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Wed, Jun 23, 2004

Seawind Amphibian At Halfway Point In Certification Process

Simultaneous Pursuit Of Type Certifications In US, Canada

Certification work on the four-place Seawind amphibian has probably passed the halfway mark according to company president, Dick Silva. The work required for a type certificate is being pursued in Canada, with FAA approving the steps along the way. Deliveries of completed aircraft are expected to begin in mid 2005.

Approximately three dozen people have already placed escrowed deposits for delivery slots once the TC has been granted.

The Seawind came into existence in January 1991 as a kit aircraft. Before suspending the kit deliveries in 2001, the company had shipped 150 kits, of which 63 have flown. Silva had hoped to certify the Seawind from the beginning, and like Lancair, he eventually made the commitment to go through the FAR Part 23 process. He set up a company to certify the Seawind in 2001, hired a staff and began work on the program in 2002. The government of Quebec extended him considerable support for bringing his project to St. Jean-sur-Richelieu at the north end of Lake Champlain. The production line will remain in Canada, while marketing and sales efforts are being handled south of the border.

Performance numbers for the kit version were so impressive that Silva has made very few changes to the design for production. None of the changes incorporated so far were required for certification. The three most significant modifications to the kit design include an enlarged canopy space, permitting more headroom to the front and rear seats; trailing link landing gear which allows for sod or gravel strip landings; and an escape hatch in the roof for enhanced safety.

The amphibious Seawind, built of composite materials, exceeds 90 percent of all single engine aircraft in cruise speed, delivering 190 mph at 75 percent power settings. It stalls at 50 knots, climbs at 1,250 fpm and will lift a useful load of 1,150 pounds. The takeoff run on land requires 1,100 feet, on water it takes 1,400 feet at full gross. All of this is accomplished with a Lycoming IO-540. While it handles in all respects like a conventional flying boat, it looks like a space ship with its sleek, contoured lines.



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