Saturday, February 13, 2010

the Cygnet 2 Amphibious plane

13 Feb

The plane – a Krucker manufactured amphibious plane called a Cygnet 2. (Cygnet means little swan – I am not sure if the idea is for the plane to later become beautiful because she sure lacks a bit on the looks department ; ) It constitutes two long floats of aluminum construction fitted under a chromoly and aluminum undercarriage. a Rotax 912 motor delivering 80hp with a warp drive prop provides ample thrust – very needed considering the need to break clear of the water without effort. (One of the tricky parts of water take offs is ensuring breaking the surface tension of the water for lift off). The plane uses a Impusle2 wing from North Wing. A great single surface wing without a king post. The rigging and derigging of this wing is a peach – takes just 10 to 15 minutes, something I really like. She flies well too though as I said before perhaps just a tad too much anhedral for my liking. But the end result is a water landing craft with working and practical ability. It does the job well and surprisingly even in choppy water, though as one would expect there are limits. The retractable undercarriage makes for an interesting change to flying microlights and it is great to land on water and then taxi out onto the beach – with ease!
The floats are very stable. I was able to climb out of my seat and walk around from bow to stern (can I use that terminology on an aircraft? ;) without getting my feet wet.

Personally, I miss the lightness of the other trikes but that is the price you pay for carrying floats. The undercarriage is large and there is a certain amount of inertia that one needs to keep in mind when handling the plane. Def no throwing about in the sky like some pilots I know! The plane likes medium turns, any steep turns and the high siding becomes uncomfortable.

Yesterday, Mike and Chris flew to Praslin. They circled the island and landed near the harbor in a protected area. This is not possible without the float capability. Coming back on the 30 mile sea journey the worry that would have been part of a flight like that (Engine out and landing in the sea without floats is not a good thought) suddenly turned into a pleasant adventure, a walk in the park, a simple sight seeing outing. That’s pretty good! While they did that I took Mick (The ships cpt) for some training around the airport. He is doing great and just needs to get more air time.

We ended up having a dry hamburger from the Eden Island restaurant (The food is nothing to write home about!) and hit the bed at around midnight. It was a long day…

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