Received by ISPA: November, 2002.
To: Brent Carlson [& ISPA]
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2002 3:02 AM
Subject: Re: News items. Tony's reply 21 Nov 2002
Hi Brent [& ISPA],
Enclosed a copy of my newsletter. I have added the odd bit. Do you
mind if I do not follow up on the other points? I just have far too much to do
to follow up on the pile - 2 ft 6" high - of mail I have to answer which
has accumulated while I have been away. I will get you some items on the
Builders' Centre before too long.
FROM THE OLD COUNTRY
Late again with my newsletter, the ed' will be sacking me - lets hope he does
then I can relax a bit come each month end!. Late this time because I
have been wanting to tell you that we have got our second Seawind airborne
from our Builders' Assistance Centre in Lithuania and what a saga it has been!
I came here five weeks ago now with the intention of staying for only two
weeks to complete the flight testing schedule and check the owner out on his
aircraft. Two days ago I managed to get her into the air - at last!
Why so long, well for any builder who has put as many bells and
whistles, avionics, reversing propeller, brand new engine etc in their own
aircraft as this one, they may well appreciate the hassle and time involved.
I am not going to be too specific with trade names, but should anyone be
contemplating the latest equipment, non SNA, you can install, especially
avionics, read on and give me a call before you do think of going ahead. For
you who have already had this experience have a laugh and say, "I could
have told you so!" Stay with those round black things with white
needles in front of you - I say.
This aircraft comprises nose wheel steering, a reversible prop', a brand
spanking new engine and what I believe to be the most expensive of the latest
EFIS systems. The actual installation of the latter delayed us by months
getting the various parts - we are still waiting for the fuel pressure
sender, even now! I came into the fray after the EFIS had been installed
but yet to be set up. I feel we have to be experts on this system now,
certainly here in Europe. With the mass of e-mail information, NOT IN THEIR
MANUALS, that they had to give us, (but only after we had requested it),
has increased the size of their pretty sales-type literature hiding under the
names of 'Installation Manual' and 'Pilots Operating manual' by at least 45%
in each volume. Our (amended) manuals are now that much wider than the
original ones!! Yes, we have now got it to work, about 80% well, but
only after all of the above information which it appeared that we had to drag
out of them and which was given to us very reluctantly. It is amazing just
what can be hidden from ones eyes inside a computer! It is the 'need to
know' basis gone berserk.
Many of the problems started when we changed the units from U.S. to metric.
A reasonable action one would assume when not living in the U.S. They
have now told us that their unit change software is "Giving
troubles" to quote them. That alone cost us days and days of work to
rectify. The fuel calibrating system required a full loading of the tanks,
de-fuelling and loading carefully up in increments of 10%. At the end of
each decimal load, you clicked the key on the key board to register it to the
EFIS. Sounds easy, but not so. The change of units had upset ALL
the readings. When that was sorted out, a few days later, the key board
registered two increments instead of one for several of the clicks!
After yet more de-fuellings and fuellings we again e-mailed to the
Manufacturers only to be told, "Yes we have noticed this is a problem
with our software, the way to deal with it is ....................."
Why, oh why are not the purchasers of such VERY expensive equipment told of
this problems in the first place in the installation manuals? So another week
Now, when ready to get airborne a second time and after the many usual little
tweaks necessary to leap into the air again, I have found that the EFIS
read-out, of the IAS, jumps very prettily and frequently from zero to 35
knots while the aircraft is still rock steady on the ground. I have no idea
whether that is a random error or a zero error which I have to chance on
finals! Do I approach at the higher figure, only to find I am 35 knots
too slow in reality, or do I settle for the lower figure to find the shortish
runway here is rapidly coming to an end before my very eyes before I have
touched down? Thank goodness for the old standby black dial with the white
finger! However which one do I really believe when I need it?
One of the other bits of fun and games on the first flight was the over
speeding of the prop as the engine lost power each time, yes 3 times in all,
before I could get back to the terra firma of base! Why did I stay up
for 25 minutes with that situation, well frankly while trying to keep a
bucking bronco airborne, navigation was not my first priority and I had
lost my way back to base for a while. Why did I not put the airfield
into the 'user airports' so I knew where to turn to get back home, you ask?
Well this very expensive all singing and dancing EFIS is not capable of
accepting user airports into its Navigation Display! This will be
available next year, they tell us. No mention on their sales literature of
this shortfall in the normal GPS capabilities which all GPS users have long
since come to accept as being the norm. Nor did they tell us that feeding a
VOR radial or an ILS into the Primary Flight Display is not yet (again)
The first two engine power losses were interesting but I got used to it on the
third approach into some farmers field before I got the 'donc' to kick back
into life again. It is a long time, in fact since Royal Air Force fighter
pilot days, when I have looked up at power cables while in an aircraft in
flight! In an attempt to get the engine to go again, before I arrived
unceremoniously back to terra firma, I had not kept the levers in the optimum
positions, (other things than such niceties on my mind), and so the engine RPM
had raced away as the engine burst into life again.
Before you ask, "Did you do a complete run up check"? Yes, I
did, just like Mike Bowes did before his engine unceremoniously and
unexpectedly stopped on him. Very possibly much better so, as it was to be the
first flight, not one after many flights where you begin to know the
idiosyncrasies of one's aircraft. I did several run up checks, prior to
this flight very, very carefully observing and analysing every engine
parameter that our fancy EFIS could give us, and all were perfect. All
were recorded in detail, on a form I had made out, all for prosperity and
comparative assessment needs in the future. They showed every trend of
the engine through many different stages of engine performance to be perfect.
With the exception of the number 6 EGT, which had been unserviceable from
receipt and we were living without that nicety - it read a constant of 2,600
degrees!. However the power check only show the engine situation at that
moment, it can not prognosticate, and so away you go!
So why all the fun and games in the air, I think I had better leave that one
out, as the possible implications could not be nice? Again, should anyone wish
to contact me before you contemplate buying such equipment and certainly
before 'leap into the wild blue yonder' with a similar set-up of new expensive
goodies, I will be only too pleased to give you full details.
One element of this fancy EFIS is that you can play back ALL the parameters
that the various parts of the system give you every 5 seconds for the previous
five hours of engine operation. They are very revealing, and in this
case even more so, and show the situation just as any self respecting
court of enquiry would love to have to crucify pilots for their misdemeanors.
They showed the loss of engine power, each time, the engine surge and over
speed, (just within the max RPM permissible overspeed limits, thank God, so
the engine and prop are OK), as it started again, the loss of height, the
proximity to the ground, I was at three times, while still debating whether to
arrive on a road wheels down or a field wheels up. The loss of CHT and EGT on
the cylinders etc. it makes interesting reading!
After all of the above I firmly believe that this aircraft does come down
slowly, I cannot verify the 10.9 glide ratio on that particular flight as I
was 'kinda busy with other urgencies', but it felt even better than
that, as I felt I had time to contemplate matters in the decision line, each
time while busy trying to rekindle the flames in all the cylinders.
Perhaps it was case of 'practice makes perfect', I do not know! Somehow
there is a comforting feeling about the Seawind that does pacify one. It
is the fact that the aircraft is so strong that personal injury would be very
low, if the worse came to the worse and you have to put down inadvertently.
You feel as though you have a protective cage around you. Something not
felt on spam cans!
I have now discovered the hard way that you must not take for granted the
assumption that is new is OK and could be relied upon. This time I
proved that it was far from being the case and I will be even more suspicious
of everything brand spanking new in future. Call me 'old fashioned but I
do like the 'tried and tested'!
I have to say that the nose wheel steering is very useful and the reverser
propeller is great, if having to be a little chary of tipping on one's tail
when going backwards on the ground. The combination of the two has impressed
folk in this part of the world where most of the aircraft there are antiques
and would be better in the Smithsonian, even when compared to the normal aged
Cessna one flies around in back home.
Roll on flight number two and if it is half as good as the first flight with
the first Seawind we built here, it will be heaven!
P.S. I have now flown the aircraft another time, for the two hours
required to run in the new engine at 75%. Going round and round in small
circles is not my idea of flying. My good old Garmin hand held - yes I
carried it with me - looks like a spiders web of path design. The previous
bugs are virtually eliminated and, although not very clearly defined yet, as I
was limited to 5 kms round the field, the book figures for 75% cruise were
well and truly there. That is going on the more pessimistic of the two
IAS indications as well. We are now waiting for the EAU to come back to us,
hopefully with ALL the snags rectified, and then back to the snows to continue
flying. We are still waiting for the fuel pressure sender which should have
been with us five months ago now! Also the promised 'exchange note' for
the EAU has still to arrive before technically we are allowed to send it back
to the manufacturers. Promises, promises!
Received by ISPA: November, 2002.
Brent [& ISPA],
Now with my new found - again - ability to access your pages, I have been
fascinated with the 'history' pages etc.. Possibly you do not know but I
have been concerned with the Seawind now for, I think it is, 20 years, before
even Dick got interested! I have spent a LOT of time at Haliburton and
know both the Creelman brothers VERY well, as I do their son Kirk Who in
all reality, was responsible for the design and completion of the Seawind,
just before Dick took it over, not Len, at that stage, as thought so by many,
I believe. I know the original place where the first Seawind was built,
(actually where Kirk now lives), and I have seen the original drawings made by
Roger on the back of some plaster board panels. Sadly I believe these now have
since disappeared. The very famous 'Victoria and Albert', museum here in
London, wanted to have them for a major exhibit to show the result of a
project from inception to completion. So far, and I think it now is too late,
they were not released by Roger, as he them had fitness problems with his
lovely wife, who is now in a nursing home with Alzheimer's disease.You are, I
am sure, acquainted with the two Bond 007 fiascos, which make interesting, if
I believe that I could have the BIGGEST and most comprehensive set of Seawind
newsletters dating well way back to the 80's. It is my understanding that the
first professional test pilot was, (I believe), not Elton, but was a guy
called Murray Morgan of Montreal. The first real assessment test flights took
place at Uplands Airport, where I first saw the Seawind in all its 'primitive
glory! I also believe that Dick Moore could now be dead. I was hugged by his
ex-lady friend, whom I had not seen for years, at Sun 'n Fun this year who
told me that Dick was seriously ill with cancer.
I have quite a lot of the original air to air video test shots of the aircraft
when it was being flown in Florida.They are in the European PAL system. There
are some good shots of the 'tufting' we put on it, to show air flow patterns.
I remember well when I was above the Seawind, checking on the flow breakaway
nearing the stall on the horizontal stabilizer, when to my consternation, I
realised that I could well stall before the Seawind. Being only three to four
feet above the Seawind I thought this not to be a good idea! We temporarily
faired off the hull step to see the effect of the air break away behind the
step, as one experiment. This showed the break away to be not much less than
with the normal step, but which increased appreciably if the step was higher.
This was made evident when the Allison turbine aircraft was much redesigned
with a higher step. Even with a 50% increase of power it made the aircraft
very little faster. It was thought that was the reason.
You can still see the 'finger prints' of Roger on a Seawind - ready to fly
just now - in Ron Greeley's aircraft at Marathon, on the Keys. Roger finished
it for Ron and there are several of the original design features encompassed
therein. The hull and engine cowlings are the same as on the original
aircraft. Sadly it has yet to fly, to prove Roger's ideas, one way or the
That's it for now. Hope this has given you a few thoughts. Did I
send you a précis of the first flight this month of our second Seawind built
in Lithuania? No photos yet, we decided to do the first flying still in white
undercoat, so it looks a bit drab. When painted and upholstered, it should
look great! I have now carried out another flight of two hours
duration, which was somewhat better behaved than was the first flight! Not
Seawind problems, I have to say, purely the problems of the equipment on
While on equipment, can you ask folk what sort of goodies they have put into
their Seawinds? New engines, EFIS, avionics, reversible props, auto pilots
etc. I would like to know
how they have gone on with the installation of these and also to find out how
they have faired with them when installed. Nose wheel steering comments would
be a good idea as well. A reverse prop and nose wheel steering are an
A few shots for you. All Seawinds do not have the pleasures of sun to enjoy,
as you see in our Lithuanian picture.!
Keep up the good work, it makes fascinating reading.
Received by ISPA: Winter, 2001.
A letter from Tony Irwin
I promised that I
would give you more details about the first flight of a Seawind completed at
our European Builders' Centre here in
. For those you have finished
and flown their own aircraft, you are free to stop reading at this point,
for others and possibly the folk in the warmer climes of the world, it might
be of interest to you.
Several days ago now we flew the first Seawind to be completed at the
'Builder's Assistance Centre' in
. Finishing the aircraft, as with
all home build aircraft, took somewhat longer than we had anticipated, due
in large to the usual reasons that befall all home-builds - plus several
others. Our main difficulties were those that befall
any first set-up of a company in a foreign country, the training
curve - of course, plus translation, difficulty of obtaining parts from so
far away, training in the 'black art' of Imperial measurement and American
tooling etc. Add this to the
final delays due to bad weather with crosswinds and iced, unswept runways
not being conducive to the first flights of any aircraft, let alone a high
performance light aircraft like the Seawind!
chose not to paint her yet, she is only in a light grey undercoat finish.
This aircraft now flying, belongs
to Bruce Beckwith, who had part
built the aircraft earlier in America and had visited us several times to
work on his aircraft in our factory throughout all the various technical
requirements that make up the aircraft building process. Bruce thus meets
the FAA/EAA requirements for home builds. This aircraft is basically very
much a VFR aircraft with minimum equipment just now, but will be
retro-fitted with the new - still unknown AFIS system built in
, the 'Brightline' system.
This system will then be exhibited around
with the Seawind, the various CAAs
permitting of course! It is
hoped that with several nations being involved in the aircraft, it will
facilitate its tours throughout
Although on that account, we have received a lot of verbal and
written support from several of the JAA countries, all of whom have been
acquainted with the Seawind over many years.
Briefly, on that score, there are definite signs that
is seeing the sanity of the
American way of aviation life, with both home builds and amphibians, also
, at least the South East,
Bavarian, part of the country. We
are all still waiting for the JAA combined agreement on home builds which is
yet to be announced.
During the rather intensive
ground/ fast taxi trials before the first flight,
I was amazed just how well it preformed in very bad conditions.
At one stage the runway was a mass of quite deep ice ruts which gave
a very rough taxi ride, but not a sign of any nose wheel judder throughout.
My major problem was turning at the ends of the runway.
With no purchase on the inside, braked wheel, I had to have someone
push me round! This aircraft did not have the nose wheel steering which
would have alleviated this problem, incidentally. Doing the engine run up I
had to find a snow drift to give a little more friction to get up to the
1,700 RPM required for a mag check. Somewhat
like checking the engine in the water, I thought, but without the area of
manoeuvrability normally associated with water work.
The weather was so cold
and inclement for initial flying, (a temperature about minus 20 ° C [minus
4 ° Fahrenheit], sometimes 6 inches [ 15 cms] of snow on packed ice or
sometimes 3 inches [7.5 cms] of glass ice where you could see the runway
markings below the ice), that the otherwise good heater could not cope and I
found myself sitting on my hands to keep them warm after only five minutes
of the first flight, no chasing the trim was necessary - she flew like a
dream. The stability and in
trim condition was such that I did not have to touch any of the three axis
electric trimmers other than to later experiment
with them. This included the gear and flap movement condition to a large
extent. They were all in a neutral position on and after I had landed.
The stall characteristics, although at this stage I have only taken
them to the initial signs of the stall, were also very good indeed. A very
slight judder in the clean condition and with a slightly more noticeable
judder a few knots, before the actual break, in the flaps and wheels down
condition. Steep turns, to over
60 degrees of bank at an indicated 100 MPH, were sound and steady, no sign
of incipient stall judder.
As I write I have now
flown over 6 absolutely trouble free hours in the aircraft, with several
landings. I was surprised that
it flew so well and without the snags usually encountered in the problematic
first few flights of any aircraft. I
described the first flight, in calm conditions, as being 'ethereal' to the
guys on the ground upon my arrival back to a champagne and caviar mini-party
- no ice needed here! Yes
possibly a strange adjective for an aircraft, but it really was, it was out
of this world! The large
Plexiglas window gave a great view of the icy countryside below as she just
floated around, ghost-like, in the air. The docility was akin to the good
old Cessna-152 at slower speeds but with a real push to her when I opened up
the throttle. Again, but who will believe this, out of 21,000 flight hours
on over 90 different aircraft, I have to state quite categorically, it was
one of the most electrifying, fascinating
and memorable flights of my life. The future will consist of more
finite analysis of the aircraft's flight envelope and performance.
To date, obviously, I have not taken her into water, the water in
now four foot thick of solid ice,
being one reason, the cold being the other, but if she behaves as well as
she has done to date, (and as many of the other Seawinds do), I anticipate
no snags. This pleasure will
come early next summer when we will visit the many lovely lakes and wide
slow flowing rivers, with the
riparian houses and castles many of whose owners have already extended an
warm welcome to us. This will
be the first amphibian aircraft seen in
, in living memory of anyone there.
This same will apply to several other European countries as well, of
course, as amphibian aircraft are a real rarity.
Also there are several Members of the Lithuanian Parliament awaiting
to have a ride when we can oblige. It is a very aviation minded country
which is an added bonus and pleasure. The next Seawind,
to be completed for summer next year, will be equipped to a Rolls
Royce standard with the latest UPS Apollo radio and
AFIS navigation system, the Sierra 2000 with the digital gyro and the
Goodrich Storm scope, total value of all these bells and whistles in front
of the pilot, will be approaching the $100,000 level alone. This will be
worth seeing as the Seawind flying now is sparse in comparison until it
flies back to the
where much more work will be
carried out on the bells and whistle aspect. Bruce is looking forward to
seeing as much of
first, from the air, before he
takes his aircraft back home.
Now, after this overly long initiation period with our first
aircraft, we are all geared to go with other Seawinds, and even other
aircraft should people so wish. All the past work, on the first aircraft, is
fully computerised with detailed work schedules and parts requirement in
place, all is in great detail on our up to date Auto CAD system.
We have organised our workshop so that each part of the construction
will be a simple task of allocating the correct hardware and parts to each
task, this will include the more exact estimate of man hours that each item
will take to complete. The future build time will be less than half
of the first aircraft and one can assume will be even better than the
first, if that could be so from the excellent flying qualities, rigging and
finish of the first aircraft. The tail to wing tip, (well flap outboard edge
as this is about the only positive point to measure from with an aircraft
with so many curves), rigging
check gave a difference of less than ¼" [3 mms] from left to right
All the best everyone and a great happy, and successful new year in