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Tigerfish Aviation - retractable pontoons
by IKE 01-Mar-2010 00:44

Tigerfish Aviation is about to introduce a groundbreaking innovation for planes operating from water. It is called Retractable Amphibious Pontoon Technology (RAPT) and it consists of two articulated floaters that can be retracted in a streamlined form in the air. The RAPT has many advantages over conventional planes with floaters or even to bespoke designed hydroplanes. It has been tested in the scale model (1:6 Cessna Caravan) in the photo above and performed very well.---

The retractable pontoons decrease the drag penalty of conventional fixed floats. Tigerfish claims 24% less drag that equates to up to 20% fuel savings, increased speed, less emitions and cost. It can also be combined with wheeled landing gear as you can see in the sketches above.

There are also other advantages like visibility and the possibility of modifying a variety of existing aircraft to hydroplanes without the need of a specially designed hydroplane. Like conventional fixed floats, RAPT with its high waterline clearance shields the engines from water vapor or droplets thus reducing maintenance. Below there are some sketches from known aircraft that may be converted to use Tigerfish's concept.

The RAPT floats will probably be heavier than fixed floats and a 'flying boat' plane (ex Bombardier 415, Beriev Be-200 etc) may ultimately be more efficient but the potential seems great. If Tigerfish Av. can carry through the certification and provide a reliable product the market should respond.

You can see the concept better in this promotional video:

The Tigerfish website: http://www.tigerfishaviation.net

You can find additional info in Graham Worwick's blog post where he mentions the joint venture with Quasar Aerospace Industries and the spiritual ancestor of Tigerfish, the Blackburn B20.

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