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Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ

 

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Dan0321  (D License)

Dec 25, 2012, 10:53 PM
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Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ Can't Post

I'm in the preliminary stages of planning a small cessna dropzone primarily catering to tandems. The proposed dz field elevation is 5700' , average summer high temperature of 85 degrees. I would like to run 2 tandems to a minimum of 9000' AGL, ideally I would like to get to 10500' AGL (16200 MSL). Any lower and I feel like I would be cheating the students. I would also want to be able attain 35 to 40 minute turns. I understand that a stock 182 would have zero chance of attaining this altitude in a timely manner, if at all.

I'm looking at keeping my costs down, so a turbine 206 is out of the question. I prefer to avoid a turbo 182 if at all possible. I've heard about reliability issues with them, and upkeep seems to be much more expensive. If I'm wrong about this please let me know.

I prefer to go with a straight tail 182 with either a 275, 285 or 300 hp conversion. In your experience, would this be adequate for my performance criteria? What specific airframe upgrades would improve the climb rate? I've heard mixed reviews about the different STOL kits. The runway is 7000ft long, so takeoff performance isn't as important as climb rate.

I'm sure I'll have plenty of other questions as I continue planning, and thanks for the help.


adamUK  (C 104423)

Dec 26, 2012, 2:31 AM
Post #2 of 60 (5494 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Couldn't you look at leasing a plane for a season? Tubines are much more expensive but you'll get the altitude you want and much more quickly. It depends on how many loads you're planning to turn - if you can drum up a lot of customers then that'll pay for the turbine. The DZ I jump at got a turbine a year ago after getting rid of the Gippsland Airvan and has just broken all its records for jumps done in 25 years operation.

Best wishes and the very best of luck.

Adam.


galispo  (B License)

Dec 26, 2012, 4:24 AM
Post #3 of 60 (5467 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

At the DZ I jumped for years (2000ft elevation) they used to have a 182 with a IO-470 (260hp). I don't remember the climb rate precisely, but It climbed ok up to 10k AGL. After that it was a real journey of patience and long sleeps up to 12k AGL Frown
With 5 jumpers onboard it was a solid 45 minute climb on a hot day (around 83 degrees). The pilot was also a glider instructor, so he managed to take advantage of some thermals during the climb, which helped a lot.

Things got much better with a C180 with a 285hp engine. The 180 has a narrower body and with much less drag than the 182, climb rates improved a lot. The down side is that the C180 is really uncomfortable for tandems and students with big rigs. And in my very personal opinion, you need a better pilot than you usually need for a 182. Not to mention the constant phone calls from local people annoyed by the noise (to me, music) of that huge double-blade propeller they put on that engine.

With your DZ elevation and average temperature, I'd say a 182 even with a 300hp conversion with a tri-blade prop you're gonna have extremely long flights to 10k AGL burning a lot of avgas, and on a hot summer day is gonna be really hard to get there. But I'm not a pilot. I suggest you talk to a C182 pilot - not owner, pilot.

Good luck!


rmarshall234  (D 18793)

Dec 26, 2012, 5:23 AM
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Not really what you asked.....but given those MSL altitudes, you'll be running up against the regs and practicality of providing onboard oxygen as well. If the engine is having trouble 'breathing' up there, so will the folks.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Dec 26, 2012, 5:26 AM
Post #5 of 60 (5423 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
I would like to run 2 tandems to a minimum of 9000' AGL, ideally I would like to get to 10500' AGL (16200 MSL). Any lower and I feel like I would be cheating the students. I would also want to be able attain 35 to 40 minute turns

First off, tandem students generally have no concept of altitude. They know what it is, but I've heard students land from a tandem at 14.5k AGL and comment that 'it seemed like it was over so fast', and students come down from a 9k jump (under an overcast layer) and not mention one thing about the 'short' freefall.

You have a couple of other problems you're not considering - one of them being the time in the plane. Even a 'hot rod' 182 (which you're going to need) is going to be slowing going up to 14 - 16k MSL, and that's going to lead to 30 or 35 min in the plane for the jumpers, and that's a long time to be folded up in a 182.

The bigger problem is the O2. The climb rate above 12k MSL is going to be dismal, and if you're trying to push it up to 14 or 16 k, they're going to be up there in the thin air for a long time.

The students are going to be folded up in the plane, and they'll be nervous for sure and wearing haress that may or may not be helping with their circulation.

The instrcutors may not have the nerves going, but they have the problem of hooking up and muscling the students out of the plane. None of the above are good things when there's not much O2 available.

Do yourself a favor, and cut your exit altitude down to 9k AGL max. Your going to get faster turns, save money on fuel and tach time, and make for a safer, more comfortable experience for your passengers. It's not a matter of you being 'cheap' or trying to 'cheat' the customers, it's a matter of aircraft capability and the size of your market. If you had more tandems or they were willing to pay $500/head, you could afford to lease a turbine and get them a different experience. If you're in an area that can only support a 182 DZ, then they can either jump with you, or drive for hours to get to another DZ.


peek  (D 8884)

Dec 26, 2012, 5:53 AM
Post #6 of 60 (5402 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I understand that a stock 182 would have zero chance of attaining this altitude in a timely manner, if at all.

As crazy as the idea might seem, try "running the numbers" with one tandem pair in a "stock" C182. The simplicity of it all might work for you despite the lower volume. Everything else is going to involve a much more expensive airplane. It depends on what your profit margin and maintenance expectations might be.


(This post was edited by peek on Dec 26, 2012, 5:58 AM)


davelepka  (D 21448)

Dec 26, 2012, 6:00 AM
Post #7 of 60 (5394 views)
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Re: [peek] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Everything else is going to involve a much more expensive airplane.

Good point. Big engine, big (or 3-bladed) prop, STOL kit and/or wingtip extensions, and maybe some speed brakes are not going to be cheap.

You might be able to find 2 'ugly' 182s for the price of one 'nice' one plus all the mods. Then you have the flexibility to run 2 pair on cooler days, or one tadem per load on hot days. You have a 'back up' airplane in case one is down with a mechanical issue, you're not totally 'dead in the water', and in the end you can always sell one plane and cut your investment in half (while still staying in business) if need be.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Dec 26, 2012, 6:05 AM
Post #8 of 60 (5385 views)
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Re: [peek] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Case in point, there are two 182s in the classifieds right now. One has a 275hp conversion and all the goodies already installed for $57k, and the other is a (presumably) stock 182 with a jump plane door and step for $30k.

Of course there are a dozen other factors that go into aircraft pricing and value, but that example shows the stock plane is close to half the price of the one with all the go-fast goodies. You always pay less when you let someone else do the mods and you buy the plane from them later on, if you want to mod the plane yourself, the cost goes up quite a bit.


AggieDave  (D License)

Dec 26, 2012, 6:06 AM
Post #9 of 60 (5381 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Good point. Big engine, big (or 3-bladed) prop, STOL kit and/or wingtip extensions, and maybe some speed brakes are not going to be cheap.

A narrow body will climb faster but have 3" less room side to side (which makes a difference with 2 tandem pairs stuffed in a 182. A decent straight tail aren't too expensive, but all of the above go-fast parts adds another $80K last time I looked at it, but that was a decade ago.


Dan0321  (D License)

Dec 26, 2012, 7:52 AM
Post #10 of 60 (5298 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

First off, thanks for all the replies, all of you have brought up some really good points. The whole hypoxia issue is something that I have considered. I know that I will need to provide O2, especially since most of my students are probably going to be tourist who aren't even acclimatized to the high field elevation to being with. So I understand the potential dangers and I'm taking that into consideration along with everything else.

Leasing a turbine is something that I have considered, I just don't know if I'll have the traffic to fly it during the week, and I honestly have no idea what a turbine leases for. Something like a PAC750 would probably work ok, but it doesn't seem like many of those are offered for full season leases.

The 2 stock 182 route is something that I haven't considered. With a upgraded 182 taking 2 tandems to 9000' I've estimated a fuel burn of somewhere between 10 to 13 gallons. If you think a stock 182 with 1 tandem could do this with a full burn of somewhere in the 7 gallon range it might be worth it.


Andrewwhyte  (C 1988)

Dec 26, 2012, 8:03 AM
Post #11 of 60 (5285 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

I have worked at a 2200 msl dz for a while. We use a narrow body 182 with P. Ponk 0470 wing extensions and some sort of wing tip technology.
We take 2 tandems to 15,000msl turning 0.5s or better on cool days and under 0.6s on hot days (>25C).
As was mentioned above, the mods are as expensive than the plane.


fencebuster  (D 29918)

Dec 26, 2012, 10:43 AM
Post #12 of 60 (5209 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

I run a C-182/C-206 DZ. We average just over 8 gallons per cycle to 11,500 MSL (10,500 AGL) on the C-182. You might get less than 8 gallons per cycle with 1 tandem on the plane.

As for leasing a turbine, PM me and I'll let you know what I found after several months of trying to get a turbine for year 2 of our operation.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Dec 26, 2012, 12:05 PM
Post #13 of 60 (5148 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed!
The average tandem student needs 30 seconds of freefall to wake up, look around and enjoy the freefall.

Any "luxury" of longer freefalls must be balanced against the negative aspects of longer times spent in a cold, cramped, noisy, vibrating, hypoxic airplane cabin.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Dec 26, 2012, 12:12 PM
Post #14 of 60 (5140 views)
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Re: [galispo] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
... Not to mention the constant phone calls from local people annoyed by the noise (to me, music) of that huge double-blade propeller they put on that engine. ...

Good luck!

......................................................................................

Good point!
The majority of noise complaints - about Pitt Meadows Airport (sea level) are actually about the "seaplane props" installed on Cessna 180, 185 and 206 float-planes. The larger diameter allows the propeller tips to go supersonic and the extra noise irritates neighbors.


riggerrob  (D 14840)

Dec 26, 2012, 12:27 PM
Post #15 of 60 (5118 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
... The whole hypoxia issue is something that I have considered. I know that I will need to provide O2, especially since most of my students are probably going to be tourist who aren't even acclimatized to the high field elevation to being with. ...

........................................................................................

Ignoring regulations ... on a practical level, all staff should suck on oxygen if they expect to spend a significant amount of time above 10,000. Supplemental oxygen helps reduce headaches, fatigue and human errors.

You should also consider a mandatory aerobic fitness program for all aircrew.
Yes, I know that civilians hate the word "mandatory" so you will probably have to pay them to exercise.

Why am I visualizing a steampunk scene with staff members on a row of stationary bicycles, gasping into ratty, old gas-masks while waiting for the next batch of students?
Hah!
Hah!

And how much are you going to pay the manifest girl to rinse all the snot, cocaine, horse tranquiliser, etc. out of student's nasal cannulas?


vpjr  (D 14158)

Dec 27, 2012, 6:19 AM
Post #16 of 60 (4940 views)
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Re: [davelepka] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Do you have your aircraft mechanic or maint facility lined up? One hot rod 182 can be easier to stay ahead of than 2 182s. I chose to buy additional planes to ensure coverage but I am an A&P and I only had to make sure the planes were ready to fly and not answering the phones during the week. If it were me at a Startup hight alt dz. Build 1 hot rod 182, wide body ( I know the narrow body is faster but the later models have better fuel system and cowl flaps), O-520, Graphic Engine monitor with fuel flow, 3 blade MT prop, Wing-X extensions, Sportsman Stol leading edge.


RMURRAY

Dec 27, 2012, 6:59 AM
Post #17 of 60 (4917 views)
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Re: [vpjr] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Do you have your aircraft mechanic or maint facility lined up? One hot rod 182 can be easier to stay ahead of than 2 182s. I chose to buy additional planes to ensure coverage but I am an A&P and I only had to make sure the planes were ready to fly and not answering the phones during the week. If it were me at a Startup hight alt dz. Build 1 hot rod 182, wide body ( I know the narrow body is faster but the later models have better fuel system and cowl flaps), O-520, Graphic Engine monitor with fuel flow, 3 blade MT prop, Wing-X extensions, Sportsman Stol leading edge.

yes but expensive --- at least 90k for a (let's say) 182P? And you will most likely not find one, will need to get it done yourself?


(This post was edited by RMURRAY on Dec 27, 2012, 7:00 AM)


lekstrom10k  (D 3001)

Dec 27, 2012, 11:25 AM
Post #18 of 60 (4831 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

As I have stated before why not just use a C-185 it already got all the mods done . A bolt on step to the regular step is easy. We used to do tandems out of C-180 . Have them swing their feet out whils you still kneel drop the right wing clear everything. Tip the wing back to normal for the second ste. With the C-185 you could take one video for sure ,two if small enough people.You would still have a fun jumper airplane too


RMURRAY

Dec 27, 2012, 12:30 PM
Post #19 of 60 (4806 views)
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Re: [lekstrom10k] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

cost of insurance is the main detractor I think.


(This post was edited by RMURRAY on Dec 27, 2012, 2:29 PM)


vpjr  (D 14158)

Dec 27, 2012, 3:28 PM
Post #20 of 60 (4755 views)
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Re: [RMURRAY] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Wide bodies began in 62 so there are cheaper airframes available to start the mods. Yes it is expensive. It will be expensive for him to climb to 10.5K agl no matter how he tries to get there. Stock 182 he will pay in fuel and limited number of jumps per day. 2 stock 182s you are at 80K and high fuel burn, 2 pilots, 6 tires, 12 cylinders to maintain. 185 is a good plane but he will be at 80K again and need good pilots. In Co it might not be to windy for tandems but may be to windy for x-wind landings in the 185.


Dan0321  (D License)

Dec 27, 2012, 4:13 PM
Post #21 of 60 (4745 views)
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Re: [RMURRAY] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Do you have your aircraft mechanic or maint facility lined up? One hot rod 182 can be easier to stay ahead of than 2 182s. I chose to buy additional planes to ensure coverage but I am an A&P and I only had to make sure the planes were ready to fly and not answering the phones during the week. If it were me at a Startup hight alt dz. Build 1 hot rod 182, wide body ( I know the narrow body is faster but the later models have better fuel system and cowl flaps), O-520, Graphic Engine monitor with fuel flow, 3 blade MT prop, Wing-X extensions, Sportsman Stol leading edge.

The airport I would be located at has a maint facility, and one of my instructors is also an A&P. I've been able to find similar 182s to the one you are describing with the O-520 engine for around $75000, but they tend to not have the Graphic Engine monitor with fuel flow, Wing-X extensions, Sportsman Stol leading edge, or a skydiving door/step mod. What would each of these additional add ons cost, and how much of a performance improvement do you see with each?


vpjr  (D 14158)

Dec 27, 2012, 5:45 PM
Post #22 of 60 (4720 views)
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Re: [Dan0321] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Graphic engine monitor w/ff $2500 new. = pilot can set best power mixture saving fuel, could be %10 reduction in fuel used. Reduced maint cost due to early diagnosis and engine being operated within limits. 3 Blade prop. $10K - $14K = 150 fpm SL climb (may be 75 fpm at your alt). Wing-X $5K or sportsman $2K with give 130fpm at SL and addition of the other kit will increase another 50fpm. $75K for a skydive 520 powererd 182 seams high. Dropzone.com has a jump 182 for $30k or a big engine for $57. Cheapest 185 I saw was $98K.


skydiveoc  (D 12721)

Jan 4, 2013, 2:01 PM
Post #23 of 60 (4377 views)
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Re: [vpjr] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

Those prices are without maintenance! JPI is the engine analyzer I would get as it gives shock cool parameters for new pilots. C185=high $, cross wind limitations, high insurance and hard to find tail wheel pilots that wont ground loop her. Wing X is 3-4 good days labor to put on, 20 hours at $75 an hour here.

You need to go into this without being budget minded. I agree with Van...biggest bang for the buck would be a pink 470-50 for $30k, add a climb prop 13-14K with spinner.(loud mac 401 or the MT as Van suggests is quieter but not so good if you're taking off on gravel.

Go one year at 9k ago with this set up then invest some $ the next year on extensions, o2 if you want to go higher and check out forced airmotive's belt turbo. It will Maintain sea level pressure without hot exhaust for about $25K installed. You should be able to keep 1000 fpm to 10k mdl

If you pay for good gear, good staff, good maintenance, good advertising, than you will not be able to afford single tandems. You need to be averaging close to 2 tandems per load. We actually charge extra for singles. Guys who are making it work doing singles arent paying shop rate for maintenance, paying $5 a load to pilots, and not buying new gear.


skydiveoc  (D 12721)

Jan 4, 2013, 2:33 PM
Post #24 of 60 (4358 views)
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Re: [skydiveoc] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

I would hesitate on buying a modified aircraft. Modify your own aircraft. I got a very reasonable quote from Lawson Aviation, Matt Lawson in Detroit MI. He is an authorized pponk shop. (Sorry for all my auto correct chaos!) Low 20K if he can use the crank on your 0470L. Low 30k if he has to buy a new crank.

If money is not the issue but it sounds like it is, 20 extra hp at altitude gets you a 550 from TX skyways. Prob at 80k here. The 550 will prob get you to 10K 2 minutes faster. Hardly worth 50K more.

I have only one peer who did not like his pponk but he bought it already upgraded and had a cruise prop on her. Everyone else I know feels it is worth it.


peek  (D 8884)

Jan 4, 2013, 3:43 PM
Post #25 of 60 (4328 views)
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Re: [skydiveoc] Cessna 182 at High Field Elevation DZ [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
If you pay for good gear, good staff, good maintenance, good advertising, than you will not be able to afford single tandems. You need to be averaging close to 2 tandems per load. Guys who are making it work doing singles aren't paying shop rate for maintenance, paying $5 a load to pilots, and not buying new gear.

I don't know the numbers but I would guess that is true with people putting 2 or 3 tandems on a Caravan or Otter too, and justifying to themselves. It sounds crazy but I have seen it done more than once. Makes you wonder doesn't it?


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