From Microlights to 4-Seaters, a 'Conventional,
It started when I passed a subframe mounted on
some amphibious floats. The sign said, "Put your GlaStar on these
floats." Although the frame was actually from an OMF Symphony, I
slowed down to look.
Chip Erwin, redoubtable American expatriate in the Czech
Republic, took me through the new design's features which, he says,
result in a conventional float that "weighs less than it should."
The fact that these floats have also been on Schneider Cup winners
indicates they are pretty good in the drag department, too.
said, "They are lighter than competitors' floats, which means we
had to do a really professional stress analysis and professional
manufacturing, to get them certifiable to FAR Part 23. His 125
employees, and several partner businesses, often share expertise
and come up with the necessary engineering and documentation, while
saving enough money to continue the innovation.
The main gear, for instance, uses 5" wheels. That's not unusual;
but the massive shock mount system (pictured) is. It's enough
to land a 2-place Blanik sailplane. "It's plenty strong," Chip
offered, "and it's already certified. That make it expensive, but
we don't have to worry about it, ever."
the list of components, one sees the same assurances:
Parker-Hannefin pump, Edo-style pump-outs on the large, flat deck
-- these items are universally-available, and time-proven.
There's a really tough rubber bumper out front, too, guarding
all the "good stuff," which includes two spacious compartments
("That one's for fish; this one's for beer," Chip said).
Construction is assuringly conventional, from the hardware to
the spreader bars, to the 6061 T-6 sheet, the MS rivets, zinc
chromate primer, and 3M sealant. Position sensors for the gear are
already built in, so you don't have to get local help engineering
A set of 2100s, like the ones we saw and photographed, cost
under $20,000, including everything needed: the floats, rudders,
mounting kit, spreader bar system, etc. "We can do the technical
certification so much cheaper in the Czech Republic," Chip
The floats are available in North America through Chip's US
distributor, Danny Defelice, in Palm City (FL), at Skyshop.