Tigerfish Aviation

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Tigerfish Aviation is an aerospace research and development company based in Norwood, South Australia. [1] Since the late 1990s, the company has been developing a retractable pontoon system for the float plane industry, which has been patented as Retractable Amphibious Pontoon Technology or RAPT. [2]

Norwood, South Australia Suburb of Adelaide, South Australia

Norwood is a suburb of Adelaide, about 4 km east of the Adelaide city centre. The suburb is in the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters, the oldest South Australian local government municipality, with a city population over 34,000.

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RAPT system

The retractable float concept aims to reduce aerodynamic drag by folding the floats into a streamlined pannier under the fuselage of the aircraft. The reduction in drag improves performance of the aircraft and reduces its operating cost, such as fuel consumption. Reduction in drag also increases the range, payload, speed, and productivity of the aircraft. The drag reduction occurs due to the reduction of surface area exposed to the airstream and concealing the hydrodynamic features of the floats. [3] It is designed as a retrofit, and is potentially capable of application to any existing aircraft. The technology has been applied on a one-sixth scale Cessna Caravan for concept-proving.

Technical details

As of 2010, Dornier 228 NG is the first proposed aircraft to be retrofitted for the RAPT system, besides the small-scale Cessna. The retractable float system can be used in a wide range of aircraft including regional aircraft, utility aircraft, executive aircraft, military transports, VLJs, and UAVs. The University of Adelaide, with assistance of the South Australian Government, [4] has performed CFD analysis and other studies on the DHC-6 Twin Otter showing that the RAPT system would result in a significant cost benefit. Unlike traditional floats, RAPT pontoons are made of lightweight composite materials, but suffer additional mass penalties due to the electric, hydraulic and structural systems required to retract the pontoons. Total mass penalty has been estimated at 1,420 pounds (640 kg) for a Dornier 228 NG variant.[ citation needed ]

University of Adelaide public university in Adelaide, South Australia

The University of Adelaide is a public university located in Adelaide, South Australia. Established in 1874, it is the third-oldest university in Australia. The university's main campus is located on North Terrace in the Adelaide city centre, adjacent to the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the State Library of South Australia.

See also

Amphibious aircraft aircraft that can routinely both operate in water and in land

An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an aircraft that can take off and land on both land and water. Fixed-wing amphibious aircraft are seaplanes that are equipped with retractable wheels, at the expense of extra weight and complexity, plus diminished range and fuel economy compared to planes designed for land or water only. Some amphibians are fitted with reinforced keels which act as skis, allowing them to land on snow or ice with their wheels up.

Seaplane airplane with an undercarriage capable of operating from water surfaces

A seaplane is a powered fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing (alighting) on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are in a subclass called amphibious aircraft. Seaplanes and amphibians are usually divided into two categories based on their technological characteristics: floatplanes and flying boats; the latter are generally far larger and can carry far more. These aircraft were sometimes called hydroplanes, but currently this term applies instead to motor-powered watercraft that use the technique of hydrodynamic lift to skim the surface of water when running at speed.

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A floatplane is a type of seaplane, with one or more slender pontoons mounted under the fuselage to provide buoyancy. By contrast, a flying boat uses its fuselage for buoyancy. Either type of seaplane may also have landing gear suitable for land, making the vehicle an amphibious aircraft. British usage is to call "floatplanes" "seaplanes" rather than use the term "seaplane" to refer to both floatplanes and flying boats.

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