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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:07 pm 
My wife and I are intent on purchasing a folding tandem kayak or possibly an inflatable Feathercraft Airo tandem in the near future. The Airo's light weight, ease of assembly, and its manufacturer's general reputation are tremendous incentives.

Unfortunately, there is comparatively little direct usage information online for the Airo models. The single has been available for about a year. The tandem is quite new to the marketplace. I'm hoping that several members of this sub-forum have purchased, or at least significantly used, the Airo and are willing to offer comments regarding its practical performance and reliability.

We live in the Jersey Pine Barrens. The rivers in this area are small and occasionally blocked with fallen trees, etc. Can anyone offer insight regarding how tough the urethane hull is? Does almost any moderately pointed obstacle touched seem to create a leak, or does the kayak's natural flexibility greatly assist in preventing punctures in such conditions? How seaworthy is the craft when a tube is deflated due to puncture?

We are less than an hour from the Atlantic. How does the Airo perform on the open sea, especially when moderately rough?

Has anyone experienced a rollover with and/or without the sea sock in place. The one detailed review I was able to find suggested that a rollover without sock could cause a nightmare situation in which the boat would be impossible to right due to the added weight and the kayak's natural flexibility. If the sock is used, does it truly control water ingress, or will the boat rather quickly fill with water despite the sock being used?

I've talked to Feathercraft about the Airo. The company had some concern regarding puncture in situations such as I've outlined above. Otherwise, Feathercraft asserted that we would be happy selecting the Airo tandem. Apparently, these models are currently Feathercraft's best sellers, and feedback has been exemplary. What I'm not sure of is precisely what type of usage is being utilized by these new and happy owners. If most Airos are being used for casual paddling on small and benign lakes and rivers, then I can easily imagine a very high rate of satisfaction.

As always, thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:29 pm 
faltbootemeister

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

I want to say right off that I don't own an Aironaut but I will pass on some thoughts and information because I'm considering purchasing the single Aironaut and have been doing my own research. I've also owned a number of Feathercraft's, including my Big Kahuna. Hope this helps.

You're right about a lack of information on the double but you can get bits and pieces of info on the single. On Feathercraft's home page, go to Useful Links and you'll find the Feathercraft Blog. Some info on the Aironaut plus other links. I talked to Lyle Hancock of Folding Kayak Adventures (a Feathercraft dealer in Colorado) some time ago and he said he was going to paddle the Aironaut single on his next paddling trip. Well, on his website he stated that he returned from a trip on the Stikine River in British Columbia and said the Aironaut performed very well. He would be a great person to talk to in getting hands on information on the single and also his thoughts on the double.

The seasock works very well in limiting the amount of water into the kayak, as the rest of the skin is completely water tight. You raise an important concern about the kayak getting really bogged down in a capsize, but I would think that the fat air tubes of the Aironaut would make it sit higher (even upside down), keeping less water from filling it. The use of flotation bags might also help keep the structure of the kayak in tact.

The hull material is very tough but I not sure if it is the same thickness as my Big Kahuna, which has held up very well over a long period of time. Two more thoughts for what it's worth. If the design for the single wasn't successful you would not have the double Aironaut. I would think Feathercraft owners expect more from their kayaks than light use on benign lakes because there are many really good inflatable kayaks out there for a lot less money.

You asked some excellent questions. I hope I can learn some things from you.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:53 pm 
Thanks for your response.

The best review of the Airo single that I've read can be found here. Much seemingly good info. The comments under the "Effects of 40kg (on the sea)" heading were of particular interest. Use of the supplied sea sock(s) is critical.

If the two Airo models are to be used as apparently intended by Feathercraft, and I do agree with your remark that the cost alone would suggest that these boats will not be casually used, the hull must be durable enough to resist puncture when it encounters commonplace underwater hazards such as oyster beds, mango roots, rocks, etc. at low speeds. If this is not the case, there will be many unhappy owners of this $2,000 to $3,000 kayak. As I mentioned before, this was the one area where the Feathercraft rep indicated concern during our conversation. I'm hoping someone with real experience can comment on this inflatable's durability.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:35 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:15 pm
Posts: 121
Thanks for that review, it's one I had not seen before. I would say it was mostly positive except for the surf landing (this is where I feel that flotation bags along with the sea sock would help). But more feed back would be helpful from users in these conditions (as you said, you might be paddling the Atlantic).

I think the final paragraph said it best. It's a different (inflatable) kind of kayak. Will it fit your needs? Can you make it work for you? There are advantages and disadvantages.


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