...Mallards still flying part 2

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...Mallards still flying part 2

Postby Buter » Sun May 11, 2014 3:38 pm

Hi guys

First post here, although I have been in contact with Rajay privately before with regards to the many questions I have regarding Grumman seaplanes. I thought I'd start a new thread instead of resurrecting the one from 2012.

Just for a bit of background info, I'm moving to Key West and will be starting a small seaplane charter operation. Like most of us, I'd imagine, I would really like to use an old Grumman and I am going to make damn sure that I explore all options before I have to settle for anything else (although I'm fully aware that is the most likely outcome).

Having read the topic down the page about Mallards returning to the skies I have to admit to swearing when I read that Mallards were effectively withdrawn from service after the Chalks accident. I have tried using the interwebz to find where this is written and have had no joy. I've also tried finding info about the Mallard Owners Group and just keep getting a diagram of the spar mod.

So here's my question for those of you in the know - if a Mallard has had the spar mod actioned, can it return to part 135 work? The reason ask is that j18/N98BS is for sale and has had the spar mod completed.

Many thanks to you guys who have already deposited a gold mine of information on this forum. You've already made my job much easier.


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Re: ...Mallards still flying part 2

Postby MrWidgeon » Mon May 12, 2014 10:59 am

Hi Buter, first, Welcome Aboard.

Now, as for your wish to use a Mallard in a Part 135 operation (or ANY commercial role) I think you have a small snowball's chance in hell getting that past the FAA.
Having said that I for one would LOVE to see an operator using one down in the Keys again.
I think you'd have a much better chance with a Caravan, Turbine Otter or Goose.
There are a couple operators using Caravans and at least one single engine Turbine Otter, which to me says something (a lot actually) about the demand for seats vs. aircraft size.

As far as I know all US Mallards except 1 piston and the 1 current turbine that I'm aware of are still operating under an AMOC agreement with the FAA and have pretty tight and narrow range of what type of operations they can be involved in.
Personally I think it's the FAA's way of keeping the Mallard OUT of commercial service.
I'm sure you've probably heard the same thing from Rajay, but you're much better off with a Caravan, Turbine Otter or for nostalgia, a Goose.

There is no official Mallard Owners Group per se, it's just a very small group of owners that get together occasionally to socialize, fly and talk about maintaining their airplanes.
It was the owners as a group that came up with a solution to the grounding that finally passed FAA muster.
I know a couple Mallard owners and I'll PM them to see if they want to pass on any thoughts or ideas.
I might be able to get one to talk to you about it, but don't hold your breath.
They're wealthy, busy men that sometimes respond and sometimes don't, so don't expect a quick answer.

In water flying attitude is everything
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Re: ...Mallards still flying part 2

Postby Buter » Mon May 12, 2014 4:29 pm

Hi Bill

Many thanks for the welcome and the reply.

You raise a lot of good points. With regard to aircraft suitable for the job, the Caravan and the Beaver are the two that make the most sense. If it were purely a numbers thing, the Grummans wouldn't even be in the running. I may well be wrong (it's one of my less endearing traits), but I believe most of the planes you speak of are run by the Alaskan company that sends planes down for the winter to do the Ft. Jefferson run during the winter tourist season in the keys. I'm hoping to operate out of the same marina as them, but serve a slightly different market.

I'll be over in the states next month and I'll be going to see the FSDO in Orlando and while I'm there I'll have a chat about J18. I don't want to make life harder for myself than I have to, but I'd be curious to know what objections they would have to operating the aircraft since it has had the corrective maintenance actioned. You and Rajay seem to be the interweb subject experts so I thought you might have a definitive answer as to why the FAA wouldn't want it back in service. Hell, the wings are cracking on the 380, the 787's spent two years catching on fire, the 777's had a catastrophic design flaw in the fuel system, 737's used to roll over and play dead and my company is flying all of them on a daily basis. I digress...

As far as getting a Mallard owner to talk to me, I don't think it would be of any benefit. It all comes down to whether or not the FAA would let me put it into service.

I am aware that the likelihood of succeeding with a Mallard, or Goose, for that matter, is slim and I will most likely end up with a Caravan or other sensible aircraft. But if I were to get going with a nice, shiny new Cessna and watched somebody bring J18 or (god forbid) 7249 back into service, I think it's fair to say the wife would kick me out of the house to stop the crying and swearing.

Anyway... I'll keep y'all posted on anything I manage to find out and keep you updated on my progress.


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Re: ...Mallards still flying part 2

Postby mdwflyer » Mon May 12, 2014 9:26 pm

Could you expand on what the charter operational plans are?

Is operating off land required? If you don't "need" an amphibian, with straight floats, your cost per # will be much lower. If an amphibian is "required", you will have a very hard time beating any grumman product over amphibious float equipped airplane. One of the challenges with any grumman product will be keeping the FAA happy with part traceability.

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Re: ...Mallards still flying part 2

Postby Buter » Tue May 13, 2014 10:18 am

Hi Mark

Without getting into too much detail, it will be a mixture of sightseeing tours (which could be done on straight floats) and point to point charters with at least one point being a water landing (hence the need for an amphib).

Can you expand on your "part traceability" comment? Probably self explanatory but the coffee is losing the battle against the jet lag at the moment!


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