The Panama Jack project was one of the most diverse and fun projects for the Propellerhead Team. We have worked with many theme parks, movie sets, and tv shows, but this was a challenge in itself! The team had to not only build a float plane on a pole, but it was to be assembled in another country. We worked with engineers, resort architecture directors, and the Panama Jack team here in Orlando, FL to make this dream a reality.
The aircraft we used for this project was a 1958 Cessna 172 straight tail. This aircraft is commonly used as an amphibious aircraft, a lot of them with an upgraded 180hp engine. The 172 had to be modified to become a float plane, as it originally did not come with the float kit.
Getting creative for transport to Mexico was a whole other adventure. She juuuust fit in the container! Propellerhead has containerized many aircraft but not one with a 6′ steel pole sticking out it’s belly. The joke around the shop was different ways to “fly” her to Mexico, including towing her behind a boat while we all rode along.
Flying into Cancun, Mexico is an amazing experience whether you’re from the passenger’s point of view or the pilot’s point of view. THIS is why we become pilots and fly:
to be able to travel around the world and see it from the best seat in the house.
Who wouldn’t want to become a pilot? At the resort, we had pilot’s from all over come up and start talking to us about the PJ plane. No matter where you are, you feel connected in the aviation community.
The Propellerhead Team gained some new friends while we were there, including Bob the Croc.
It took 4 full days of assembly, 3 trips to town, movement of agriculture to finish the job. Every single part that travelled from the USA was bagged, tagged, and a location for assembly. We would call this a successful adventure for the Propellerhead team!
You don’t want to miss this video of the PJ assembly in Cancun!
Fun Facts & Statistics
1 > Person knocked over by a tree. (We love you JV!)
1.5 > Years it took from idea to completed project.
5 > Full grown palm trees that had to be removed and transplanted.
6 > Hours in the rain was spent during assembly.
12′ > The depth of how far down the pole had to be set into the ground.
18 > Propellerhead Team members were included in this project from start to finish.
30’> The height we needed to lift the PJ plane by crane to lower onto the pole.
1,232 > Man hours involved in this project.
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