ANN Contributor John Ballantyne
Funding for the Seawind
has been a little iffy over the past year or so according to
Richard Silva, company spokesperson, during a lightly attended
press conference at Lakeland. Now, however, the company is solidly
back on track, narrowly avoiding loss of critical employees or
significant disruption of the development process, he said.
Silva went on to report that Seawind now has 40 employees, all
composite molds are done as are the wing fixtures, and are being
used for fabrication of two aircraft for certification testing
according to the company spokespersons. Landing gear drop tests are
done for certification, passed the 26-G seat test, but were a
little too strong vertical 19-G crash test so we have to "weaken
the seats a little to absorb more energy."
Seventy-two Seawinds have been flying during the past 12 years
in the experimental category which has provided proof of concept
experience. "Certification will take place in Canada with
concurrent USA certification. The company goal is to be flight
testing this fall (2005) with production this winter as a certified
kit, Silva continued. "We have completed about 100 acres of trees
in the making of paper, so we estimate being about 74% done," he
"While those first 2 production planes are presently being
created we (Seawind) are actually producing multiple components to
facilitate the construction of subsequent aircraft. 'The company
plans to deliver 24 aircraft the first (next) year and 40 more per
year to a total of 100 or so units per year by 2008, they
announced. If you placed an order right now, Seawind expects to
deliver the aircraft to you in November of 2006."
Exceptional aspects of this unique amphibious aircraft include
the wide cockpit (54 inch) which will be certified with recently
lowered back seats to improved headroom for adults and to offer an
optional three-seat child seat back seat. The new trailing-link
landing gear is superior for rough field operation.
Insurance is an issue for amphibious aircraft, so Seawind has
created a captive insurance company, Seawind Guardian Insurance,
for hull coverage with guaranteed the price of repair at the
factory of a damaged aircraft. "The Seawind is unusual in that it
will not sink," Silva told ANN, after the conference was completed.
"It has enough foam in the four flotation compartments that, even
with multiple punctures, the plane will float, so we are able to
salvage then repair them."