Lake Amphibian Operational Tips – Part 10/10
Written by John Staber: This is the Skimmer on land. Note that the step is the lowest part and how long the wing floats are. Note also that the engine is directly over the step, the fattest part of the wing, and the unseen fuel tank. Picture in your mind the amount of nose down thrust that the propeller can produce.
Here she is on the water idling in displacement. The floats skim lightly on the surface making it extremely stable, and it is easy to paddle from the pilot’s seat. You can just see the water rudder extended from the bottom of the rudder.
This is what it looks like getting on the step. Full power and up elevator have been applied, the nose gear doors are clear of the water, and the pilot is about to lower the nose to a more level, step attitude.
Here we are on the step at reduced power. Note how much of the hull is in the water and where the spray originates from. The floats are no longer in contact with the water. This is an example of the hull supporting the weight of the amphibian, rather than the wings supporting the weight as you will see later on.
In the air. Notice anything familiar. The amphibian is in the same attitude as on the ground and in the water. In this particular photo the power was reduced for photo taking. She rides a bit more nose down in cruise. Very obvious are the wing fillets designed to keep the flow of air from being sucked from under the wing through the propeller arc during high power and high angle of attack.
And last we have a photo at the exact moment of landing. Same attitude. Note how little hull is in the water meaning that the weight of the amphibian is mostly on the wings. A strange phenomenon is pictured here. The water spray is being adhered to the bottom of the aft hull and then waterfalls down. This also shows in another photo and it makes it look like it is skipping over small waves. Not the case. This photo also shows the 14 feet of slotted flap which gives us good slow speed characteristics and the correct attitude for water landings. Twenty degrees for all takeoffs and landings.
Thus ended my little treatise on the Lake Amphibian. I hope I have imparted to you some idea of what the Lake Amphibian is all about. The aircraft pictured above is my C-1 Skimmer, #1, N6595K. The photos were taken by my long-time friend George Bauer from his Lake Renegade. Skimmer One has been highly modified with a 160HP engine, a metal Hartzell propeller, and wing extension like the LA-4. She flies like a dream, albeit a noisy dream.
Text and pictures courtesy and copyright of John Staber, Owner of Colonial Skimmer SN #1; John has flown and worked on Colonial Skimmers since 1964 and has accumulated more than 5000 hours in all different makes and models. In 2011 he published a book on the restoration of N6595K which can be purchased on his website. If you are interested to learn more about Skimmers and Lake Amphibian Aircraft, there will be one new article per week, dealing with a new topic.