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Robert Broadwell

Robert Broadwell's Kolb Float Plane
(A Shackleford & Reinert Creation)

Kolb Mark III Full-Lotus Float Project-More Photos Below
Looks like a big toy but it is very rugged
962 Float Landings (Kolb World Record)
148 Wheel Landings
thru 2-23-2007

After getting everything properly inflated, the aircraft (Kolb Mark III Classic) jumps off the water in about 6 seconds or less. Think of it as a Ninja motorcycle on floats....fantastic HP to weight ratio. I fly out of Lake Murray, SC and live at the lake, so it is really nice having a float plane...something I've dreamed of having since childhood.  I pinch my new house, it is just a few steps out the door to a flying adventure. This plane was completely refurbished in late 2004 and sports a 100HP Rotax 912S. Many of my Trenton Flyers friends helped me with the project. To simply say "this project would not have been completed without their help and expertise" would be the understatement of the decade. Chuck Reinert picked the “Air Margaretaville” paint theme along with custom airbrushed graphics on the nose, tail, and seats. Chuck and Shack are Kolb experts and between them, they made everything happen. They know Kolbs inside out and relish any engineering challenge. Guy Johnson
helped me with the paint, fabric, and SEA PLANE GROMMETS. This "Guy" is a real perfectionist and
the paint job is nothing short of spectacular. If you really want somebody who takes your paint job personally, call Guy Johnson. If you ding up his paint, you can kiss your ass "good guy". The man can do bullet proof fabric work and his paint work is perfection. You get what you pay for from Guy....and then some. Consider the fact that I've got over 900 landings, most of which involve intense water spray on the tail surfaces and complete submergance of the underbody dorsal fin. All of these surfaces continue to look like they were just painted. Something else will fail before his fabric and paint work.

With its flashy Aerothane paint job and fancy graphics, it’s a real show stopper on the lake during the summer months.This Kolb also sports a "Shack Shackleford" instrument panel extension that moves all of the instruments within the pilot's easy reach. The stock Kolb panel was almost impossible to reach when using a tight 4-point harness. Shack also engineered the electrically retractable landing gear. Shack makes an MIT PHD look like an imbecile. Shack's design incorporated dual remote controls, thus allowing an instructor to remotely lower the gear for a forgetful student. The retractable mains were purchased from Ron Liddell's Vista Enterprises in California. I think he has discontinued operations.

This aircraft was originally equipped with a 65hp Rotax 582 and would lift two adults off the water. It was underpowered with that motor, but I flew it during the hot S.C. summer months without much trouble getting airborne. I am a seaplane rated BFI and may do some limited training when I get liability considerations resolved. 
I chose Full-Lotus floats due to their everyday “bullet-proof” utility. If you are going to fly "day-in-day-out" the 8 knot speed penalty is more than offset by the 100% reliability they offer. They also permit operation of the aircraft in a way that fiberglass or aluminum floats simply cannot offer. I can drive onto beaches that would shred any other float. I can run into my dock without damaging anything but my pride. An underwater stump is a non-event, and off-field
landings or landings with the gear up are possible with little to no damage. The other huge benefit is that these floats absorb punishment before it is transmitted into the airframe. Having 16 airbags (the float bladders), provides for considerable flotation redundancy.  I can take off on far rougher water than I would ever attempt with a rigid float system. I've often found myself in situations where the wind and waves would have prevented a safe take-off on anything but these bullet-proof shock absorbers. Had I installed rigid floats, I am certain that I would have destroyed at least one pair when my landing gear failed to lock properly. I landed quite uneventfully on the floats at my grass strip with no damage whatsoever. Rigid floats would have been ruined or badly damaged at best. If you need an extra 5-6 knots, you don't need to be fooling around with and aluminum floats are faster, but they will sink and tear up faster than a "cock roach after a honey bunn".


You can't ask for a better landing configuration. These floats can be landed at very high speeds or simply flopped on the

water in a classic stalled landing. Typical fiberglass or other rigid style floats must be nursed down to the water. Try a full-stall landing in the back of a cove with rigid floats or flying end up upside down. With the Full-Lotus floats, I have found that all you need do is get close to the water and chop the power. If you are running out of water....just push the nose down until you contact the water. It might not be pretty, but you will stop almost instantly.......and right side up...!! The wind direction does not matter and I have skittered across my lake at 65-70 mph with little fear. Lateral loads, even when skidding sideways are can drive on these floats like an airboat crossed up sideways if you want. With no keel effect, their is no lateral load on the air frame when sliding helps to have a big rudder.
When landing on land, these big floats give the wind some extra gain on your aircraft. I am somewhat tuned into flying in winds as high as 24 knots. When I put these floats on, I was a little alarmed at the way the wind could grab them, especially when on final....about four feet off the ground.. For about a month I would "go around" searching for that perfect landing. One day I discovered the compression experience. This "compression experience" was the compression of the air between the ground and the floats. When landing this rig, I discovered that the best technique was to simply get close to the ground...about 2-4 feet....and chop the power. The result was always a very smooth landing. The floats act as air compressors in ground effect when about 18" from the ground. It is an amazing thing.


I routinely have boaters follow me into my dock. All either want to know about the aircraft or want a ride. I don't give rides for

liability reasons, but I've spent endless hours talking to people about flying this aircraft.'s not an Extra 300, but people, especially the guys, are just like me....they have all dreamed of being able to fly unfettered across the water on a nice day. It's really cool to sit on the front porch of my house and see this "big unusual toy" begging me to go flying. I tell them that it would not have been possible without my buddies at Trenton Flyers while pointing to the tail wheel David Padgett fabricated for me. They look at me like I'm crazy....but then I explain to them that each of my buddies brought some special expertise to the "Harley" and his bead blasting, or Rip with his assistance with wiring and rigging. At the end of the are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I was most fortunate have such fine and talented friends.

With more than 923 all kinds of conditions, upwind, downwind, crosswind, and heavy surf, I'm convinced there is no better configuration for the foolhardy. It is simply the most forgiving configuration and these floats soak up a huge amount of shock. These floats have been landed on the ground with the "gear up" and on the water with the "gear down" with no damage whatsoever. Try this in anything'll be swimming,  badly bruised, or both.

FAO Schwarz Purchasing Agents-Contact Robert Broadwell at 803.730.1726

Nose Pod-Custom Art on top of a Guy Johnson paint job!!

Tail Art-Chuck Reinert

Engine-912S 100HP- Engineered by Shackleford and Reinert

I know what you are thinking....."that paint is still wet !!"
Photo is the wing top side....and it's dry as a bone.....tough as nails!!

Underside of Wing-Gotta wait a week before Guy will let you move this pretty thing.

View of top side of wing-Notice the immaculate scallup lines.
Want it done right....Call Guy'll get what you pay for and more.

Shack's Handy Work on extended Rhino lined  fold down panel.....hinged for easy servicing

Guy Johnson of Johnson Paint and Fabric

Guy Johnson Admiring His Paint Job

Rear View Inverted -Kolb Mark III Float Plane Project

Horizontal Stab & Elevator

True Mark of a Kolb Mark III Sea Plane----> Sea Plane Grommets!! 
No Drainage Problems Here !

Aerothane and extensive prep provide for high gloss finish
Bottom View of Fuselage

Fuselage Front View-Inverted

Chuck Reinert Found an Airbrush Artist to Continue the "Theme"

Electric Retractable Gear-Marine Linear Actuator
Shack Shackleford Original

Departure from Robert's Old House

Leaping from the water with 100 Horse 912S-Old House near Dreher Island State Park

If you are going to fly a Float Plane, get a pair waders straight away!!!
Flying is not much fun when your feet are wet.

Sunset, Lake Murray, South Carolina
Taken from Kolb Float Plane

Plane#3- Piper T-Tail Lance
Put new paint and interior in, zeroed out the motor in Oct 2006

Robert takes a ride in an Escapade
"I'm getting one of these"

Went for the Highlander instead of the Escapade
9/15/2006- I went for the Highlander instead of the Escapade. The Highlander has more wing, is a tail dragger, and is built for the "bush" and has huge tires. In this picture, I'm applying tapes to the wings...just having pased 51%..
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