In attendance this year were Splash-In veterans including Keith Walljasper, George & Joan Osborne, Earl Boeve, Bob Anthis, Fred Lohr, Tom & Sandy Saccio, Ed & Mary Lou Lynch, Jack & Lyndia Ardoyno, Larry Sapp, John Ricciotti, Chad Fey, Mark Maloney & his son Alex , Dorian Olson, Larry Brunzlick, and Bill Hayes .
We are very excited to see the Splash-In growing with many new Seawinders joining us, including: Lynn Swann, Gene Underland, Rick Bulger, Ken Aldrich, Chris Dougherty from Planemakers, Ron Greeley, Reed Siebert and Russ Kotlarek. The attendees ranged from recent kit buyers to seasoned Seawind pilots.
After our introductions, we were treatted to a talk by Chris Dougherty from Planemakers on Seawind construction techniques. Chris entertained questions ranging from Planemakers current customer projects to a myriad of technical questions. Chris also invited every Seawinder (including those not in attendance) to call with any technical questions. A long discussion ensued on the proper angle of incidence of the tail relative to the hull and wing. Planemakers latest creation, Dick Wolf's Seawind, was described in detail and all were envious. Hopefully next year we'll see Dick's Seawind here at the Splash-In.
Another topic discussed was the need to lock the water rudder handle in the up position. Numerous inadvertant water rudder deployments have occured after firm landings. The small gas spring does not seem up to the job. Chris stressed the need to keep battery/starter cable wires separated from signal wires. He mentioned that it's best if they are in opposite longerons. Also in the shop were Seawind projects from Chad Fey, John Parks, Brent Carlson and Lynn Swann.
Next up was a live demonstration from Russ Kotlarek on iVisit video conferencing. Russ demonstrated the ease of setup and use of the software and service. Russ has signed up for one year which will allow all Seawinders to join the service free of charge. The iVisit service will allow up to 16 people to confrence at one time. The program should help motivate our builders and help answer technical questions in a real-time environment. Chris from Planemakers offered to sign up and have their system running during the work day. This is going to be a HUGE benefit to our builders.
After the morning session we broke for lunch at Grand Ma's in downtown Duluth. The afternoon was filled with flying Seawinds for all to enjoy. The local news station, Channel 6 came down for an interview and a flight. The reporter taxied in with a huge smile on her face. She was treated to quite a ride that even the folks on the ground enjoyed. The flight was on the 10 o'clock news that evening. I guess it had made quite an impression as even the local airport crowd was raving about it.
That evening we had a barbecue at Sky Harbor Airport that was just wonderful. Lyndia and Jack Ardoyno put on quite a feast with barbecued pork, chicken and a fantastic array of salads. Also helping out were Sandy Saccio and Mary Lou Lynch. More socializing followed and we all heading back to our hotels exhausted after a very full day.
George Osborne began the day with a description of the Fly-around planned for the end of the Splash-In. The idea was very well received but due to only 3 flyable Seawinds in attendance, it didn't happen this year. Next year might be a different story as 2 more recent fliers promised to bring their new Seawinds next year to make it a 5 ship fly-around.
Next up was a very informative talk given by Larry Sapp on his early Seawind flying experience. Larry bared all and it was very helpful for all in attendance. Larry only started flying after buying his Seawind kit. He said the learning curve was steep but everything changed when he started flying with Jack Ardoyno. He could not stress enough the importance of getting good instruction.
Larry made some techical points on the electrical system and one in particular that bothered his Seawind was a bad ground in the connection at bulkhead (BH) 36 just forward of the instrument panel. Larry noted that because of a ground lug installed improperly thru the foam core he ruined a starter, alternator, voltage regulator and some other miscellaneous electronics. In all he figured out that he spent over $3000 tracking down the problem. He only discovered the culprit by his nose. He could smell the arcing thru the bad ground. Not very comforting considering the recent fire suffered in N8025Q which resulted in a total loss. Initial indications is that the fire originated somewhere in the high power area in this BH area. What Larry discovered is that the foam core of BH 36 crushed and the ground lug became loose, creating the bad connection. He strongly recommends that anyone with a thru bulkhead connection to check the security of that connection before it becomes and issue. Of course, reinforcing with chopped fiberglass and resin at ALL BH attachments is highly recommended.
Following Larry, Keith Walljasper gave some enlightening stories on learning to fly the Seawind. Keith's background was flying single-engine Cessna's and flew a flying club Piper Lance. Keith received his 10 hrs for insurance requirements by flying with Mike Bowes. After that Keith flew until he had amassed 23 hours of experience and then headed for Bloomington, Illinois. One of the best pieces of advice Keith offered was to fly within your experience level. Keith noted that many single-engine aircraft accidents involve, night, IFR or fuel exhaustion. He limits his exposure to these statistical facts by not flying at night, in IMC and by landing with at least 2 hours of fuel as his personal minimum. With 110 gallons of fuel capacity, the Seawind has plenty of room for that extra insurance fuel. Keith now has 280 hours during the past 5 and 1/2 years on N80CC. He has also competed in 5 air races. It's always a treat to see Charlie Charlie among the race planes at EAA's Airventure.
George Osborne talked briefly about his Seawind experience and mentioned that the most important thing he does EVERY year is to fly a refresher with Jack Ardoyno. Just like the airlines, George keeps himself 'current' to provide that extra level of safety. In case some of our audience is not familiar with George's principal use of his Seawind, he uses it to commute between the Philadelphia area to his beautiful lake front home on Lake Elora in Minnesota. It's the perfect cross-country airplane for that mission.
The day's seminars ended with a great recap of the Seawind, both construction and flying by the world's most experienced Seawinder by number of Seawinds flown. Early on during the Seawind years, Mike Bowes provided much of the experience that insurance companies (and the owners!) wanted in order to be safe Seawind pilots. Now, Jack is probably the only accessible resource for new and experienced Seawinders. He recently completed his beautiful Allison powered Seawind and brought it to Sky Harbor for all to see. Unfortunately, N888SW succumbed to a nose landing gear attach failure which was brought to all Seawinders attention at last year's Splash-In. Fortunately, the Seawind design is such that damage was minimal with the offending part rewelded and ready to be installed the next day. A by-product of Jack's misfortune is that the folks at Sky Harbor are now experts at the welding fix that needs to be accomplished and will weld and ship back to you your reinforced part. Just email your editor for the contact information.
The flying discussion began with Jack noting that he will be publishing a 'flying the Seawind' document on our website with the years of experience compiled into an easy to read guide. We have had a 'flying the Seawind' guide before on the ISPA website but was removed at the request of the author. We thank Jack for helping the Seawind community with this important learning tool. Another suggestion was that formation flying a few Seawinds would be great fun and Jack would love to help make this happen. Ed Lynch offered to be the Stan Eval officer to help this come to fruition. Ed flies a lot of formation at his fly-in community down in Florida.
A great discussion was had about the capabilities of the Seawind design. Jack mentioned that it was designed early on in the composite boom and was over-built. I think that has been proven in some off airport landings, especially with Dick Silva's experience with the Hartzell reversing prop accident. Dick and the test pilot walked away after what most likely would have been deadly in most land planes. That said. Jack believes that the turbine Seawinds will have the capability of stretch the Seawind flight envelope, especially off the water. Most builders are familiar with the achilles heel weakness of the Seawinds rather fragile main landing gear. I believe that the acknowledgement of this is that the certified Seawind will share many parts of our amateur-built Seawinds but not the landing gear. Getting the landing gear out of the hull and into the wings provided Seawind certified with a more robust main landing gear. It also allowed driving the flaps from the center hinge area for an improved design.
Jack's treatise of flying was covered in a handout given to all Splash-In attendees. It was an advance copy of what will be on the website shortly. Among subjects covered were recommendations against spinning the Seawind (hopefully Seawind certified with explore that envelope and we can put it to rest for good). He does not recommend 'beaver tails' on the ends of the sponsons. He noted the hull design (i.e. spray rails) sloping inward can create a tendency to 'dig in' during step taxi if not kept straight with the rudder. Step taxi is right around 40 knots plus/minus 3 knots. The porpoise correction is BACK PRESSURE. If things get too exciting Jack says to cut power and hold back on the yoke. Jack has been in one Seawind where a nose gear door was lost due to bad bounce correction.
One item you don't want to try is a downwind takeoff. Jack says this is WAY too exciting! .......... (rest of recap in progress..... please come back later.) .