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FAA Approves Wipaire Floats for Cessna Grand Caravans
Wipaire has received FAA approval for the Wipline 8750 floats for the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and Grand Caravan EX. This is the first time Wipaire has achieved certification for floats for the Grand Caravan. The new floats allow operators to fly with a gross weight as high as 9,062 pounds.
The Wipline 8750 floats were first certified last July for the Cessna 208 Caravan and replaced the 8000 floats, which had been in production for about 25 years. The 8000 had a maximum gross weight limit of 8,360 pounds. While the 8750 floats were designed specifically for Caravan models, they are compatible with other airplanes as well because the front struts can attach to two separate locations depending on the length of the fuselage, said Rich Adler, one of the lead engineers at Wipaire.
There is a 117-pound weight penalty with the new 8750 floats versus the 8000s, but new features make the increase worthwhile. The float walkway has been widened by about 3 inches and a non-slip material has been applied to make it easier to move around. There are two storage containers on each float that can carry up to 150 pounds and several spin-off covers that make float inspection quick and simple.
At the front of the float, the angle was increased to improve rough water handling. The maximum demonstrated wave height for the floats is 24 inches, Adler said.
The retractable main gear has also been completely redesigned. The trailing link design makes landings smoother and the actuation system fits into one compartment, reducing the potential for water leakage between compartments.
One Grand Caravan has already been delivered with the 8750 floats and another should be delivered in the next week or two, said Haig Hagopian, vice president of international sales at Wipaire.