Seaplane Equipment -
Ramps, Docks, Dolly's etc.

If you have any interesting seaplane related equipment -email us a picture and will show it off!!

I've got a simple ramp in my pond here that works well - the center section (that the airplane is on) is on an angle down into the water and on either side there is about 2 feet wide "dock". On the angled ramp I put with High density polyethylene (white plastic?). I have a hand "boat" style winch on the shore side of the ramp. You taxi up to the ramp and then either tie ropes on the bottom of your front struts or I took a spreader bar from a big set of floats and cut it to the right length to fit in between most floats and the I cut it in half - length ways ( so the cross section looks like a "C") then I welded a eye to the center of it and I slip that whole thing over the spreader bar and hook the winch cable on to the eye in the center of it. this whole setup works pretty good because the airplane gets pulled up the the ramp with winch and when you want to put it back in the water you just let the winch out and the slippery plastic and gravity put the airplane in the water. Plus the little dock on either side lets you have something to walk on and gives you something to tie the wings to.

This another trailer we have - it has large implement tires on it (this is an old picture - the implement tires are quite a bit bigger). It has a 4X8 sheet of plywood on either side that the floats sit on with about a four foot space in between.  It is hinged at the axle - the tongue of the trailer goes right back to the where the axle would go across - it has a pin at the front of the deck so that when you pull the pin the trailer deck tilts basically on the wheels and the back of the trailer touch's the ground.  The 4X8 sheets of plywood have 4X8 sheets of 1/4 inch white plastic - when the trailer is tipped back the airplane with slide of with a little push or with bigger airplane you can tie the tail to some and pull the trailer out from under the airplane. To put the airplane on you tilt the trailer back up to the front of the floats and pull it on with the boat style winch on the front of the trailer. This trailer works great for smaller floatplanes it's a bit of a pain for the heavier ones

Need a Lift?

After a full season of trying to work my Supercub floatplane into the scene at our cottage in Muskoka, I knew that there were a couple of adjustments in the program that needed to be made. I wasn't long figuring out that trying to fly back and forth from Sarnia to the cottage on regular bases was a futile effort. The weather never cooperated and Sarnia is not the best place in the world for seaplane operations. The answer to this problem was to leave the airplane at the cottage. This, however created the second problem., I was not comfortable just leaving the plane tied to the dock for weeks at a time, unattended. The water is deep, the shoreline is rocky and the plane could only be secured to the small floating dock that I have. Leaky floats, bad winds and changing water levels were constantly on my mind when I was at home. The solution was to build a lift to get the plane up out of the water so it could not sink. This also allowed it to be tied down firmly so the wind wouldn't have much affect.. I had seen boat lifts that did basically what I needed but some redesign was necessary to accommodate the width and C of G of the airplane. I studied a couple of different manufactured lifts and added some of my own ideas to come up with a practical design. I fabricated my lift from aluminum square hollow structural tube with adjustable telescoping legs. The bed frame has checkered plate decks for the floats to sit on and two sets of wooden bunks, one set guides the plane on and off and the other cradles my boat so it can be lifted out of the water when the plane is not there.

When the unit was finished it had to be trailered from Sarnia to Muskoka and then it had to be moved across the lake from the boat landing because it was too big to manhandle in the driveway and down the front yard of the cottage. Rather than floating it across the lake, it made more sense to drag it over the ice in the wintertime. Mark Shaw helped me take it up in March and move it across the lake.

We placed it ready for spring breakup. I have been using the lift for two years now and after getting a few small bugs out of the contraption it is amazing. One problem that I had was that wooden bunks floated the top bed-frame so the plane would not float on and off easily, but adding some weight to sink the bed to the right depth solved this. The only things left to do now are to replace the hand-powered winch with an electric one and then build a hanger over the whole shooting match.

Brian Bissell

Post note - I did this little story for our local Copa newsletter in 2003. When I saw Wayne OíSheaís post it came to mind. I am still using the lift without an electric winch and I still donít have a hanger, however I am thinking of hanging it form a floating hanger like Ken Strickerís. Anyone that wants to drop by and see it, I am on St. Noraís Lake just south of Dorset N45 09.24 W 78 50.05

Here's another lift made by Howard Hanford

Aluminum angle frame with wood ramp deck shaped for floats. Two Stainless steel tanks with large hole in bottoms. Air pumps in....water goes out and floats aircraft. Will stay this way for months. To put into the water untie the aircraft and kick open a gate valve to dump the air - thus flooding the tanks and get in while this is going on. Unit sinks and airplane floats back off lift.

Here's a note and some pictures of a lift that Ken Chapple has for his Fleet Canuck:

"I saw some of the other members plane docking systems, so I thought I would show you mine. It is motorized and pulls the cradle from 2ft under the water to 1&1/2ft out of the water in about half a mimute. The top deck is now all steel checker plate rather than wood as you see in the pictures, if anyone would like to see my system drop in and see it any time from May31 to Nov 1st. Iím on Lake Muskoka 6 miles from the Bracebridge airport. At 44 57 45N by 79 26 00W. Please include these on your web site, thanks Ken Chapple"