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 Post subject: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:07 am 
paddler

Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:48 pm
Posts: 6
...can anyone who has some time on one of these give a long-term review? I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on a lightly used one and wanted to know how they held up. This will be for primarily ocean use.

TIA,
R


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:50 pm 
paddler

Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:41 pm
Posts: 6
I have one that has been on only two trips. seems durable. difficult to carry with two people on either end. must be unloaded to avoid scraping in the middle. IF you decide not to buy it I am so interested in a second for my husband


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:22 am 
recent arrival

Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:45 am
Posts: 3
With the sad news that Feathercraft has ceased production, I continue to use (and occasionally abuse) four of their beautifully designed kayaks. All of them work well when in good repair--and for those with poles and sponsons repairs have been relatively easy.

But the Aironaut is different. It is of course their last design. I have had two and both have failed after a year or so: the first was among their very first sold. The welds that shaped the hull failed such that one side ballooned out--leaving the kayak floating, paddleable, but lopsided and just short of useless. They were kind and generous and replaced it immediately.

The second, the replacement, failed this week: it was in the sun but the release valves were working (and still work). This time, right by the weld that holds the bottom to the starboard side, a long leak sprung up suddenly along the joint of the weld near where the seat belts are stitched to the seam. I wondered if the sewing needle had come too close to the seam but on reflection that seems unlikely since the seams held for more than a year of use--gentle but active use. My conclusion is that the welds were badly executed or perhaps badly conceived for the pressure they have to undergo in use.

Since Feathercraft has closed up shop but promised to do repairs, I have asked Rob and Doug and Co. to either advise me or help out with a repair. But they take many days or weeks to respond to emails these days, so I have not yet heard back; I'd be surprised if they can repair it any more than the last one. Meanwhile I am lathering on the Aquaseal in hopes that the bubbles will stop emerging when I apply soapy water to the seam.

Am I just a very unlucky purchaser or have others found the Aironaut to be a lovely, light, easy to inflate kayak--but just not very durable? Any response would be helpful... Tg


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:39 pm 
paddler

Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:48 pm
Posts: 6
Thanks for the info, Tom. I got an Aironaut (red) a few weeks ago, used (demo) from a dealer in France. Cost ~$1300 shipped.

Had it out 4-5 times, got a Seamax electric pump and the thing is ready to go in just minutes.

I see what you mean about the potential for leaks, appears as if the seams are not as robust as they maybe could be but so far no issues. I tried using it with the sea sock but it's a bit of a tangle, kind of hot, not comfortable, hard to access the foot brace. That being said, I can see the sea sock as additional protection esp for where one's heels hit the bottom of the boat, that area might wear out pretty quickly, esp if you get a bit of sand or grit inside which is almost unavoidable in a beach launch. And for God's sake don't use any kind of footwear with rigid soles. Plus the bracing straps appear to be more or less useless, but that could be my inexperience in using them.

The packaged size is really small; I'm comparing it to my Long Haul Mark II Stretch Quattro which is an incredible piece of equipment but not one for a quick lunchtime paddle unless you can keep it assembled. And even then it's not quick!

There's a second (blue) demo Aironaut for sale as well if anyone is interested, check with David Picamoles at Mountains and Waves: http://www.mountains-waves.fr/ I'll also post that on the Deals Found section.

I definitely do not see this as a kayak that can be used for several years on a regular (2-3x per week) basis, it's built pretty well but hey, it's an inflatable, and probably something one would get as a backup or a boat that could be used by the traveler or someone who works near water and wants an occasional quick lunchtime paddle. I was considering picking up the other one as well, but now that I've had this one for awhile I'll pass. Rod


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:34 am 
recent arrival

Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:45 am
Posts: 3
Rod (and other Aironaut owners)-

I am still not sure whether or not I will be able to repair my second Feathercraft Aironaut--I continue to find small leaks along the seam between the bottom and starboard chambers and the bottom continues to slowly deflate. But I will keep at it with Aquaseal and hope that the extensive patching holds the air at 5psi.

Meanwhile, however, a word of advice (that I now wish I had had myself): Do not rely on the release valves of the AIronaut. If you need to leave the kayak on top of a car or on a beach or lawn on a warm, sunny day, let out a goodly portion of the air in each of the three chambers (and the seat back).

My experience shows that even when the pressure release valves work well--as mine have--the combination of heat and maximum pressure can break through the welded seams and ruin the boat, probably irreparably.

And I'd be very, very cautious about using the Aironaut in any situation in which the failure of a chamber would lead to real peril. It's a lovely little boat but quite fragile. I had come to believe that the Feathercraft kayaks were all tough and durable, but it is not true of the Aironaut, I am convinced. Best of luck to one and all. Tom G.


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:04 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 370
Location: Coastal New Jersey
It's unfortunate that the last boat to be developed at Feathercraft before it closed, a performance oriented inflatable, might be irreparably flawed. After much consideration, I became convinced that the Aironaut could be a near-perfect boat for casual travel but when I finally called Feathercraft with credit card in hand, ready to place my order, I was told that the Aironaut (What a great name for an inflatable!) had proven too cost inefficient to produce and had been taken out of production. In light of current evidence, this may have been one of the very few occasions where my chronic procrastination served me well.

I still feel that there exists a potential market for a light weight inflatable kayak designed with good performance parameters in mind but the current market for inflatables seems to greatly favor only the inflatable SUP.

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Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0 (Pippin)
Epic GPX


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:09 am 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:51 pm
Posts: 595
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
If you really want an expedition capable inflatable kayak, Incept still make their Tasman K40

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Simon

Pakboats Quest 135, Nautiraid Narak 460, 416 & K1 (sold my 550), Advanced Elements AirFusion 1040, Feathercraft Wisper, Fujita Alpina AL-1 400, Incept k40 (for sale)
Non-folders: Cape Falcon F1. Beth sailing canoe, 2014 Hobie Adventure Island


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:27 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 429
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I'm dealing with what seems to be a systemic fabric coating failure with the sponsons on a pair of Feathercrafts. I've located a product that has been developed to reseal the insides of inflatable boats (like Zodiac yacht tenders) and have ordered a quart to see if it can seal these up. I'll report back on how it works. I doubt it will address structural seam failures such as you guys are reporting with the Aironauts, but if it works as claimed it might be a good backup measure to consider with existing boats. If it cures the slow leaking of these sponsons I am trying to salvage, I plan to add it to the sponsons in my Wisper and other Pakboats.

http://www.allboatproducts.com/Inflatab ... ealer.html

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Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:21 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:22 am
Posts: 370
Location: Coastal New Jersey
Fifty bucks is still cheaper than a new FC sponson, assuming that you'll be able to get a new sponson from a company that no longer exists. It's not excactly a cake walk, repairing a sponson in a Feathercraft boat. First thing, you've got to turn the hull inside out to get to the sponson itself, then repair it (usually easy enough with Aquaseal) and then reinsert sponson back into sleeve and turn the hull right side out again (whew!). Anyway, thanks Kerry, for doing the field work. If this stuff is as good as the manufacturer claims a lot of us bag boaters may be using it before too long.

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Feathercraft Kurrent 2.0 (Pippin)
Epic GPX


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 Post subject: Re: Aironaut owners...
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:59 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:46 am
Posts: 429
Location: inland Pennsylvania, USA
I know that process well (replacing FC sponsons). I neglected to release the pressure in one of them in my Kahuna at one point and ruptured a seam. Turning the hull skin inside out to remove the tube was a nightmare and then I neglected to tie a string to the tab on the opposite end before pulling out the damaged one (to leave a way to pull the repaired one back in). I had ordered a replacement tube (i think it cost me like $80 with shipping!!) not realizing I could have repaired it. I have that old tube somewhere in the basement.

Since I'm an electrician I had a nylon fish-tape on hand so I was able to fish the new tube into the sleeve. But the effort involved left an impression and ever since I have been fanatical about releasing pressure in every inflatable component of my various boats, from seats to flotation bags, but especially sponsons.

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Current:
Feathercraft Wisper
Pakboat Quest 135
Pakboat Puffin 12
Pakboat Swift 14
Greenland SOF
P & H Easky 15LV
Previous:
Feathercraft Kahuna
Feathercraft K-1 Expedition
Pakboat XT-15


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