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Thread: Floating a Cessna 182?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Floating a Cessna 182?

    Cessna apparently never made any C182's with factory float kits.

    While float conversions of formerly land-only C182's are available: Is there anything included in a Cessna factory float kit, that cannot be added to an aircraft afterward?

    If yes, are those missing things really important?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    There are a lot of 182s out there with partial floatplane kits because the owners ran out of time and money.
    It seems like the successful conversions I have seen were from total wreck and rebuilds.

    A Cessna Factory seaplane has all sorts of corrosion resistant parts, the cables, pulleys and so on. A big thing was how Cessna applied the Zinc Chromate to the inside parts. The overlapping pieced were treated and then riveted together. Spraying chromate inside an already assembled aircraft does not works nearly as well.

    The newer ( wider ) 182s have more room than a 180 or 185. HOWEVER they have trim-tab elevator trim and not the 180/185 jack-screw trimming horizontal stabilizer, which is better for float operations.

    Another thing to deal with on converted 182s is which floats can be attached (installed). The installation STCs must line up with whichever STC was used to convert the plane.
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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx Float,

    Your replies always answer my basic question(s), and then provide new avenues for further research.

    On the topic of Zinc Chromate: I tried to determine how effective this factory coating might be in actually preventing corrosion? But, without enough converted C182's to provide the "rust-data", I kinda figured that it might be a wash, between converting a C182 land-plane that had obviously never been on floats, to a C185 sea-plane that the previous owner claimed had never been used in salt water

    When it comes to trimming: I current fly (but, don't own) a Cessna 172 & 185 on floats, both are factory sea-planes. While the 185 has much more power and cargo carrying capacity, I haven't noticed any lack of elevator authority with the 172's trim-tab, as opposed to the 185's jack-screw trimmed horizontal stab. I'm not saying that they are of equal effectiveness, because the 185 system definitely seems more robust. But, I haven't run out of trim while operating the 172, either. Don't the larger C206 factory sea-planes also use a trim-tab system?

    Finally Flaps: Proponents of manual flaps are always extolling the advantages of quickly yanking on that Johnson Bar. But, unless you have arms as long as a gorilla, the ergonomics suck! I feel like I'm "going down into the basement" (losing visual contact with the outside world down behind the dash) every time I adjust the flaps on a C185. I would much rather just slide my hand over a few inches from the throttle and flip the electric flap switch on a C182, while maintaining constant situational awareness and looking outside. And I've got tons of commercial & military instrument experience, but, I can't even imagine working manual flaps while shooting an approach in solid IMC. Seems like leaning down to put your chin on your knee every few minutes would be very vertigo inducing?

    And don't get me started about stretching down beside my toes to reach the Rudder Trim on a C185! Who designed that???

    But, the main reason that I'm interested in converting a C182 to floats, is the cost of insurance. I have no tail-wheel time, but, multi-thousand hours flying tricycle Cessnas. When both are on the water, the premiums for a C182 and C185 run roughly the same. They're both HIGH, but, I can afford to pay it for a few months during the short float-season in AK. It's during the longer wheel-season, that the C185 would make me poor. The much higher cost of insuring a tail-dragger instead of a trike, would eat up all of my fuel budget.

    Anyway, thanx again for your valuable input!
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I am a fan of electric flaps, for the reasons you stated and the fact that you can set them at odd positions. A/C with modified Wings sometime like weird flap setting like 15 degrees or 5 degrees. It is not a matter of running out of trim. Well maybe with a small tail 206, but rather the drag induced during take off. A forward loaded (light) 172 on floats has the elevators up to keep the nose up during the slide. Inducing drag. Cubs and 180/185s trim out with less elevator needed. One reason they are faster out of the water. I think the training horizontal stab really shines when 3 pointing on wheels and in slow flight. The insurance is a big deal. AVEMCO advertised that they would cover CFIs using their own planes,,,but they will Not cover a CFI using a 180 or 185. A 172 or 182 yes. When I pointed out that they are kinda the same on floats they said that their computer risk assessment was based on tailwheel status. I can not type very well on a tiny phone.
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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    The insurance is a big deal. AVEMCO advertised that they would cover CFIs using their own planes,,,but they will Not cover a CFI using a 180 or 185. A 172 or 182 yes.
    Well, that's a deal breaker right there for us! My wife & I are both CFI's.

    I've looked at some C172's seaplanes, both with 180hp motors and even the Hawk XP's with 195hp (STC'd to 210hp). They have all of the factory enhancements for float operations. But, that 2550# max takeoff limit, makes for very limited useful loads, especially on floats.

    Which brings me back to wanting to float a Cessna 182 . . . . .

    Thanx, Dave.

    P.S. - Your explanation about the advantages of a trim-able horizontal stabilizer makes perfect sense.

    P.P.S. - Lots of C150/152's get converted into tail-draggers. Anyone ever convert a C180/185 into a trike?
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Yes. It was like putting Rosie O Donald's face on Hallie Berry. The insurance company would not care. The them it would be a 185. If you really wanted to do instruction, a 182 ,180, 185 is expensive to run for that purpose. I know since I am doing it. Going to a souped up 180 cost me a lot of business. Pilots are the cheapest people on earth and they really do not care if they can bring along a couple other people in a 180/185 if it cost more per hour. Plus a lot of them cannot run a constant speed prop and cowl flaps to save their life. So instead of learning floats, you spend all your time trying to keep them from wrecking your engine.
    A lot of lightweight C172s with 180 horses and a fixed prop will get out of the water faster than an XP. My old N model with the 160 horse and Power Flow exhaust could beat a local XP with the exact same type of floats. The io360 Continental engine is heavy and the constant speed prop adds nose weight. Yes they are faster in cruise because of the constant speed, but that does not matter for instruction.
    A Io 360 Lycoming is a lighter and more zippy engine. ( 4 clyinder) or a Power flowed 0 360 Lycoming. The Stoots folks in Fairbanks have the O 390 Lycoming stc for the 210 horse 4 clyinder in 172s and 175s. Those things really rip. There are lots of light 172s with 180 to 220 horse engines that have a legal useful load of a little more than 800 pounds. That works for instruction at 8 gallons an hour. I went to a little more than A 1000 pounds legal useful load, but now average 15 to 16 gallons an hour if I am instructing. Plus a huge insurance increase, and a lot more maintainance costs. And my client base dropped like a rock.
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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Some of the land-plane 182 were special ordered with anti-corrosive zinc chromate sprays inside. I guess they were ordered for salty environments or something. It added a few pounds.
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  8. #8
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    A lot of lightweight C172s with 180 horses and a fixed prop will get out of the water faster than an XP. My old N model with the 160 horse and Power Flow exhaust could beat a local XP with the exact same type of floats. The io360 Continental engine is heavy and the constant speed prop adds nose weight. Yes they are faster in cruise because of the constant speed, but that does not matter for instruction.
    A Io 360 Lycoming is a lighter and more zippy engine. ( 4 clyinder) or a Power flowed 0 360 Lycoming. The Stoots folks in Fairbanks have the O 390 Lycoming stc for the 210 horse 4 clyinder in 172s and 175s. Those things really rip. There are lots of light 172s with 180 to 220 horse engines that have a legal useful load of a little more than 800 pounds. That works for instruction at 8 gallons an hour.
    I looked into that Stoots IO-390 STC and it turns out that it actually weighs more than the C172XP's Continental IO-360.
    Perhaps C172 performance, at least as a float-plane, reaches its peak with a Lycoming IO- or O-360 and a fixed-pitch prop?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    A six cylinder weighs less than a 4 cylinder of similar displacement???

    I flew a 220 horse Franklin powers C-172 for awhile. Six cylinders but she was pretty zippy.

    I did one guy's float rating in an old 172 that somehow or another had a field approved 0-470 stuffed in the nose.
    He had the worlds largest trim tab because it needed a bigger rudder. It really torqued over to the left on the take-off slide. Kinda scary in the Kenai float pond.
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  10. #10
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    A six cylinder weighs less than a 4 cylinder of similar displacement???
    Darn Wikipedia !!! They posted generic engine info, showing the Cont IO-360 weighing 294# and the Lycoming IO-390 at 308#.
    But, "-KB" version of Hawk XP motor actually weighs 327# and the "-A1A6 & -A3A6" versions used in the Stoots STC are 315#.
    So, the 4-cylinder Lycoming is a wee bit lighter (12#) than the 6-cylinder Continental. Not sure if I could notice that difference.

    Now, a 180hp Lycoming O-360-A1A weighs only 258# and if it was paired with a fixed-pitch prop . . . . .
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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