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Old 01-27-2020, 06:52 PM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

J.R. Kessler, the ubiquitous centenarian billionaire Patron for a network of occult investigators and Monster Hunters (including the PCs), is mostly concerned with supernatural threats in the Caribbean, US Gulf Coast and neighbouring regions.

I've mentioned him in threads such as Caribbean by Night, Vile Vortices and Supernatural Threats, Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast, Self-designation Terms for Different Monster Hunter Teams in the World and the recent Scientific Specializations for Exploring Unknown Island.

Now, Kessler himself lives on a 220' superyacht, the Penemue, and even back when he was still young enough to do any traveling off his mobile palace, he tended to prefer high-performance yachts, fast tenders, powerful boat transports and sleek go-fast boats to airplanes.

However, the logistics of dispatching occult investigators and small teams of armed Monster Hunters* around the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean quickly enough so that they are able to actually respond to events, not just investigate the aftermath, requires a way to reach almost any spot in the Caribbean without having to worry about flight schedules or available passenger service to the more out of the way places.

In classic Caribbean fashion, it calls for amphibious aircraft, seaplanes or flying boats. Certainly, Kessler will have interests in numerous international companies with access to more conventional private jets, but for Night Riding, sometimes you just need a seaplane.

I'm looking for suggestions on makes and models for a variety of potential tasks. The basic requirement is a compromise between performance as a transport (good crusing speed and range) and the ability to operate with minimal support.

Later on, Kessler will determine that for certain special locations or times, what is required are aircraft that are rugged, reliable and able to still function if computers and high-tech electronics start to fail. In the year 2018, he'll own several rugged and simple early TL8 aircraft, a few TL7 ones and maybe even some TL6 relics that can still fly eighty years or so after introduction. Most likely, the aircraft that his people have access to will be a mixture of such older planes, able to function inside Vile Vortices with significant paranormal activity, and more modern, more capable aircraft made in the 1990s and later.

Some tasks I was considering:

1) A high-end, modern amphibious aircraft available in 1995, to explore the Mysterious Unknown Island 250 miles north of Puerto Rico. Needs at least a 1,000 mile range and the ahility to carry at least four, as well as being able to operate for at least a few days with only a boat as a tender. I was considering the Wilson Global Explorer.

2) Small, but high-quality aircraft that would be good for transporting individuals or small teams of about four to places without landing places for private jets. Enough range to potentially cover fairly wide geographic areas with each one would be a nice bonus. Ideally, maintainable without massive infrastructure. Finally, avoid unnecessary technological complexity; i.e. it can have modern avionics and navigation systems, but it can't be a design that will crash immediately if a computer chip in the fuel inection system or engine fails.

3) Much like type 2 above, but able to carry 8-12 passengers and some luggage. Longer range; ideally enough to get from Nassau in the Bahamas to St. Lucia or at least Dominica.

Edit: I've narrowed down the roles required for Kessler's anachronistic transport network of occult investigators in 2018, in post #20. Still looking for guidelines on which contenders to choose for each role and suggestions for any aircraft of which I might not have thought.

Edit Again: I've got a preliminary list of aircraft and home bases for the logistics network up. Still looking for comments, views and answers to a few questions.

*Kessler prefers the term 'Night Riders', but to most people born after the Civil Rights Movement, that term is going to carry some... unfortunate implications.
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-07-2020 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

Not quite within your parameters, but a PBY might fill the bill for a low tech, reliable amphibian with long range. Seats ten in various positions, and is designed for good visibility--the gun sponsons are very useful. It has just over a 2000 mile range. Add in 4000 pounds in the bomb bay/cargo area and you're in good shape. Even now, some of them are working aircraft.

Then there's the ever-reliable DC-3. There were some floatplane versions, and a more reliable airplane never existed. The floats would cut into its speed and range, but once again, ye can carry plenty of people and stuff.

I happen to LIKE the PBY, and there's always the chance that it's not quite as demilitarized as anyone thought.

Both types are still flying as working aircraft in this day and age, especially the DC-3.
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
2) Small, but high-quality aircraft that would be good for transporting individuals or small teams of about four to places without landing places for private jets.
DHC-3 Otter. Look through the rest of the DHC range for your other needs.
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Old 01-28-2020, 04:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

If Kessler likes his personal comfort he can throw in a second PBY that's been refitted as a flying yacht. https://www.messynessychic.com/2014/...ht-circa-1950/
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Old 01-28-2020, 05:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

There's quite a list to choose from:

Cl-215: 2crew, 26seats, cruise 180mph, range 1300 miles
CL-415: 2crew, 18seats, cruise 200mph, range 1500 miles
Grumman HU-16 Albatross: 4-6crew, 10seats, cruise 120mph, range 2850
Consolidated PBY Catalina: 10crew, cruise 125mph, range 2520
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter: 2crew, 19seats, cruise 210mph, range 920miles
de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter: 1crew, 9seats, cruise 120mph, range 940miles

Smaller aircraft:
Fairchild F-11 Husky
Noorduyn Norseman
Helio Courier
GippsAero GA8 Airvan
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

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Originally Posted by dcarson View Post
If Kessler likes his personal comfort he can throw in a second PBY that's been refitted as a flying yacht. https://www.messynessychic.com/2014/...ht-circa-1950/
He does, but in 1995, he's somewhat too old for adventuring and in 2018, he's an invalid.

It's very plausible that Kessler actually owned a personal aircraft or two he bought in the 1960s and early 70s, unconnected to adventuring or the occult, which might have been upgraded as far as personal comfort goes as Kessler grew older and richer.

In the early to mid-60s, Kessler was a freewheeling buccaneer in petrochemicals and minerals, mostly based around Houston and Galveston, but with partners in France and various Francophone nations, as well as investments and business concerns in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. At that time, Kessler had about an order of magnitude less available cash than the image he liked to project, so while he owned a series of yachts and started building a superyacht in 1965, he'd have looked for a cost-effective solution for private planes at that time.

By 1969, Kessler's actual financial resources had caught up to his image, but he was still only a multi-millionaire. He didn't reach his first billion until some point in the 80s.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post

2) Small, but high-quality aircraft that would be good for transporting individuals or small teams of about four to places without landing places for private jets.
My go-to amphibian for a typical party, the Grumman Goose. In your case, with the mcKinnon modification of replacing the radial engines with gas turbines.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:21 AM   #8
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Default Grumman Goose

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Originally Posted by copeab View Post
My go-to amphibian for a typical party, the Grumman Goose. In your case, with the mcKinnon modification of replacing the radial engines with gas turbines.
Ah, yes, the Grumman Goose seems like a very good idea.

It seems fairly plausible that in the 1960s, J.R. Kessler bought one used or even as military surplus, and then had it upgraded as his resources grew.

Do you know what kind of improvement gas turbines give over the radial engines, in terms of cruising speed and range?

Wikipedia lists performance for the JRF-5 Goose, which is a TL6 version and I presume that the gas turbines upgrade the craft to TL7.

The listed performance is perfectly adequate for quick hops from Kessler's isolated seaside retreat near Rosalie, Dominica to the nearby islands of St. Lucia and Guadeloupe, both of which have proper airports as well as offices of companies controlled by Kessler.

The range is also enough to reach any of the Windward Islands where reports of something supernatural might emerge from and many of the Leeward Islands. If the upgraded engines add significant range, it ought to be sufficient for all of the Leeward Islands.

Enough range to reach Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica or the Bahamas in one trip would add significant utility, but as that would need to be up to 1,300 miles, I'm guessing that is a job reserved for larger craft.
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:21 PM   #9
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Default PBY Catalina

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Originally Posted by YankeeGamer View Post
Not quite within your parameters, but a PBY might fill the bill for a low tech, reliable amphibian with long range. Seats ten in various positions, and is designed for good visibility--the gun sponsons are very useful. It has just over a 2000 mile range. Add in 4000 pounds in the bomb bay/cargo area and you're in good shape. Even now, some of them are working aircraft.[...]

I happen to LIKE the PBY, and there's always the chance that it's not quite as demilitarized as anyone thought.

Both types are still flying as working aircraft in this day and age, especially the DC-3.
There are a lot of things to like about the PBY Catalina for Kessler's purposes, i.e. as a seaplane or amphibious aircraft to transport a team of investigators or Monster Hunters into an area where advanced technology might be unreliable and airfields, runways and other support might not be available.

Googling, I can find that PBYs exist in a wide variety of configurations and models. The PBY-5A or other amphibious variants are the most interesting to me, as I imagine that Kessler uses airfields where they are available.

Important regional offices for Kessler's network of companies and connections exist, in 1995, in Galveston and Houston, TX; New Orleans, LA; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Nassau, Bahamas; and Roseau, St. Lucia.

In addition, there is also an isolated retreat near Rosalie, Dominica where several old friends of Kessler have retired and the families of some of his employees live.

Kessler wouldn't need the military configuration for the PBY Catalina, so no bombs or mounted guns and therefore the plane needs a smaller crew. I can find PBY Catalinas configured for fourteen passengers online, as well as a very tight fit for twenty eight people.

Assuming that you want to configure the PBY Catalina so that it can carry an eight to twelve man team, flight crew (and any necessary support staff) and maybe 100-150 lbs. in gear for each team member, how much extra fuel could you fit and therefore how much range could you squeeze from the aircraft?
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Grumman Goose

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Ah, yes, the Grumman Goose seems like a very good idea.

It seems fairly plausible that in the 1960s, J.R. Kessler bought one used or even as military surplus, and then had it upgraded as his resources grew.

Do you know what kind of improvement gas turbines give over the radial engines, in terms of cruising speed and range?
Found some info:

https://www.airliners.net/aircraft-d...g-21-goose/230

While top speed only increases about 25%, range (over 2500 km on standard fuel) and payload (2000 kg or up to 12 passengers) significantly increase.
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