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Floats question

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  • Floats question

    I recently got a plane with floats that don't have any type of coating or plastic but are painted . I do have the Flyzone Beaver and the floats have some plastic molded into for the bottoms . My question is this, is there some type of wax , finish or coating I can put on the bottoms for a slicker ride ?

    Bryan
    But Crashing is Landing

  • #2
    Hi Bryan. If they are painted like you said, you may want to try a synthetic wax (spray is extra easy) that is typically used for car paint detailing. Synthetic wax sets fast, is usually easy to wipe the residue off after it sets (as long as itís properly applied and in the correct conditions), last quite a long time in the elements, and provides a great slick surface. I use synthetic wax on my fiberglass painted models to make them slick, easy to clean, and protect the finish from the suns UV rays. Wax works well on gloss vinyl as well, as I used to wax my gloss vinyl wraps on cars.

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    • #3
      Just cover the bottom of the floats with clear packing tape.

      It will help them slide on gras and protect them a bit from wear. You can easily replace the tape. (though it will take the paint off when you peel the old tape)

      White is the recommended color for the bottom of floats because you can more easily watch the distance between your float and the reflection in the water to help judge when to flair.
      FF gliders and rubber power since 1966, CL 1970-1990, RC since 1975.

      current planes from 1/2 oz to 22 lbs

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      • #4
        I used to wax my clear coated planes. Really makes them glossy. The down side is wax repels water base paint, vinyl pin striping and foam filler when repairs are necessary. It can be cleaned off with naptha but it's just an extra step and if you miss a spot you've got problems. I have so many planes it's hard to remember which ones I waxed. Pretty as it makes them, I don't do it anymore. Waxing the bottom of your floats seems like a good idea, though. Doc

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        • #5
          I also have the FlyZone Beaver. But I had never thought about waxing the floats. I do wonder if some type of snow ski wax may work. Your idea is interesting!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by corsair View Post
            I also have the FlyZone Beaver. But I had never thought about waxing the floats. I do wonder if some type of snow ski wax may work. Your idea is interesting!
            Happy to help. I should get one of those float planes some day, as it looks like a blast.

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            • #7
              Ask any sailboat racer and they will tell you that waxing the hull is counterproductive. Best roughness for a hull is appx 120 grit sandpaper applied to gel coat.

              You won't gain anything by waxing and could cause the floats to require a longer run to get on plane.

              The packing tape trick is actually smoother than you want, but the gain on foam floats is protection vs dings when you hit little sticks and stuff in the water or as you beach the model. The dings would be a much bigger negative.

              We have such high power:weight that most of our float planes are capable of just jumping out of the water with virtually no takeoff run if there's a modest headwind. You don't want extra hull drag when landing though.
              FF gliders and rubber power since 1966, CL 1970-1990, RC since 1975.

              current planes from 1/2 oz to 22 lbs

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              • #8
                Sometimes things donít function in the way they may appear they would. For example, a smooth, clean, and waxed (different than the wax used on a surfboard for example which isnít slick) painted surface of a car can be beneficial for better gas mileage due to the decreased drag. On the flip side, take a golf ball, and the dimples appear they would inhibit airflow and cause drag, when they actually significantly improve aerodynamics by decreasing drag to help carry the ball to a further distance. Another not so obvious example is the aerodynamics of a truck bed with the bed door (tailgate) open versus closed. It appears that an open tailgate would allow the air to flown through and out of the bed easier, while the tailgate closed would act as a barrier or speed brake. In the articles I read, the bed door closed provided noticeably better aerodynamics over the truck and truck bed.

                So, it could be possible that a slick surface (such as after use of a dried synthetic car wax) doesnít actually provide less resistance/friction in water as it does in air like on a smooth and clean painted vehicle or on an airplane surface. Iíll read more about it for fun. Those are always interesting topics.

                It would be fun to test takeoff and landing distance with and without waxing the floats on an RC plane (as long as the wax used is a quality synthetic wax that dries clear and glass-like to a slick nature).

                Edit: Yep, just reading a little about a rough versus smooth surface in water, it does appear that air and water react differently in regards to aerodynamics and maximizing performance. Surfaces that are in the water seem to benefit from a rougher surface such as from sanding, but evidently itís recommended to sand in ways other than front to back. Some recommend a cross hatch type of pattern of sanding for good results.

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                • #9
                  I used to race sailboats. I had forgotten about the Soft Scrub trick below the water line. The microscopic scratches collect water molecules which act as little ball bearings. In the world of sailboat racing, 1/10 of a second counts. Wax causes water resistance, which actually slows the hull. I'm not sure how one would do it scientifically, but it might be fun to try it on floats and compare between nothing, waxed, and scoured. Doc

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                  • #10
                    It could be done in one of the test tanks they use for analyzing boat designs. (where they did the testing to discover the best way to make racing sailboats go faster)

                    all it takes is money.

                    Or you can accept the test data developed for the sailboats.
                    FF gliders and rubber power since 1966, CL 1970-1990, RC since 1975.

                    current planes from 1/2 oz to 22 lbs

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