Category | News and Articles

Tips for the Amphib Pilot

Not so long ago, most seaplanes were straight float airplanes. The words “straight floats” have evolved as the result of amphibious float airplanes dominating the market. Now our descriptive language has changed to distinguish “amphibs” from “straight floats”. Adding the freedom of landing on runways and water minimizes the pilot’s requirement to plan for the future in terms of places to land and places to get fuel. It also adds the requirement for a complete understanding of the float systems and a complete appreciation for the potential for disaster. At the surface, the advantages are clear and the operation seems simple. Scratch the surface and we find a large number of pilots who have landed their amphibian airplane with the landing gear in the wrong position for the surface intended. As we review these accidents, a trend emerges. We find no new reasons for these accidents. Different people are making the same mistakes over and over again. Almost every case involves pilot error. If we realize that the human being is the weakest link in this system, we know where to go to work on the problem.

Therefore, we will proceed by:

  • Identifying the problem.
  • Understanding the problem.
  • Fixing the problem.

Identifying the Problem
Landing on a runway with the landing gear up usually results in little more than damage to the float bottom protected strip. The problems could be worse depending on the quality of the landing but, in most cases, not fatal. Conversely, landing in the water with the landing gear in the down position almost always results in an overturned airplane. Approximately 50% of these accidents are fatal with aircraft damage ranging from totally destroyed to no damage other than damage to avionics due to the insult of water.

Understanding the Problem
Most of the late model float systems come with audio warnings exclaiming landing gear position prior to landing. This system is triggered by airspeed and is adjustable by a qualified maintenance technician. This system should be used as an added safety feature but should not be used to replace good operating practice. In simple terms: DO NOT USE THE GEAR ADVISORY SYSTEM AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR CHECK PROCEDURES.

Understanding the Problem Continued–
Most of the accidents involving landing gear position problems are caused by pilot error. Most involve something that takes the pilot away from standard procedures such as:
Any distraction.
Pulled circuit breakers.
Focusing on a challenging or new landing area.
Communicating with passengers.
Some perceived or unrelated mechanical problem.
Preoccupation with weather or wind.

Fixing the Problem
During this training, your instructor will place emphasis on pre-landing check procedures. Specifically, a gear check should be accomplished 3 times prior to landing. TRIPLE-CHECK REDUNDANCY IS ESSENTIAL. The last check should be used on final approach and includes a comparison with the gear position lights and the intended landing area.
Example: “Blue lights, blue water.”
“Green lights, green grass.”

Your instructor will ask for verbal expression from you confirming these checks are, not only done, but called out loud as well. Your instructor will be kindly relentless concerning this subject. We want you to have a safe and successful experience with your floatplane. We will expect you to begin and end with these three things in mind:

Affective Domain- The pilot must first understand and believe the potential for a landing with the gear in the wrong position is a PILOT PROBLEM.

Cognitive Domain- The pilot must have a complete understanding of the landing gear systems.

Psychomotor Domain- The pilot must be able to fly the airplane skillfully while using landing gear check procedures as a habit.



Charlie Wiplinger Named CEO of Wipaire

  • Charlie Wiplinger Named CEO effective January 1, 2020
  • Bob Wiplinger announces semi-retirement and becomes Chairman, effective January 1, 2020

South St. Paul, Minnesota, January 2020 – Wipaire announces Bob “Wip” Wiplinger has entered semi-retirement and his son, Charlie Wiplinger, is taking the helm as CEO. Bob served as President since 1979 when he purchased the company from his father and founder, Ben Wiplinger. He will continue to serve as Chairman of the company. Charlie has held the title of President since 2011 and will now be President & CEO.

“My son represents the third generation of leadership. He’s been here his whole life and I know the company will continue to grow under his guidance. But, don’t worry, I’ll still be here, focusing on engineering and offering advice to the next generation, whenever somebody with gray hair can be helpful.” said a smiling Bob Wiplinger.

Charlie’s first role at Wipaire began in Line Service at the age of 16. After college graduation in 2003, he worked as an engineer until assuming the role of Vice President of Services which he held until becoming President in 2011.

Wipaire Partners with SPA for Lifetime Membership Benefits

Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 22, 2019– Wipaire announces partnership with Seaplane Pilots Association [SPA] to increase support of pro-seaplane initiatives through membership. “Beginning July 22, 2019, all new owners of Wipline floats will receive complimentary lifetime membership with Seaplane Pilots Association. This increases awareness and participation for our customers on the many benefits of joining SPA” said Chuck Wiplinger, third generation President of family owned Wipaire, Inc.

“SPA serves as the resource for seaplane pilot education which is helpful for new float owners. Through lifetime membership, they’ll receive discounts on insurance, access to safety seminars and be able to enjoy our events and splash-ins” said Steven McCaughey, Executive Director of SPA. “Our lifetime members provide support critical to our advocacy. This includes our efforts to maintain open waterways and work with government entities to create pro-seaplane legislation. Partnering with Wipaire for lifetime membership supports the mission of SPA: Protecting and Promoting Water Flying. We truly appreciate this exclusive benefit being included with the purchase of new Wipline floats.”

Garmin G1000 Transformation in King Air

Shortly after Garmin announced the availability of their G1000 STC for the King Air 300, Wipaire completed our first G1000 retrofit in a 300-series King Air. This is more than a retrofit installation – it is truly a transformation. The G1000 integrates all primary flight, navigation, and engine instrumentation on large format, high-definition LCD displays. The G1000 suite includes two 10.4 inch primary flight displays (PFD) flanking an expansive 15-inch multifunction display (MFD). The transformation also replaces the aging autopilot with a Garmin GFC-700 fully digital, dual channel, three axis Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS). Behind the scenes, the G1000 is fed by dual WAAS GPS receivers, dual digital Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) and dual digital RVSM-capable Air Data Computers (ADC). No more spinning-mass gyro’s means more reliability and reduced maintenance costs, not to mention a tremendous weight savings.

Besides the basic system, the King Air G1000 STC also includes a Garmin GWX-68 digital radar, a GDL-69A XM weather data link (with XM radio), Class B TAWS and a flight management system controller as standard equipment. Our installation also incorporated a Garmin GTS-820 Traffic Advisory System, Synthetic Vision Technology, extended squitter Mode S transponders and a cabin display system. The transponders already comply with the upcoming ADS-B out mandate. The new instrument panel makes the G1000 look like it was always meant to be there. For our installation, all of the backlit switch and circuit breaker panels were removed and refurbished making the cockpit look like it just came off the assembly line.

Wipaire is proud to be a King Air Preferred G1000 Installation Distributor and has been a top Garmin installation and service center for many years, having received the Garmin “Leading Edge” award in 2005 and 2006, the “Gold” award in 2008, and the “Silver” award in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The “Gold” award recognizes dealers in the top 10% worldwide, while the “Silver” award acknowledges dealers in the top 15% worldwide (Garmin has not yet announced the awards for 2012.). With experienced mechanics providing quality aircraft and engine maintenance services, coupled with world-class avionics, paint and interior capabilities, Wipaire can make your King Air look, feel, and perform better than new.

With Record Q1 Sales, Fire Boss Makes Australian Debut at Avalon Airshow

South St. Paul, Minnesota, February 26, 2019 – For the first time, the Fire Boss will be on display in Australia at the Avalon Airshow. “In the middle of a record quarter of sales within Australia, we are excited to exhibit at the Avalon Airshow” said Stephen Johnson, Global Director of Sales, “This is a show of support to our customers and an opportunity to promote the capabilities and successes of the Fire Boss. This season, Fire Boss operators have flown hundreds of hours fighting fires throughout Australia. Reinforcing the capabilities of the product, a sales record of three new Fire Boss have been confirmed sold to operators in Australia. This positions them to support fire suppression efforts across the Pacific Rim.”

Built from an Air Tractor 802F, the Fire Boss is an initial attack firefighting aircraft with scooping capability. Setting it apart from larger and more expensive alternatives, this aircraft can scoop water from nearby lakes and rivers. It also has proven dispatch reliability, increasing revenue for operators while saving lives and property. The Fire Boss on display at Booth #EW1 at Avalon Airshow is owned by Kennedy Air, based in New South Wales.

Interior Care Tips

Whether your interior is brand-new or has been serving you for years, it’s always a good time to give your aircraft interior a little TLC. Will Perez, Wipaire’s interiors manager, has the following tips:
  1. Leather components should be conditioned at least every six months. Leather can dry out over time, and conditioning keeps your leather soft and supple for years. Additionally, if your aircraft is stored outside, sun shades can help prevent drying due to sun exposure.
  2. Do not spot clean leather. This can lead to color differences between the spot-cleaned area and the rest of the leather.
  3. Plastic panels should be cleaned with a soft cloth material and a mild detergent at least once a month.
  4. Fabric materials should be vacuumed regularly. This includes sidewalls, drapes and seats.
  5. Carpet should be vacuumed regularly. It’s best not to attempt to wet clean carpets yourself. When it’s time to really get them clean it’s best to trust the professionals who will ensure that the flame retardant properties of the carpet aren’t damaged during cleaning.
As for products, there is a wide variety available, but look for gentle cleaners and aviation-specific products. One brand with a wide variety of aviation products is Celeste, which offers high-quality non-toxic, non-corrosive products for every use you can imagine. Happy flying!