Installing Pierre Girard (PG) 1450 Floats on a Rans S7

And getting everything together at Lake Temagami

This plane was purchased by the previous owner in California and I was fortunate to get the job of bringing it to Tillsonburg Ontario for him. For details on this flight see  In 2013 he sold it to Robert in Blind River who had me ferry it to Elliot Lake. For the float installation, I ferried it from Elliot Lake to Mattawa and then to the owners cottage on Lake Temagami. As a result of exceptional weather, the extremely helpful guys in Mattawa, the beauty of the Temagami area and the friendliness and hospitality of Robert and his wife, this was about the best flying trip I’ve ever experienced.


These floats were purchased with spreader bars but without any rigging from floats to aircraft. At that time, spring of 2014,

PG did not offer stubs and brackets for the Rans S7 so the owner opted to get them and the rest of the rigging from me.


This particular set is a well made and good looking float with wide, flat, non slip tops and storage hatches BUT, in fact, they are over built for this weight of aircraft

 For example, my Murphy 1500 floats weigh in at 187lbs while these PG floats are 230lbs. It is also likely that if PG strut material had been used the total weight would be a few lbs more due to the thicker wall streamline tube the company uses compared to Rans strut material. This is one example of “over building” in that dozen’s of 1300lb gross weight planes successfully use the lighter tubing. PG has also used much thicker material than necessary for spray deflectors, water rudders and hatch framing and puts in much more interior stiffening than is optimal for our light aircraft.


Off the water performance may not be quite as good as the Murphys which I attribute to bottom design more than weight.


Finally, prospective purchasers should know that while some purchasers of PG floats have been quite satisfied with all aspects of the product and the purchase; there are others, however, who have had bad experiences due to poor quality construction, poorly designed amphib parts as well as the excess weight of parts as mentioned above. One other curious reaction that we experienced was that they would not provide overall measurements of the floats, spreader bar and step positions ahead of the delivery and that we should “buy a measuring tape and take them ourselves after they were delivered”.  There were other difficulties in communicating with Frank, the salesman, which may or may not have been due to language issues (French/English).


Local waterjet company (Scissiontech in Peterborough) and machine shop facilities (Bob Sheward) produced the various plates, blocks and channel from my drawings developed using emachineshop software.  For details on these parts and and pictures of them installed on floats see:  floatkit


Here they are with test rigging on my S7S:


After testing and ready to take to change over field near Mattawa:



With the floats on the trailer the next destination was Mattawa Ontario where Mark Wilkins and his partner gave us full access to their hangar, tools and equipment for doing the change over as well as help in launching in the adjacent lake. Gerry Thomas, another pilot/owner on the field was also very generous with his time and expertise. I can’t stress enough how important their contribution was and how impressed I was with their willingness to do anything to make my job easier. It was such a treat to have been able to link up with them.


This is Gerry near the end of the installation


And driving me down to the water with the excellent four wheel dolly:




This is Mark and his beautiful PA-12 with all the mods:


Departing Earl’s Lake and Mattawa for Lake Temagami:


Below looking NE with Mattawa top right


Ottawa and Mattawa rivers


Lake Temagami:


Robert, the owner of the S7, hiding the instruments from me during his checkout:

Inspite of these heavy floats and only 80hp, the plane does fly off itself eventually with two of us on board and Robert is pleased with that (while I was just surprised).


Just taking in the beauty of his new machine

You can tell there is a woman involved with the colour coordinated boat, flowers and chairs.

Hopefully next year everything will be yellow.


Visiting in the area:



Bear Island Temagami First Nation. Quite a well kept and prosperous community: