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Sun n' Fun 2005 saw at least 5 Seawinds in attendance. A highlight of the event was Keith Walljasper earning Best Composite Amphibian for N80CC. Keith attends 'ALL' of the major events with his Seawind and is always finding fun ways to enjoy his ultimate amphibious machine.
Seawind, SNA was there with promising news concerning the certification of the Seawind design. They are hoping to have an airplane flying this fall. Also in attendance was George Osborne with the beautiful N184WL. George had just finished his second condition inspection (annual) and has fine tuned his Seawind to be an extremely reliable cross-country cruiser. He will see many round trips this season between the Philadelphia area and Duluth, Minnesota. Try that trip in a normal amphib!
Also it was learned that another beautiful Seawind was for sale. N73NT owned by Nancy and Ted El Hajj is for sale and it is a beauty. Details will be on the Seawinds for Sale page shortly. Reluctantly, Nancy and Ted have put it on the market as part of downsizing and simplification of their lives. Nancy's accurate portrayal of the Seawinds flying characteristics were instrumental in refuting initial reports that the Seawind needed after-market modifications to improve it's handling characteristics. Nancy's testimony and vast flying experience quelled any rumors that the Seawind was not a great flying, stable machine. Nancy and Ted's input to the Seawind community will be sorely missed.
Another Seawind present was the former N83FB which was built by Fred Benton. It was originally equipped with a 340HP Demers Lycoming engine and had radar installed in a pod on the right wingtip. The pod is still there but I'm not sure about the installed equipment since I did not get to see it at the show.
I great synopsis of the event was given by ISPA member Tom Saccio. His description follows:
Sun N Fun was great. There were 5 Seawinds there - one of which I didn't know existed. It was owned by a fellow by the name of Schaeffer from FL. I think it was Kit #46. After he landed, he was taxiing on the grass and the nose wheel collapsed. The weld, just forward of the strut, completely separated. Evidently it was a very poor weld job. I believe he had it repaired with the help of Paul Marshall and I was told he was on his way by Sunday.
Other than that, the plane was beautiful. Ed and Mary Lou's barbecue was the highlight of the event. About 15 people attended, including Dick Silva and his gang. Dick was very open about the Seawind and the problems they had been having. He now seems to think that he's got it all together and they will probably have a plane flying by the fall with certification coming (if all goes well) 3 months after that. He also said that he didn't want the Seawind kit folks to think that he has been avoiding them - he's just been extremely busy. He wanted to make sure that everybody at SNA was giving us all the help we needed.
We told him that everyone has been terrific and that Paul Marshall has been super. He discussed all the changes that the kit builders have made to their planes. As we all know, he's not pleased with that. But he takes it personally every time some crashes one and Seawind gets blamed for it; when basically none of the accidents have been attributed to the plane itself. He said that if they didn't go for certification, Seawind would be out of business by now.
As for my own plane, I just passed the 2900 hour mark in 6 years. Hopefully I will be flying next year with the help of God and the Saints on the wall. Jack Ardoyno and his wife Lynda visited with us a few weeks ago. He looked over my plane thoroughly and thought that everything was fine. Except that the nose wheel steering motor was hitting the strut on the downward motion. He suggested that we shim the stops back a little to keep it from hitting. That seemed to solve the problem. I recently sent my Matco brakes back to Matco to have them upgraded to their latest version. They seem to think that this will improve the brakes tremendously. Sorry for being so long-winded. Blame it on Brent. Congratulations to Keith - he does have a very beautiful airplane. Tom Saccio.
The beautiful N73NT owned by Ted and Nancy El Hajj is looking for a new home (preferably near the water!).