Sun 'n Fun: 2007
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What a difference a few years makes. In 2005-06 we had a few owner built Seawinds in attendance. This year there were no Seawinds to be found, except for the company's N46SW and the #1 certification test aircraft, C-GDBS. It was quite a treat to see the test aircraft there. It was enroute from the midwest to Canada in order to continue the testing process. I have included pictures of it below.
The aircraft was literally crammed full of computers and sensors and was sporting the spin chute on the tail. I talked with Dick Silva at some length and he sounded very positive with the progress. Of course, he would like to see everything finished by now but at least it's still making forward progress. That in itself is a huge accomplishment, especially when working with the government.
Dick mentioned that they have learned an immense amount in the testing program, but the overall changes needed thru certification have been small due to our robust design.
Some noticable changes, include: trim tabs with a second bracket connected to a dampener (in case of trim tab acuator rod disconnect), vortex generators/fences on the outboard leading edge, and of course different gear location and operation. There is also a change to the flaps as they will be driven at the middle rib. Dick did mention that he will publish facts learned during certification. He still needs to wait until testing is finished as the items learned are in a constant state of flux. He also mentioned that the items they have learned during certification may not be applicable to Seawinds that have been modified from the original manuals. The cowling is a much cleaner installation with the Continental under the hood (bonnet as Tony would call it!). No scoop under the cowling , very clean indeed. There is a narrow scoop on the top of the engine cowling.
The beautiful N73NT has found a new home. (photo from prior Sun n Fun)
Our old friend Tony Irwin was also in attendance. It's always great to hear Tony announce during the manufacturers' showcase. He always adds that international flair to the presentation. His son-in-law is under his tutelage now and was learning the Seawind. He has been helping Tony during the European airshows. I did ask about the Lithuanian builders' center and one aircraft has been completed and shipped back to the United States. The other aircraft they were working on has been finished and is one of the most high-tech Seawinds built to date. Unfortunately for the owner, he is no longer able to fly it due to a job change to another part of the world. Unfortunately that particular country does not allow homebuilt aircraft. Any European interest in this high tech Seawind please contact Tony Irwin. His contact information can be found on the www.seawind.biz website.
Hopefully some Seawinders will get together over the weekend at Sun n Fun and we can get an update and some photos from some of those folks. Any other observations or comments from attendees, please let me know so I can include them here. firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos of C-GDBS Test Aircraft
Click on each thumbnail image below for a larger view.