I like to fly over rivers and lakes in my ultralight. One of the things that scares me the most is if my engine died, I might drown down in the depths of the water as I egressed out of my ultralight.
My Hy-Tek Hurricane has an aluminum front and rear spar, with a few spreader tubes, and then it has simple aluminum tube ribs which slide into pockets in the Dacron wing covering. This leaves nothing but empty hollow space inside 99% of my wing.
Has anyone ever thought of adding some lightweight durable air-filled balloons inside their ultralight wing to add buoyancy in case of a water landing which would almost certainly flip my tricycle gear ultralight? As it is, the wing has plenty of gaps in it which would allow water to rush inside and sink my plane. I don't know how long that would take, but I would rather not find out!
My aircraft weighs just slightly less than 254lbs. So I would need approximately 254/8 = 31.75 gallons of air to maintain a neutral buoyancy, and I would probably want to add another 30% or so to that to turn my ultralight wing into basically a flotation raft if I ended up in the water.
So does anyone have any good ideas on what to stuff inside my wing so my little "ultralight" doesn't turn into an "UltraAnvil" and sink to the bottom with me drowning next to it? If I crashed in the water, I figure I probably have a 50/50 chance of extricating myself from the wreckage without drowning right away, considering the impact will probably knock the wind out of me. It would be difficult, but I think I could do it. If I was at a full stall when I touched down I think I would survive, but would certainly flip upside down, then it would be a mad scramble while upside down underwater to get the safety belt off and yank my helmet and it's wires off and kick free.
But if I CAN get out, the next problem is that I am fully clothed with shoes, maybe a ski jacket, gloves, jeans, thermals, and everything else. I have had an unlucky experience of being fully dressed while flailing in the river before when I dashed out to rescue an R/C plane once, and it was very dangerous, and I nearly did drown (I will never do that again!).
It sure would have been nice to have a partially sunk ultralight next to me to hang onto! So I was thinking balloons, because that would be easiest. I could just inflate maybe 100 balloons or so and then stuff each of them up in the zippered inspection seams, 50 in each wing. The weight would only be maybe 8 ounces or so of all the balloons, and I can't imagine that they would hurt anything inside the wing. Is this a good idea?