BIG flying boats today (CL415, etc) are limited in even moderate sea states. The CL-415, for example, is limited to a 37,850 water takeoff weight, has a typical (sales) empty weight of 28,400, and holds 10,250 lbs of fuel. So, it can’t take off empty with full fuel, meaning that it’s max range will be limited (1500 lbs of fuel an hour at max range (slow) speed.

    Even the big, multi-million dollar BE-200 aircraft is limited to sea states of 3 or so. I’m not sure if it’s been certified by any agency for passenger flight (there is only one customer outside Russia, in Azerbijan). The ShinMeiwa isn’t certified as a civilian aircraft.

    There’s a reason that this type of aircraft isn’t used more, and thats because it only fills a very narrow niche. An open-ocean seastead isn’t it. Air Transport to the seasteads is going to have to be some sort of VTOL, or perhaps V/STOL.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    #8757
    Profile photo of wohl1917
    wohl1917
    Participant

    Doc on the Coasties not flying the HU-16 after the early 60’s: they were flying them out of Elisibeth City NC at least until the mid 70’s. Not sure about the AF though… As for the JATO bottles, an AF guard unit bought up and is using the last of them for operations in Greenland and Antarctica but you’re right about the failure rate.

    < http://ocr.wikia.com/wiki/Oceanic_Citizens_Republic_Wiki>

    Profile photo of libertariandoc
    libertariandoc
    Participant
    Profile photo of wohl1917
    wohl1917
    Participant

    about the year but I remember seeing at least one power up the seaplane ramp there and it would’ve been between ’68 and 72′. The ramp is still visible at the NW corner of the base on google earth…

    < http://ocr.wikia.com/wiki/Oceanic_Citizens_Republic_Wiki>

    Profile photo of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    libertariandoc wrote:
    Better do more research.

    I agree that amphibious planes seem to require more maintenance than land-based planes, but that’s not the question. The question is what makes more sense, amphibious planes and a small breakwater or helicopters (or civilian osprey, or other VTOL) and a helipad. I still believe that the former makes more sense economically and physically.

    libertariandoc wrote:
    Lastly, using small aircraft means that seasteaders will have to fly themselves. How many will be willing to learn how to?

    I was thinking more like dedicated pilots ferrying single passengers back and forth to the mainland. Remember, this would only be for critical passengers…I’m sure 99% of regular traffic, both passenger and cargo, would be by boat. But if you have a VIP, or someone who is critically ill, or highly perishable cargo, that requires rapid transport you would use one of these smaller planes. You would only need a few trained pilots on the seastead…maybe two for each plane so you could have shifts.

    #8766
    Profile photo of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    billswift wrote:

    Most of the discussion is irrelevant to what I was suggesting, which is that if seasteads ever do become even mildly popular, there should be enough of a market for someone to start running a regular service to them using larger flying boats like the old Grumman Albatross or Consolidated Catalina. I never even considered the smaller boats or float planes as reasonable for open sea use nor for seasteaders to keep their own planes.

    In addition to what libertariandoc said about the old big flying boats, you also can’t even buy these anymore. And even if you happen to find one for sale, it’s probably between 50 and 70 years old. Finding parts for those things will be ridiculously hard, and as libertariandoc said it seems these planes take a real beating.

    If you are transporting people to seasteads that don’t have breakwaters and plan to do open-ocean take-offs and landings then I agree with libertariandoc that seaplanes seem like a non-starter due to sea-state limitations. You’ll have to go VTOL.

    #8767
    Profile photo of libertariandoc
    libertariandoc
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:

    billswift wrote:

    Most of the discussion is irrelevant to what I was suggesting, which is that if seasteads ever do become even mildly popular, there should be enough of a market for someone to start running a regular service to them using larger flying boats like the old Grumman Albatross or Consolidated Catalina. I never even considered the smaller boats or float planes as reasonable for open sea use nor for seasteaders to keep their own planes.

    In addition to what libertariandoc said about the old big flying boats, you also can’t even buy these anymore. And even if you happen to find one for sale, it’s probably between 50 and 70 years old. Finding parts for those things will be ridiculously hard, and as libertariandoc said it seems these planes take a real beating.

    If you are transporting people to seasteads that don’t have breakwaters and plan to do open-ocean take-offs and landings then I agree with libertariandoc that seaplanes seem like a non-starter due to sea-state limitations. You’ll have to go VTOL.

    [/quote]

    Or charge them extra for the E-ticket ride….especially the ones sitting by the windows, for that true ‘submarine’ experience!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    #9234
    Profile photo of J.L.-Frusha
    J.L.-Frusha
    Participant

    Or charge them extra for the E-ticket ride….especially the ones sitting by the windows, for that true ‘submarine’ experience!

    Now you’re talking! Drop below and have a reasonably smooth ride. Outside that, I’d say someone bringing passengers will use a boat. A marked, beaconed heli-pad, for emergency medical use, in fair weather, is a very good idea. Look at the ‘Ballard’ thread, follow the link to the interview. Granted, he stole the structure from the Flip-Ship(1962-present), but he put a heli-pad on top of it.

    Submarines can be cheaper, safer taxis, and can operate where weather won’t allow anything else to(if designed for it). Hell, if they weren’t cheap enough and reasonably capable, the Columbians wouldn’t be using semi-subs for drug trafficking(May have stopped, by now… Too many got caught). They would need a sheltered ‘harbor’ to operate from, though. Say, some plastic dome, over a large opening, in the center of a town-sized collection of co-attached ‘steads? Put the medical-clinic right beside it, with a dedicated double-doorway? Keep one docked at each end of the line and enough fuel to ferry folks away, in an emergency… Hard part is putting in a hole big enough for a stretcher. Use a swing-open nose, with ballast-tanks adjustable for that trimmed attitude?

    Later,

    J.L..F.

    If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reef

    #9477
    Profile photo of ajtaka
    ajtaka
    Participant

    Air Transport to the seasteads is going to have to be some sort of VTOL, or perhaps V/STOL.

    How many usable V/STOL planes you know? osprey, harrier. none of those are available to common market (military stuff) and cost as much as a clubstead itself. So that leaves seaplanes, helicopters and airships. At my knowledge airships dont necessary need a runway, just a anchoring tower. offcourse they are prone to hard winds and storms when anchored and not inside hangar. Helicopters are very expensive especially in long distance and their range is limited. Given your information about landing conditions seaplanes would need breakwater, which is expensive and hard to operate. Allso breakwater goes against the idea to minimize wave interaction.

    At my opinion if we operate inside EZ (200nm) helicopters are the easiest way. They are expensive, but relatively easy as long as we find crazy enough pilot to do seaplatform operations. In bluesea operations helicopters are guite much out of guestion, unless we plan routes so that we are within helicopter range. Seaplanes are not good in bluesea operations either, because first big wave will damage seaplanes. Seaplane is little bit misleading name, because most of seaplanes are designed to land and operate in still water (coasts, lakes, rivers). Which leads to that at my opinion airship/blimp is the best option for bluesea operation. There is only one problem nobody builds anymore passenger size airships except for some very large experimental cargo blimps. So either we customs desing and build blimp or try to convince someone to start production again.

    This offcourse leads to that airsupply is out of guestion as main supply/transport method and should be reserved for emergency/special-situations. Don’t try to fight gravity, it’s the law. which means it’s much cheaper to use water transports.

    aorry for possible bad english

    #9478
    Profile photo of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    ajtaka wrote:
    How many usable V/STOL planes you know? osprey, harrier. none of those are available to common market (military stuff) and cost as much as a clubstead itself.

    Actually, the BA-609 is the civilian version of the Osprey and is available. But you are right they are very expensive, probably in the $20M range.

    ajtaka wrote:
    Seaplanes are not good in bluesea operations either, because first big wave will damage seaplanes.

    That’s why I would build a large breakwater for a landing area, but that doesn’t work if you are using a mobile seastead design.

    ajtaka wrote:
    There is only one problem nobody builds anymore passenger size airships except for some very large experimental cargo blimps.

    Remember this is only for the occasional trip where normal water transport isn’t good enough. For the VIP or medical emergency that needs rapid transport to land. I don’t think airships can get very fast, can they? From what I remember they are probably slower than a ship so there wouldn’t be any advantage in using them over boats.

    #9485
    Profile photo of J.L.-Frusha
    J.L.-Frusha
    Participant

    The way to be safest, in most situations requires a helipad. Something stable, though, not a barge banging around in the sea. Go with the larger FLIP ship, that can handle 80′ waves, put a pad on it, like the Bob Ballard idea. Stable in almost all conditions. Use Hydroplanes for general, fair weather traffic, boats and ships can handle everything else.

    With slips for normal yachts, there would be a steady stream of people coming and going. That generates tourism trade. I know of members, here, that want to be the grocery-run folks, with their yacht.

    Later,

    J.L..F.

    If you can’t swim with the big fish, stick to the reef

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