International Seawind Pilots Association

Seawind: The Airplane

by Brent A Carlson PE

Fourth Edition April 2022-B: Over a span of more than 20 years, the author purchased, built, and flew his own high performance amphibious seaplane from a kit; a Seawind. This is the story of his personal experience, the Seawind, and some of the people he met along the way. Seawind: The Airplane is 392 Pages.

If you would like to purchase a copy of “Seawind: The Airplane” please contact Brent at "seawindN66SW@gmail.com".

THE HANGAR

Welcome to the ISPA

The ISPA is an organization of Seawind builders, pilots, and enthusiasts. We have no formal agreements or affiliation with SNA Inc., the manufacturer of the Seawind airplane.

Our organization began in September 1994 when our first printed newsletter was published by Dick Adams in Canada. For a few years, we published printed newsletters. Following Dick's effort, Mike Bowes became the editor of the newsletter through the year 2000.

Following publication of the winter 2001 printed newsletter, this web site was created by Rod Teel to take the place of the printed newsletters, and to provide an interactive forum (The Hangar) in which our membership can share helpful hints, answers to questions, and insights on building, flying, and enjoying the Seawind.

Building any kit plane is a monumental undertaking. One of our main goals is to provide objective, unbiased, and helpful information about building and flying the Seawind. For a sample of the type of information discussed by our members, see the "Seawind Piloting" page.

We also want to provide a method of communication for planning travel and flying opportunities for all of our members, whether or not they have a flying Seawind. The highly successful Fly-in in September 2003 is a great example of how well this can work.

We invite you to explore our site. The only places you can't go until you're a member are the Members Only section and The ISPA Hangar, our members-only discussion board system. No matter what your interest level in the Seawind, we invite you to join us. You do not need to own a Seawind to join. If you have any questions or comments please email us.

Why is this site and the information it contains important? Short answer, it is a matter of life and death. For just one, and the first example, if someone buys an existing Seawind and crawls in the back to work on it, and opens a fuel line, they are extremely likely to die instantly from a “confined space” or “oxygen deficient atmosphere incident.” Two persons died this way in the beginning of Seawind building. To this day, very few people know about this kind of hazard.

The Seawind is not an ordinary airplane. They are not currently being manufactured. From the late 1980 until 2003, 171 kits were originally sold. Even though the safety record of the Seawind was horrible, and several were lost, primarily due to pilot ignorance and error, there are still a few out there, and people are buying them and restoring them.

Seawinds require special piloting and very specialized and complex maintenance knowledge. Much of the original information from the manufacturer was misleading and wrong. For example the company advertised that they could be flown by low time pilots capable of flying a Cessna 172. While this may approach the truth under fair weather and normal conditions, it certainly does not apply for abnormal flight conditions in a Seawind.

The most recent demonstration of this fact was the chilling story of Seawind N8UU in July 2021. Seawind N8UU was purchased by an unsuspecting buyer, and the aged, surly, crotchety seller provided no help whatsoever about the airplane, which had been sitting for years. In attempting to fly it home, the buyer had seven incidents in seven days as he flew across the country, ending in a crash and loss of the airplane in Lake Michigan. There are so many things about this story that are just plain sad, and could have been averted had the information provided here would have been readily available. The buyer is very lucky to be alive, he lost a huge investment, and one of the few remaining Seawinds is more than likely lost forever at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

There are a few persons that we know of who are now refurbishing and or flying Seawinds. During the years since the late 1970s there have been volumes of information about all of the unique characteristics of Seawinds. Our goal in establishing and maintaining this website is to make the required information readily available to all who are interested in the Seawind. As can be seen from this brief thumbnail sketch about Seawind uniqueness, this could very well save someone's life.