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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:09 pm 
forum fan

Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:05 pm
Posts: 14
Hello,

I just saw this new Feathercraft Aironaut inflatable, sit-inside kayak, for the first time today. I own two inflatable kayaks (Innova Sunny and Hobie i14T) as well as a folder (Feathercraft Big Khahuna). I thought that this new Aironaut looks especially streamline for an inflatable, and certain to be very well made since it is a Feathercraft (but unfortunately expensive).

What do you think?

For more info, check out this site: http://feathercraft.com/kayaks/aironaut/

Specifications
Skill level Novice
Inflation Time 6 min
Length x Beam 14’9″ x 26″
Payload 300 lb
Pack Size 31 x 16 x 11″
Weight 20 lb
Cockpit Size 29.5 x 16″


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:02 pm 
There's already a thread on this in the Feathercraft section, but this is probably the right place for it since I deleted my earlier post.

Anyway, I think it's a possible game changer if it's performance is good, and that's a big IF with a pure inflatable.
It's impossible to tell without a serious test ride. Feathercraft did a good job with dimensions, weight, and assembly / inflation time.

Here's the pic that peaked my interest in the Aironaut.
It's got a proper hull shape, and that's where it all starts.
Image

I can easily see the Aironaut (pictured here) on my folding "Bike Friday"... or on my Triumph !
Image


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:34 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
While I've become quite fond of my Kurrent 2 and find my self enjoying the pleasure of paddling it even more than most hardshells I've owned, if I had to assemble/disassemble it each time I used it, an inflatable might become more attractive than a folder even with the inflatable's reputation for less than stellar performance. The thought of being able to inflate the Aironaut and be off paddling in slightly more than six minutes is very appealing. My Kurrent takes me about 30 minutes to put together (I mostly keep it assembled and so I don't get much practice) and requires me to find an elevated work surface such as a picnic table so that I can work from a more or less upright posture. If I'm forced to scrabble around on the ground, the assembly process takes longer and is less than pleasant. Such activity can also attract an audience of idle spectators especially here in Florida in the winter, a thing I find completely off-putting.

The Aironaut's hull shape looks like it might perform quite well and the word from Feathercraft is that it paddles much like the Kahuna. Too bad that Sea Kayaker Magazine is no longer; I'd like to read their review of the boat. I do wonder about how much those air tubes will increase the hull's wetted surface and also how difficult might it be to properly dry the boat before rolling it up in its stuff sack.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:31 pm 
Anything over 20 minutes is unacceptable to me. My K-Light's took about 20 minutes to assemble, aided by having only one stretcher bar. The Kahuna took just under 30 minutes due to it's multiple stretcher bars. My own design SOF folders take 30 minutes. Like you, I kept these boats assembled and only fold them when necessary for overnight travel.

Assembly time is not the only factor. It's the physical effort required during assembly. Feathercraft's and similar folders are a physically demanding assembly due to their small coamings and the need to "get inside" the boat. Folbots and others are an easier assembly due to the their larger washboard coamings and their folding mechanics vs Feathercraft.

The Aironaut has the potential of being a viable "quick and easy" assembly alternative to SOF style folders ... if it offers similar performance.

I wish them luck.

Tom


Last edited by Yostwerks on Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:26 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
Posts: 121
I just received an e-mail from Lyle Hancock of Folding Kayak Adventures. He said he's excited about the Aironaut and will probably get one in April or May. He's a very "hands-on" dealer of Feathercraft kayaks and a review from him would be of great value.

If I could side track a little, Tom, what type of folding bike is that in your photo? It doesn't look like a typical folder with small tires and long stems for the seat and handlebars.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:36 pm 
Quote:
If I could side track a little, Tom, what type of folding bike is that in your photo? It doesn't look like a typical folder with small tires and long stems for the seat and handlebars.


Sorry I wasn't clear enough. I mentioned in parenthesis that the kayak in the pic was an Aironaut, so it therefore can't be mine ... nor the bicycle. I've got a Bike Friday folder with 20" wheels.

I contacted Lyle yesterday about the Aironaut and asked about doing a test paddle when he gets one in. He's in Durango, CO so it's not all that far from my home west of Denver. I'll be glad to give you my review of the boat :D

http://www.yostwerks.com/ReddingKeswick800B.jpg - The Bike Friday along the Sacramento River bike path near Redding, Ca. recently. It's a great place to paddle also.

http://www.yostwerks.com/BFModule1.jpg - It sometimes rides on the back of my ZX14R in it's travel suitcase. Both are great bikes !

Tom


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:20 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 394
Location: Coastal New Jersey
Tom, I can think of no one better to field test and review the Aironaut than yourself. I'm also impressed with Bike Friday. When I bring my road bike to Florida for a winter sojourn it involves breaking it down and packing it into bike box that fits the back of the Forester. The BF might be a better way to go.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:53 am 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
Posts: 121
Hi Tom,

Thanks for clearing things up. I re-read your previous post and I did think the "folding bike" was yours...thought it might be a Montague folding bike. I like the one you have, one of your many fascinating "toys" that always get attention on this forum.

(Back to the topic) I've purchased a couple of kayaks from Lyle and have always appreciated his honesty and experience. I look forward to his Aironaut review as well as what your take is if you get your hands on one.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:33 pm 
Jake,

Thanks. Yes, the Bike Friday is a great travel bike as it fits into a 62" ( l/w/h) airline legal suitcase. Rita and I have flown with ours several times with no baggage handler damage to the bikes. We normally keep them assembled and housed is the back of the FJ Cruiser and ride whenever and wherever we like. We're currently staying in Northern California for the winter and the bikes get ridden nearly every day. They're built just up the road in Eugene , Oregon and perform way better than I would have ever imagined.

A few years ago I bought an old chrome moly Specialized for $25.00 and cut up the frame to convert it to a take-apart.
That allowed it to fit into the small trunk's of my car. Pretty good folding bike overall considering the price :D



Jeremiah,

Montague builds some nice full-size folders. Unfortunately, they're too large for a suitcase.

My review of the Aironaut will be short and sweet. Either it performs well, or it doesn't. The only inflatable I've got to compare it to is my Sonnet. And that boat is likely the best folder I've got for rough water. There is just something unique about a flexible hull as it conforms to the wind and waves while providing a one with the water feel.

http://www.yostwerks.com/Sonnet16Paddle2.jpg - Sonnet 16 ... inflatable / folder / hybrid


Regards, Tom


Last edited by Yostwerks on Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:39 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
Posts: 121
Beautiful kayak Tom! Now I'm off to do a Bike Friday search.


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