Lanier Mariner Water Flying
November 25, 2006
Probably the last water based flight of the season. First flight with the new Tower .46, but I’m still struggling with engine outs and mixture problems. I may want to replace the fuel tank to see if that makes a difference. This aircraft is still bad luck, but still in one piece and a lot of fun when it’s all working!
Photos from the day:
This is what happens when your engine dies on you in flight …
The following 3 images are all from the same picture.
April 15, 2005
First flight of the season: I took off, but the engine started to lean out too much. It was surging and almost quiting. I landed immediately, richened the mixture a bit, took off, and it was roaring perfectly. I did a couple passes, a couple aerobatic tricks, and then the engine quit abrubtly. I dead sticked it in towards the shore, it carried long when it got into the sheltered area out of the wind, it touched down and skimmed on step much longer than I expected, and then settled in and decelerated to a slow drift about 2 feet short of the shore. (whew!)
Upon inspection on shore, I discovered the entire needle valve assembly was shed in flight and is now at the bottom of the lake. (grrrr.) This grounded me the rest of the beautiful weekend. (double grrrr.)
I am now working on getting a replacement part or replacement engine, which ever comes first.
September 17, 2004
I took Friday off work, loaded up the car with my Mariner and with Hannah, and went up to my parent’s place to fly.
Here we are taxiing out for the first flight. It was a bit of a breezy day. Winds were probably about 15mph with a bit higher gusts. But the Mariner seemed to handle the winds just fine. My parents live on the south end of the lake and the wind was from the south, so thankfully we were a bit sheltered and I didn’t have to deal with white caps breaking over the top of the airplane.
This is the take off run. The Mariner 40 gets out of the water quickly powered by a Magnum Pro 45.
Here is a variety of in-flight shots. They are not particularly compelling, but hey, it flies. 🙂 One thing I discovered that is fun to do is spins. The Mariner has enough elevator authority that you can pull it into a stall/spin at just about any speed or orientation. In full speed level flight, full up elevator will put you into a “horizontal” spin. You continue to travel horizontally and forward, but you are in a spin. It almost looks like a standard roll, but is caused by one wing generating a lot less lift than the other.
Even more fun is to pull the aircraft into a vertical climb at full throttle, then hit full up elevator and full aileron and full rudder simultaneously. This also puts the plane into an aggravated spin, except you are still going straight up as you are spinning! As you decellerate, the spin get’s flater, but that big engine is still pulling and you can almost (but not quite) hang on the prop. It’s quite impressive at the apex of the manuever when you are basically tumbling/spinning/hanging on the prop all at the same time.
Here I am bringing her in for a landing:
Landed. Touch down and transition from on-step to slow taxi is really cool with a seaplane, as is transition to step and take off.
Taxiing out for the next flight:
Turning into the wind:
Lining her up:
And here we go. Notice we are up on step and about ready to lift off:
IMG_1995 Lifting off:
One last water taxi shot:
July 9 – 10, 2004
WARNING: See my maintenance log note on this date about the wing hold down bolts stripping out! Important story!
Ok, with that issue resolved, I was finally ready to take my Mariner 40 skyward! There wasn’t a breath of wind … perfect maiden test flight conditions.
Well … almost, I started the engine, ran it up, was satisfied it would go, placed the aircraft in the water, taxied for a minute so that I could at least say I played for a while if the take off went badly.
So, ready to try my first water take off … I gunned the throttle and the engine immediately quit. !$#@$!
After some fiddling around on shore, I determined I had a bad glow plug. Luckily I had a spare, so I installed that and was able to proceed.
So, now a bit more cautious, I started to slowly add throttle…
… but I noticed that just above idle taxi speeds the engine started to eat spray so I switched to the gun and go approach. That worked well and I was airborn very quickly.
Just so you know, this plane is slightly weird because the engine is mounted on a pod/pylon above the wing. Thus, full throttle causes the aircraft to want to pitch down … which isn’t usually the direction you want to go when you cram full throttle. So, until I got used to this and got the aircraft trimmed out in the pitch direction, I was kind of up and down a lot and a bit shakey in the pitch dimension.
Fortunately it flew off the building board close to perfectly in trim for ailerons/rudder so I only had a squirrelly pitch problem to worry about.
Other than that (and once I got a handle on the pitch behavior) it was incredibly smooth and stable in the still late evening air … beautiful to watch and a joy to fly. Take offs were easy and fairly short with a Magnum .45. Touching down on the water was gorgeous, and watching it come down off step and sink into the water and resume a slow/idle taxi was *really* cool. Seaplane flying is the greatest thing ever!
I flew a couple flights again this morning in slightly windier conditions. I observed that once I had the aircraft trimmed up reasonably well in pitch, the pitch changes due to throttle changes became much less noticable. The pylon thrustline is designed with just about the right amount of down thrust (aka up pull) to compensate for the asymetric thrust. I found that at a single trim point, the plane flew great at full throttle and then when I cut the throttle to idle for approach, slowed right down and had almost the perfect approach pitch/speed … they must have worked on the thrust lines a bit before they kitted the plane. 🙂
The ARF is on the pricey side, but I’m really happy with it, and *really* happy with how it flies.
Oh, one other story to relate … I wouldn’t try this near the city where I live, but since I was flying way out in the boonies and have never seen an aircraft near this lake, and the weather conditions were crap for full scale flying anyway (low clouds due to a dense fog layer starting to break up with the mid-morning sun.) Anyway, I noticed I seemed kind of close to one of the low broken fog/cloud chunks a couple hundred feet AGL (or should I say ALL, above lake level) so I decided to keep climbing and aim for it. After a bit of climbing my plane started to get a bit “fuzzy” and suddenly disappeared entirely … right into the cloud. I cut the throttle expecting to pop right out again, but I didn’t. It turns out I flew in from the side, not the bottom, hard to tell from the ground perspective, and I only say that because my plane didn’t just pop right back out. So with the throttle idled I put it in a tight spiral … and waited … and waited … still no plane … finally, after about an eternity and a half, it popped out, happy as could be … I recovered from the spiral and resumed normal flying …
So let me just say that sea plane flying is a blast. The Mariner 40 is a great option … looks awsome, flies awsome, pretty good quality arf. I ran into a couple issues with it as noted above, but nothing insurmountable.
If I thought there was a small chance my wife wouldn’t shoot me, I’d quit my day job and go into flying seaplanes full time!
And finally one in flight movie (low quality):
May 19, 2004
Happy Birthday to me! Don’t ask how old. I feel the same as I did yesterday. 🙂 It’s time to start looking for a nice day (which can sometimes be hard to find in Minnesota.) I have to factor in a drive to a lake someplace so I don’t know when this will happen … I will update this page after I fly.