AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

What are Float Kits?

Also called pontoons, float kits are pieces of equipment that are added to particular wheeled aircraft to convert them to seaplanes. When implemented, pontoons hold an aircraft above sea level so that it floats on top of the water, making them especially helpful when flying in remote destinations surrounding beaches, lakes, marshes, and other wetlands.

Many general aviation aircraft can be converted to seaplanes with the help of modern float kits, which are popular add-ons for aircraft like the Cessna 185, Cessna 180, and Aviat Husky. However, it should be noted that many specialized seaplanes exist which already incorporate landing gear, in addition to floats, to make them functional on both land and water.

Float Kit Types

There are two different float types designed for aircraft: amphibious and straight floats. The former have retractable Landing Gear attached to them, which permits planes to land on water and on runways. On the other hand, straight floats permit the plane to land on water only. Regardless of the type decided upon, float kits are useful to a niche of people, but are not used as commonly as they were during WWI and WWII. In the present, float kits are often used by those traveling to remote islands without a proper runway, and they are made of aluminum and other rust-resistant materials.

How Float Kits Work

Float kits are designed in the form of inflatable cylinders which can be installed under the main body of small planes, and upon their application, each float must be watertight in order to avoid sinking the vessel. To successfully mitigate water entry, reinforced layers are used to block any entrance of moisture.

What Are Float Kits Built Of?

The backbone seam, also called the chine, is located on each side of the hull or pontoon, and it serves as a separator between the sides and bottom of the float kit. Moreover, it pushes water away from the surface of the float kit so that the plane can float more efficiently. By offering stability to the seaplane floating on the water, the chine can help keep the seaplane above water by lifting it up while also traveling forward.

Another part of a float kit is the keel, which acts as a support to the bottom of the kit. This slit-like mechanism is located at the center of the bottom portion of the float kit, spanning from the front to the middle of the structure. Its primary purpose is to help the plane float in a level and balanced manner by offering resistance against any sideways motion to keep the plane on a straight course. The skeg serves as an extension of the keel at the bottom of the float kit that ensures the aircraft does not tip backward.

Next, the water rudder is a device connected to the stern of the float kit. This component is built with rudder pedals that enable the pilot to control the plane and steer it accurately. Finally, the step is located between the keel and skeg, and it alters the shape of the keel so that at its end, the shape and angle of the step move upwards. This angle keeps the plane from flipping over backward when the vehicle increases in speed and the nose of the plane begins to rise up. Instead, the float kits keep the plane floating like a ship on water.

Where to Find Float Kit Parts and More

Those interested in operating their aircraft on water will need to procure a float kit of the highest caliber. At Fastener Orbit, we proudly offer an expansive inventory of more than 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find components that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we can trust. Moreover, many of these parts are subject to rigorous quality assurance measures to guarantee their fit, form, and function prior to shipment. As a part of our strict NO CHINA SOURCING policy, we ship all parts alongside their qualifying certifications and manufacturing trace documentation. To begin the procurement process with a strategic sourcing partner you can trust, be sure to choose Fastener Orbit.


December 2, 2022

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