Avid Catalina

The Avid Catalina is a three place airplane that can take-off of land or water.  It's even better than amphibious floats because this airplane uses tundra tires and can taxi  up on the beach. 

 

Best when viewed at 800 x 600

Plane ready for loading in enclosed trailer.

The Catalina is a kit produced by Avid Aircraft. http://www.avidair.com/ The airplane was introduced in 1986 as the Avid Amphibian, but after many upgrades the model designation was changed to the Catalina in 1992.

This airplane is serial number 147, it was delivered in 1994 and first flew in 1998. It is powered by a Rotax 912 (80 hp) and uses a two blade in-flight mechanical adjustable prop.  It is a GSC hub with Warp Drive blades.  My experience has been this adjustable prop is a big factor for performance off of the water. I also installed the 912 extra kit which is a set of pistons that according to the manufacturer will increase the horsepower to 95.  I must admit their was a difference in the prop settings after the installation.  GCS Systems is in Vernon B.C. (250)549-3772 www.ultralightprops.com/adjustprops.htm and Warp Drive in in Iowa (641) 357-6000.The hub is $1465 and the two blades with nickel leading edges are $360.

Even with the prop my plane cruises at 85 mph and red lines at 90 mph.   As far as take-off and landings it performs very close the factory specs for the 582 powered plane.

 

       

The trailer is made out of fiberglassed reinforced plywood to I attached the sidewalls with fiberglass wraps so there are no external fastners exposed. 

This airplane turned out to be rather heavy.  The empty weight is 795 lbs.  Avid recommends a 1050 lbs. gross weight when flying from water and 1200 lbs.off of land. IMHO and experience the lesser weight off of water is because of the flotation abilities rather than the flying abilities. I have flown off of water at 1280 lbs. with ease, however at this weight the water will come up over the fuselage sponsons when first accelerating for take-off or when coming off of the step after landing. 

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The panel is very basic. I have airspeed, altimeter, card type compass, Westach  2-in-1 Manifold and RPM gage, and another Westach 4-in-1 engine gage. The radio is a MX11 transceiver and a King transponder with altitude encoder, Note the two vernier controls on the panel: the left is for throttle and right is the prop control.

 

The following is a list of upgrades which I believe helps the plane tremendously.

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1. Replace the heavy fiberglass wing sponsons with Full Lotus Float rotationally molded plastic. This saves about 12 lbs. I  installed the new sponsons so the nose of the sponson is inline with the wing leading edge.  This keeps the width to 102" for trailering.

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2.  Installed gas strut to keep the canopy open.

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3.  Replaced the original 5x1" tailwheel with a larger 6x2" tailwheel to help with taxiing up on the beach.

4. Installation of a bilge pump instead of drain holes in hull.

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5. Installed electric jackscrew for the actuation of the landing gear. Originally the gear was operated manually with a bar that protruded up near the center of the bench seat. Now that bar is gone and the gear moves up and down with no effort.

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6. Above is the tailstand I built for the purpose of folding the wings.   Without it the wing sponsons would have to be removed to fold the wings and then the wingtips would drag the ground.  The tailstand eliminates this problem.  It makes for an easy transport to the airport on my tilt flatbed trailer.

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7.  The turtle deck is made of aluminum instead of the factory supplied fiberglass.  The aluminum is lighter, more durable, and looks better in my opinion.

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8.   The last and most important upgrade is the mechanical in-flight adjustable prop.


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Suzuki engine pictures         

Old Pictures       Other Catalina's   

Flying Pictures  Interior Pictures  Video Takeoff  5+MB

Check out http://www.mifyter.com/   for a great open cockpit biplane.

 

08-18-04

Casey Curtis   Ontario, Oregon

       541-889-8051 Home            541-235-6860 Cell

Email address:       chcurtis@storageon-site.com