View topic - canoes on airplane pontoons

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PostPosted: June 11th, 2020, 7:17 pm 
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I spoke to a float plane operator today who told me new Transport Canada rules prohibit operators from carrying more than one canoe on the pontoons of both Beavers and Otters. So no more flights with two canoes? Is this true, or was this guy smoking something??

P.S. If you've paddled the Mouchalagane River before, please see my questions about that route in this current post: https://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewto ... 15&t=48042


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PostPosted: June 11th, 2020, 9:03 pm 
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This has been true for a Beaver for quite a long time (nested canoes have been a "maybe" from some operators). I don't know if this is a new thing for the Otter, 5 years ago a canoe on each pontoon was allowed (incl. nested).

Which company were you talking to? I've been wondering who would be serving that part of Labrador/QC following the closure of Air Saguenay.

Keep in mind that the "exemption" certification for exterior loads has to be obtained for each aircraft and pilot as well from what I understand. Some operators won't spend the money needed for the certification.

Air Saguenay in QC, Bluewater in MB would both do nested (both planes) or two pontoons (Otter) but Air Cochrane in ON won't do either.

The only person (other than Coulombe & Wallace) I know who has definitely done the river is Len Fromzel (http://www.fromzel.org). My impression is that it's a serious class 3/4 river that is pretty short given the cost.

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PostPosted: June 11th, 2020, 10:34 pm 
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I have done quite a number of fly-in trips, and in my experience, the one tie-down rule has always been in place.

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PostPosted: June 11th, 2020, 11:52 pm 
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You will not find a Transport Canada rule about 1 canoe, 2 canoes, or nested canoes. What you will find is a regulation that says, external loads can only be carried if the aircraft has a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) or Limited Supplemental Type Certificate (LTSC) authorizing it. It was once the case that external loads could be carried based on "exemptions" to the regulations, but that process (which resulted in confusion every few years as the requirements to get an exemption changed) no longer exists.

There is nothing preventing an operator from, for example, applying for an STC to fly nested canoes on a Beaver, or two canoes (one on each side) for an Otter. But the process is neither short nor inexpensive. Unless an operator does an awful lot of canoe flying, it's probably not worth their time. This blog post by Dave Oleson offers background on the issue and the perspective of a small operator on the costs involved in choosing (or not) to go through the certification process.

https://bushedpilotblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/

There are some odd situations around because of these rules. For example, in Yellowknife last summer, Air Tindi could fly 2 nested canoes on their Caravan. But the maximum permitted length of the nested boats was 205 inches (17 feet). If you had an 18 foot boat, Ahmic Air could tie it on their Beaver: but they couldn't nest another boat inside it.

When the STC requirement came in, NWAL in Ft. Smith spent quite a bit of time and money (the owner told me $30,000) to get external load certification for their Cessna 185. At the time, it was worth it because Alex Hall was still operating Canoe Arctic out of Smith, and they were guaranteed a return on their investment. A couple of years later however, Transport Canada retroactively amended the STC and significantly reduced the MTOW (maximum weight) that could be carried with an external load. So their 185 can still carry an external load: but when I was last there in 2019, it required 2 trips to transport me - one with the canoe, and then another with me and my gear.

In summary, I guess the only answer is to call the air service operator in the area that interests you and ask what they can offer. I fondly remember the $1.25/ mile Beaver and the $1.50/ mile Otter charters, stuff it in, tie it on, off we go. But those days are gone. And it's not all bad: I also remember a paddling acquaintance who died in a crash in Quebec when a pilot thought he could take off with 6000 pounds in a Beaver.

jmc


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PostPosted: June 12th, 2020, 1:03 am 
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It's really something you need to speak with the operator about. They're not really concerned about the external load (beyond regulatory requirements), but also about the total weight - with fly-in operators the usual Big Question is "how much beer can we bring?"; most of the operators you'll talk to will be fly-in fishing operators who make gas and smoke money by flying canoes.

Caveat: I'm training as a pilot and will fly bush for a good number of years. I intend to live.

Typically speaking, a beaver can carry one canoe, and a (non-twin, DHC-3) Otter can carry two. But then again, these planes fly 16 foot, deep V fishing boats all the time... it's really a matter of weight, balance, and pilot experience. But they know neither the weight of your gear nor the experience of the pilot who will be available on that day, so it's hard for them to commit. And after all that, they all make "exceptions", if you're willing to accommodate a safe and profitable flight, and especially if you're flexible by a day or so (and you'll have to be, if you're flying...).

In contrast to jmc's comment, I would say an Otter will cost you twice what a Beaver will - give or take. I was recently quoted $888 to fly from Armstrong to Allanwater Bridge in a Beaver, or $1500 in an DHC-3 Otter, it's 80km.

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PostPosted: June 12th, 2020, 8:39 am 
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Thanks all for this information. Little did I know!


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PostPosted: June 12th, 2020, 8:40 am 
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When I flew with Hearst air in 2015 they flew 2 nested canoes on one float, on a beaver. I have no clue what the regulations are, but I think this is standard for that outfitter when shuttling canoes from the bay area back to Hawley lake.


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PostPosted: June 12th, 2020, 2:19 pm 
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Because of uncertainties like this, along with logistics and cost considerations, I long ago opted for the foldable option. I started with the Ally 18' canoe. It served its purpose well for many years, but was stolen. We now have a 17' Pakcanoe and love it. Three paddlers, canoe, gear & food for a week in the cabin of a 206, no problem. Plus you can check it or ship it ahead when flying scheduled airlines. Yeah it was pricey compared to ABS, but you don't have to fly too many miles in cheaper planes with more paddlers before you've made up the cost difference. It's not for everyone, but our Pakcanoe is now our primary canoe. We keep it assembled, hung from the ceiling in the garage. We just throw it on the roof rack for local trips.


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