Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1997. Pages 95 thru 102.


Vol.4 No.2. Page 103 March 1997

In Ottawa, in the garden, the snow is still eighteen inches deep. The icicles drip slowly in the bright sunshine and any day now our first migrant birds start looking for nests. In one more week it will be Spring! This means that we have five months outside and seven months working in the hangar. You Floridians don't know how lucky you are. Last year we had a family of swallows who must have built three or four times in under the cowling. In the end after sealing up everything we found they had re-established in through one of the bolt inspection covers in the stabiliser. The thought of hooking out squeeling young was too much and we suffered their presence until quite suddenly they disappeared. We ran the engine a couple of times in that period but somehow they survived. This Spring such unfinished business is not so visible but the offending hole is still covered with plastic tape because the opening was not the standard size and needs working on...its one of many "little" jobs to finish.

This month Mike (Bowes) has kindly resubmitted his column after I managed to loose his one and only original...the second boob of the month was when I wrote my phone number in place of my Fax number...press on...it should have been (613) 749-1532 of course. I have a phone ring selector which works 50% of the time. At others it works for a minute then senses a voice call and hangs up !!

Welcome to Jim Collins (203 777-1779) and Dean Rickerson (888-200-8392) from New Haven, Connecticut and Alaska respectively. Dean has his Seawind half built. He is a very experienced water pilot with interesting ideas about reducing the water landing speed. Pete Petersen and Craig Easter as renewing members of course. Pete has decided to stop his Seawind project along with Richard McPhee. It sobers me to hear these things but it does not necessarily mean the project will not be finished by others. After 3,800 hours of personal effort over six years I am aware just how difficult the climb is, especially if single handed and with the pressure of other commitments. This month I have written a couple of pages about what this final stage of building seems to me which might prove interesting for those who are contemplating starting.


This is the first plane, let alone seaplane that I have ever built. I had built pieces of fiberglass boats but my flying experience was limited to Cessna's and that is essentially limited to flying about airports. Why did I then decide to undertake such a venture ? My ignorance of the real effort required helped a great deal, especially in the early stages. The truth of the matter (for me) was that the sight of the plane made my head spin...it turned me on ! In the last two years I have found it almost impossible to predict when we would be finished. Currently five people have been involved with it . This is good in that the "group" can share experience and strengths...that is why I think I would have jumped to join say Mike Bowes group at the beginning.

I am sure time and effort would have been saved and much frustration eliminated. I thought a brief series of diary extracts might give you a feel of the present final stages.

Friday Feb 28th: Mike Lush flies up to Cornwall and spends about seven hours inspecting the "finished" machine. I write down his comments...at the end of the day there are 72 things left to do ! You can bet he missed a few because of time but he certainly found the main ones. He looked at it as a flyer and so many of his comments would have been invaluable in the first year.

March 4th:The use of a panel switches to override a second switch with the exception of the radio master is poor design. The switches should be grouped in functions not arbitrarily strung under the panel with labels that are not visible. Main gear switch and rudder trim are wrong. The ROC is not working. Wiring is still too loose etc. etc. More seriously the main control cables are crossed in several places ! Mike can hear then grinding ! These switch features are corrected but some new switches need reordering. I still cannot find a gear switch from any catalogue and I'm not going to Sun 'N Fun this year. MAYDAY !

March 8th: The RMI Monitor has several functions not working now (they did about two months ago before I started tying things back and stretching leads) OilP, FuelP, OAS...find that the fine stranded teflon coated wire (30 swg) was soldered by me and due to subsequent flexing has cracked apart inside the shrink tubing ! Modify all connections with heavier wire.. Measure up all seat harness tie-downs for right bolt/nut sizes.

Port wing electric conduit missing two functions...find two pins in plug do not match !! why do they come in two sizes...that's asking for trouble. The cables have been banded together several times with ties but are still a mess.

They have to be torn out if ever a lead is to be traced. Order 1000 you'll use them all ! Slowly individually they are sorted out and repacked to leave the middeck cabling clear. At last I can see the control cables...they are clearly crossed.

Thank goodness we had not wired then up but had tensioned them. The Canopy hinges have to be finalized...push pins good idea but not worth the effort are replaced with bolts. The main gear sensors are infra-red beams that are interrupted with metal fingers. The nose finger UP & DN are built and tried by tipping the plane on its tail and GENTLY applying hydraulic pressure. It works...the plane doesn't collapse in a heap and the right lights go on ! The switch for the electric rudder needs relocating back two inches or the right leg will rub.

March 11th: In the hanger again at 8.30a.m. The routine has been the same for six months now but we must get the plane back out into the weather at 4.30 p.m. Get up at six, eat and exercise by seven and take off for airport 100 mins away at 7.15 a.m. The day before is spent in planning what will be done and making sure the tools and parts are with me. Its been dark when I leave and return for many months now but in the last few weeks this has changed. The last six months therefore represent only about 5% of the total effort.

Today going to work on Monitor again. Get MAP, OAT and Flow working...again problems not sensors or computer but wiring. Only the tach (when the engine was last fired is jumping around erratically. The Timer functions make sense. Measured Yoke tube to find suitable insert rod to allow more rigid coupling. Mike says a loose column will drive us mad. With a solid insert one can tighten up more effectively. Have developed a Logic box that screams if you have not put your wheels and Flaps down for Land landing and similarly if you have for the water. A couple of problems remain...however must bring it back for checking. Two more UP/DOWN sensors mounted in middeck. ELT is wired in place...the clip it comes with looks insecure ..better be safe than justify a false alarm ! Measure and order castellated nuts for Flap hinges as Mike says if one fails...you might as well jump.

March 15th:

A late winter storm dumps a foot of snow at airport and the plane cannot be moved inside...another day wasted. The ETF gets another knock. The list has shrunk by 12 items but 60 remain plus those Mike did not find !

Thought I'd use this little space to plead for more calls from you. Remember your news gets sent out to fifty other members who know of someone etc and so problems get solved..but it doesn't have to be problems just say Hi!


Received e-mail from Doug Karlsen saying John Hare's plane is painted and asking for news of our progress. Hope I've given you some Doug. My address for non Compuserve members is INTERNET:102151.2155 @ compuserve.com.

I have been talking to Bert Hoare recently, he is one of those lucky Canadians who gets to work full time all winter in Florida. He is very happy with his first engine tests. All his instruments are A-OK and he sounds very pleased with its performance. (The crunch comes Bert when you climb to 8,000 ft and look at the oil temperature!)

Dick Adams


Over the years, I have noticed that professional aircraft maintenance technicians take great care to eliminate rust and corrosion on engine mount tubing before it has a chance to do any significant damage. I have watched a technician remove an entire exhaust system from a Cessna 185 in order to repair the painted finish on a two inch segment of tubing that had been scorched due to exhaust heat.

Standard fix would be to bead-blast the area, prime and paint it and fabricate a mini-stainless heat shield to prevent a repeat occurrence. This stands to reason, as corrosion of the engine mount tubing, left unchecked, would result in a gradual thinning of the tubing wall until ultimately it could fail in a stress-load situation. Probably just at the right time to really ruin your day!

I have observed on Seawinds that are currently being operated that out beautiful stainless exhaust system runs be the engine mount tubing in the vicinity of the lower Dynafocal mounts, closely enough that it burns the paint. My suggestion is to nip this problem in the bud. The thermal pipe wrap will definitely help and a stainless sheet-metal heat shield can also be fabricated and used to effectively block the radiant heat. We are also looking into having one of the sets ceramic-coated which is currently what the race car drivers are doing. I will have more information on this shortly. Its looks like we have a choice, coating the outside only or both sides. Cost may be around $200.

One other suggestion for those of you who have not yet hung your engine, is to paint your engine mount white. White, or a light colour will facilitate detection of any crack that may develop.

Seaplane service, especially if you take it into rough water frequently is hard on an airframe. Careful inspection of key structural components will be essential in maintaining safety.

In the interest of long term durability, we discarded the Southco 1/4 turn fasteners in favour of Camlocks. The 4002 series...now that's a fastener. Most high pressure cowlings use something along these lines and the Seawind is no different. Yes, they are more expensive, but in the long haul they will be less troublesome and more worth it. An excellent new catalogue that is well worth the $4.00 features a large section on Camlocs and how to properly install them and is available from Skybolt 1(800) 223-1963.

Another catalogue that I received recently that should definitely be included in your technical library is the Aeroworks Inc 1997 Harware and fittings. This is Mike Kobylik's company in Waterford Mich, and he is the new hardware supplier for SNA. It would be nice if we could all support Mike as much as we can. His catalogue is $5.00, a profusely illustrated 63 pages. Get it by calling 1(800)356-1671.

In last month's SNA Newsletter, there was a picture of how I created an air filter access hatch to enable one to service the filter element without removing the lower aft cowling. If you want to do this on your installation, note that the upper end of the element has plenty of clearance to protrude through the cowling skin. By doing this, you will be able to fit a larger element. As I mentioned in a prior writing, get your foam element and stainless screen from Scott Brackett.

Both of the upper cowlings was made in one piece recently. We could identify no particular operational advantage in having it in two pieces. Its structurally stronger, eliminating a seam that would otherwise require about eleven Camlocs ($$$) and its more weatherproof. No raindrops dripping down on your magnetos. The oil filler access door has been done as a round cutout 4" in diameter. It could be smaller if you can get your hand through it. You can see this approach on some of the trophy winning Lancairs. The cutout disc has a flange laid up on its bottom perimeter and it is held in place with a strip of spring steel. At flying speed the dynamic air pressure above the cylinders is also serving to hold it in place. To gain access to the oil filler neck, you simply push the disc down and aside. Its simple, it looks great and its easy to fabricate.

Here is another tip I picked up from Bob Caudle. It is required that we install some kind of fireproof covering at the point where the engine mounts enter the fibreglass structure at station 212, hopefully something that will do the job and look reasonably good and not be a bear to install.

The product he has installed is Firewall 2000 and can be found on page 107 of the current Aircraft Spruce catalogue. Essentially its a thin ceramic blanket faced with an ever thinner layer of stainless sheet. There is an adhesive caulk that comes with it that enables you to bond fitted pieces in place and seal their perimeters, giving a nice finished look. (Talking of fires, the smoke would rapidly fill the aircraft unless the canopy is slightly opened to give positive back pressure. We have still not found a way to firewall the throat of the vertical tail with its dozen or so tubes/cables. . We have used Firewall 2000 its as Mike says...RJA.)

One final item that you should give serious consideration to is a static thermostatic capsule that will close on a temperature rise at about 325 degrees F and illuminate a "Fire Warning" light on the panel. This would be mounted in a section where a gasoline fire is most likely. I have the specs on such a capsule; call me if you want them.

Mike Bowes

This might be a good time to mention that I have designed a set of logic circuits that allow emergencies to be signalled by a red light on the panel and alarms. At present the low fuel in the header puts it on the light, the fire alarm would be a simple addition. Other logic circuits check that the gear is properly up or down (all six stations are examined) and flaps are set at least to 20 degrees depending on the land or water option. By declaring an alarm from within the cockpit the external switch to open the canopy is activated and later is planned to shut down selective power supplies. This is just for interest it has yet to be properly tested in the plane.

Dick Adams


(This article has been abstracted from the Aviation Consumer by Mike Busch (mbusch@avweb.com)

Twenty years ago in the heyday of piston powerplant production, things were different. Lycoming and Continental were working three shifts, cranking out three thousand engines a month, mostly brand new engines for brand new airplanes.

When powerplants got old and tired, they would almost always be overhauled in the field. Factory remans were available, but they cost a King's ransom- in the neighborhood of twenty or thirty thou for a six cylinder reman. (That was a chunk of change back then !)

Owners would opt for a factory engine only if their old engine was a real basket case, or if they were so well heeled that money was no object.

Factory cylinders cost a small fortune too. New power assemblies (cylinders, valves, rockers pistons and rings could set you back $2,000 per jug, plus a $400 core deposit. As a result virtually shop overhauls used reconditioned cylinders-weld-repaired heads, barrels either bored oversize or chrome plated back to new dimensions-and maintenance shops did the same thing when top overhaul was necessary.

Welcome to the 90's folks! My oh my, how things have changed in twenty years ! Continental and Lycoming are mere shadows of their former selves, turning out maybe 600 engines a month between the two of them (in a good month), most of them remans destined for twenty years old airframes. Both companies have finally figured out that hardly anyone is buying new engines any more, and have focused on the aftermarket. Both have slashed the price of reman engines to the point that top-notch overhaul shops can barely compete, and lots of marginal shops( as well as some of the big ones like Schneck and Western Skyways) have gone belly up. Today, factory reman engines account for better than half of the powerplant replacement market. The price of factory new cylinders is half of what it was twenty years ago- more like a third if you consider what has happened to the dollar. Logically then you'd expect that no one would bother reconditioning old cylinders anymore. The compelling economic incentive just is not there.

The Cermichrome Phenomenon

That's what you'd expect. But you'd be dead wrong. Today the cylinder reconditioning business is alive and more vigorous than it ever was. It has transitioned from a cottage industry to a business dominated by two big firms: Engine Components Inc. (ECI) of San Antonio, and Diversified Manufacturing Company (Divco) of Tulsa. The watershed event in this transformation occurred five years ago when ECI introduced is Cermicrome (TM) particle-impregnated chrome-plating process. Cermicrome cylinders made it through the FAA-mandated 150-hour test cell run in fine shape, and seemed to work well for a couple of Part 135 fleet operators who "beta tested" the cylinders for ECI.

Then in a tour de force of aggressive marketing, ECI managed to persuade aircraft owners and mechanics alike that their Cermicrome cylinders (which were after all worn out jugs that ECI weld-repaired, reground, chrome plated and impregnated with silicon carbide particles) were actually better than factory new ones ! Droves of owners started demanding that their mechanics and overhaul shops use Cermicrome cylinders. For awhile, all the big-name overhaul shops (Mattituck, Vixctor, RAM, et al) were recommending Cermicrome as their cylinders of choice. At one point Continental jumped on the bandwagon and offered Cermicrome cylinders as an option on their factory remans ! Meantime industry experts like John Frank of the Cessna Pilots Association and John Schwaner of Sacramento Sky Ranch viewed Cermicrome with some scepticism, and quietly recommended their customers to adopt a wait and see attitude until they had a chance to prove themselves in the field for a few years. This recommendation turned out to be spot on. We now know that Cermicrome cylinders have not held up well in high power, hot running turbo charged engines, nor in low-utilisation owner flown planes subject to long periods if disuse. There have been plenty of cases where Cermicrome jugs required replacement after as little as 500 hours of service. RAM no longer uses Cermicrome cylinders in its engines, and it appears that other big name overhaulers are about to follow suit. ECI has started to gradually phase out Cermicrome in favour of a quite different plating process which they dubbed Cerminil(TM) (See sidebar.)

(Coincidently, Mobil introduced its all-synthetic AV-1(TM) oil about the same time, and marketed it very aggressively. It too became all the rage with owners. Five years later, Mobil withdrew AV-1 from the market because of severe sludging problems. But I digress..)

How Cylinders Wear Out.

When a cylinder needs to be replaced, it is almost always for one of three reasons: metal fatigue, barrel wear, or valve problems. Metal fatigue failures are the culmination of repeated mechanical and thermal stresses. They are increasingly likely in high-time cylinders, particularly reworked cylinders that have been weld-repaired and kept in service for two or three TB)'s. The aluminium head casting gradually becomes embrittled and more vulnerable to cracking. Head cracks are the most common sort of fatigue failures. They usually emanate from a spark plug or ejector hole. Fatigue can also cause catastrophic failure of the head-to-barrel joint. Fatigue failures are more common in turbo charged and other hot running engines, particularly if pilots are not meticulous about avoiding rapid throttle and mixture changes. For example, RAM Aircraft Corpn. in Waco, Texas, is the premier overhaul facility that specializes in high horsepower turbocharged Continental TSIO-520 engines. They were plagued by warranty claims due to head cracks. Finally, in 1988, RAM decided to start using only factory-new cylinders on their engines. Head crack problems dropped precipitously after that.

This amusingly written article will be continued...


Vol. 4. No 3. Page 111. May 1997

This month we sees us still hard at FWFA, trying to finish details...castle nuts, missing washers, cable interference, bulkhead interference, poor wiring joins...labels in all shapes and sizes, the list goes on...even instruments that work on the bench then fail when installed ! But we are getting there. This week we had the pitch controller working at last. Next week we should be about ready to taxi now that a problem with the MLG is fixed.

Last month Craig Easter has sent us a Fax on MLG sensors. Craig runs a shop in Oklahoma and has offered many useful design comments over the years. We have a new Canuck member. Art Wild is from Toronto (416) 532-1962. He is about two years into building and in conversation has several useful improvements to offer such as a simple front seat angle adjustment device. Hopefully more from Art next month. For new members "I" is Dick Adams at 6 Wren Rd., Gloucester, Ontario K1J 7H4 CANADA and I welcome your inputs which can be comments or questions on the Seawind.


We have finished Uli Esser's aircraft (Uli from Germany- should be the first European seawind owner?) and are awaiting the test pilot at the end of April. The saga of the landing gear goes on. We used proximity sensors for the landing gear indicators and that seemed to work well but one must run them through a relay due to the fact that they are rated only in milliamps. The advantage is that you can locate the magnets on the gear and locate the sensor inside where you don't have to worry about water contamination. I stole this idea from Bob Darrah.

The Seawind brakes are horrible. I made a call to Matco to see if any other builders had contacted them and they said they had not. I explained my problem to Phylis, she said that for the brakes to work properly you should have 800-850 psi at the wheel. A quick check with the pressure gauge revealed that I could only get 300 psi while generating cramps in my legs ! Phylis asked if I had Nyflo tubing for brake lines...well yes. Matco have found that Nyflow tubing can expand enough that it reduces the pressure in the system. They recommended that we change to metal tubing. Oh that should be fun now right ? I did not change the tubing but if I was doing it again...guess what ? What I did do was to change the geometry of the rudder pedals by moving the hole where the rudder pedal attaches to the master cylinder aft of its present position by 0.650 inches and then centre the hole 0.375 inches off the bottom edge. It will be necessary to mill back an additional 1 inch of material to the 3/16 inch thickness so you can get the master cylinder back on. What this does is to give your foot greater mechanical advantage as you push down on, lets's say, the right pedal., the pedal comes back towards you slightly instead of going away from you. As Pazmmany would say you need an articulating parallelogram, presently it is wide at the top and not parallel. This modification gave me 550 psi at the wheel, still not enough but at least the aircraft is controllable on the ground as any other aircraft. I also took some Clevand carbon graphite pads and modified them to fit and that seemed to help also.

Craig Easter

A further comment on the brake pedal geometry which was pointed out by Mike Lush on his inspection of FWFA. The angle of the rudder bar and the brake plate is such that one has to splay ones feet out sideways to avoid putting the brakes on when steering ! We are going to put a "fat tube" on the rudder bars that will hopefully hold ones feet off the brakes in the normal position. Any comments Paul ? (Dick Adams)

THE JUG JUNGLE (Continued)

Barrel Blues

Barrel wear usually manifests itself by increased oil consumption and deteriorating compression test scores. It doesn't take much wear to do a cylinder in-most cylinders become unairworthy (beyond service limits) if any portion of the bore measures more than 0.005 inches above new dimensions.

Fortunately, cylinder barrels incur zero wear during normal climb-cruise-descent operation. This is because there is normally no metal-to-metal contact between the cylinder wall and the piston rings. The cylinder wall is coated by a thin oil film, and the rings hydroplane on this film. For this reason its quite common to tear down a high utilisation Part 135 engine at TBO and see the original hone microfinish along the full stroke.

So why do some cylinders suffer significant barrel wear ?

Hot running high horsepower engines, particularly turbo ones tend to suffer barrel wear because the high combustion pressures and temperatures can breach the oil film under extreme conditions. Low utilisation is another major culprit. During periods of disuse the oil film that normally adheres to the cylinder barrel has an opportunity to strip off-particularly if multigrade oil such as Aeroshell 15W-50 or Phillips 20W-50 is used. This has two adverse consequences: corrosion and dry starts. If the cylinder walls are steel, the loss of protective oil film leaves the surface open to corrosion Rust pitting will eventually destroy the cylinder's ability to hold compression. Chrome-plated barrels are relatively immune from such corrosion, which is why they are particularly popular in highly corrosive environments (e.g. near the ocean or in humid climates). Even where corrosion is not a problem, the loss of oil film during periods of disuse results in a dry start- a brief period of metal-to-metal contact between the rings and the cylinder wall until sufficient oil splash has occurred to replenish the film on the walls. Corrosion and dry starts explain why low-utilisation owner-flown airplanes often fail to make TBO or require a mid-time top overhaul. On the other hand freighters and flight school ships that fly every day often go well past TBO without needing top-end work.

Cold Starts

Cold starts spell disaster for cylinders. A single unpreheated cold start (particularly at temperatures below 20 degrees fahrenheit can inflict more damage than one thousand hours of cruise flight ! Contrary to popular belief, cold start damage is not caused by a lack of lubrication, but rather by a loss of piston-to-cylinder clearance. This requires some explanation. When an engine is cold, there is quite a lot of clearance between the piston and the cylinder walls-usually more than ten thou. This is necessary because as the engine heats up to operating temperature, the aluminium piston will expand about twice as fast as the steel cylinder barrel and the clearance will get a good deal tighter and that's okay. But its crucial that there always be a few thou clearance, so that the oil film is not breached and metal-to-metal contact is avoided. During a cold start the piston heats quite quickly, but the cylinder warms up more slowly because it has vastly greater thermal mass and is covered in cooling fins and bathed in frigid air. (The oil film is a poor heat conductor Ed.) Consequently there is often a period of time- where the piston is up to temperature but the cylinder hasn't caught up yet-when the piston-to-cylinder clearance can actually go to zero and result in metal-to-metal scuffing of the piston and cylinder walls.

Ultra-low Oil Consumption

Every time a group of aircraft owners get together, it is inevitable to hear at least one or two bragging about ultra-low oil consumption. "I'm using a quart in forty hours!" These superlow oil consumption figures are often associated with Cermicrome cylinders, and/or with Continental engines equipped with the late style centre-vented oil control ring. The owners who are doing this bragging probably don't realise that they probably won't make it to TBO without a costly mid-term top overhaul! It turns out that ultra low oil consumption is often a bad omen when it comes to cylinder longevity. Here's why. The maintenance of the critical oil film on cylinder walls is accomplished by the oil control ring, a fancy spring-loaded perforated double-ridge ring that receives a supply of oil through small holes drilled through the piston wall and spreads it into a thin film as it moves up and down over the cylinder walls. The oil control ring is installed in the third piston groove, below the two compression rings that are responsible for maintaining the dynamic seal of the combustion chamber. Consequently, the oil control ring lubricates most of the cylinder wall, but it never reaches the topmost inch or so where the compression rings reverse direction at top-dead-centre, the so called ring-step area. Lubrication of this critical region can only take place if sufficient oil is allowed to flow past the oil control ring. A certain amount of this oil is inevitably burnt up in the combustion process. If oil consumption is reduced to an ultra low level by means of a tight fitting oil control ring (such as the new centre-vented Continental ring) or a super-smooth cylinder wall finish, (like Cermicrome) its very likely that the ring-step area won't receive adequate lubrication, and there's a high risk of metal-to-metal contact between the compression rings and the cylinder wall. A "bled" ring-step area is a sure sign of such lubrication failure. Experience seems to indicate that oil consumption lower than about a quart in twenty hours may not bode well for long cylinder life. Barrel wear in the ring-step area becomes likely, leading to a rapidly deteriorating compression and accelerating oil consumption at 500-1000 hours. Once again this tends to occur most often in hot-running high-horsepower turbocharged engines.

While low oil consumption has always been acknowledged as a sign of a tight,well-broken-in engine, there is strong evidence that a quart in thirty or 40 may well be too much of a good thing. Cermicrome cylinders are particularly vulnerable to such ring-step wear. This is because the cermic-impregnated layer of a Cermicrome barrel is extremely thin- a thousanth of an inch (0.001") at best. Once this very thin layer has been worn through, whats left is a mirror-shiny chrome which is not oil wettable ! Once this happens, there's no oil film in the ring-step area, so there's nothing to prevent metal-to-metal contact between the compression rings and the cylinder wall. Naturally things go to hell rather quickly after that.


Anyone know a source of 200 feet of approximately 22 S.W.G. (preferably but not necessarily insulated) Constantan wire needed to make a harness for my twelve CHT/EGT sensors. Contact Dick Adams.


Vol. 4. No. 4. Page 115 July 1997

Welcome to four new members Dean Rickerson from Anchorage, (907 564-6651), Mark Kennedy from Sarnia, Ontario (519 383-7743), Charles McKelvy from Slatington, PA and Roy Elsworth from Michigan (616 448-2433). Jack Ardoyno has changed his address to RR7,Box 7817 Hayward, WI. My name is Dick Adams (613 749-2619).

This month we have lots of contributors with some exciting new ideas. Mike (Bowes) a note on sources of Flap and Gear switches and MATCO, Craig (Easter) and Art Wild all discussing modifications that hopefully may lead to improved design and performance.


Dick (Silva) has pointed out that Craig Easters remarks about the rigid nylon tubing expanding in the May issue are incorrect. An extract of a letter from Matco to Dick follows...

"Nyflow & Polyflow tubing can allow flexing, but RIGID nylon tubing supplied by us assists in preventing this. Second under pressures of 300 psi rigid nylon tubing should not allow flexing.

By changing to metal lined tubing therefore, the PRESSURE IN HIS SYSTEM IS NOT INCREASED. Craig told me he was aware that the problem was related to installation and that he would send off a note to the ISPA newsletter to correct any misinterpretation that the customers should remove their brake line tubing and replace with metal tubing.

MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT in the proper installation of this brake system. When insufficient brake is a problem it is important that the builder determine that the system is installed correctly prior to making changes." (This was the second part of Craig's letter last month...maybe SNA could tell us what the correct pressure should be?)

Phyllis Montgomery MATCO.


I have found that I can buy gear switches from three different suppliers, named by Cutler-Hammer for about $120(US). New Flap switches are about $40(US) I have 800 numbers for these companies that probably only work in the USA.

They are supplied sans handle, as I understand it, so we must make our own. There is something satisfying about buying a new switch as a salvaged switch could fail three months from now.

Mike (Bowes)


I recently read in SNA's newsletter that I had suggested that Rulon be used for rollers on the seats - this is just not true. I made two suggestions to SNA which I felt had some positive attributes and how they were convoluted into the negative that was printed I will probably never know. I agree with SNA - it does not make sense to use Rulon for seat rollers. The two items I suggested to SNA are as follows:

That polymer bushings could be used in place of the powdered bronze bushings for some applications as they are lighter in weight and would not cause the steel parts to act as sacrificial anodes to the bronze bushings supplied by SNA. (steel protects copper same as zinc protects steel). If one needed an electrically conductive polymer it is also available but it is more expensive. I expect to be flying my plane in salt water hence I am concerned about some of the corrosion aspects and less weight is a positive quality in my opinion. Secondly, I told SNA of a very simple & cheap seat elevating modification and provided them with a picture of same. The total cost should be about $10 per seat. I acquired four #1550 5/8 inch knobs that have a hole completely through the knob, four spring washers and 4 low profile nuts all from Home Depot. Instead of threading the square bar I drilled it out so that the 5/16 " threaded rod would slide through making a tight clearance fit. The knobs are bonded onto the threaded rod to provide the elevating movement when they are turned. The low profile 5/16" nut holds the threaded rod to the square bar (use loctite but the nut should be removable). You can use the SNA provided setscrews , which I never received incidentally, but I have opted for nylon screws which act as nylocks which do not generally need to be loosened or tightened when changing seat elevation. I cut off the protruding metal section on the knobs to gain some additional adjustment height. When installing the screw assembly you should make sure the threaded rod is vertical at the mid elevation point or you may interfere with other parts if the knob tilts too much. I have sketched the assembly in figure 1. [sorry, no figure, text file only. ed.] I also showed SNA two other items, both of which are being used in their shop from what I have been told. They should save you significant time so I am detailing it below, as it does not appear that SNA will be passing the information on as I had hoped and suggested.

When making fillets for taping I am using adhesive and covering it with peel ply. You must use a slow set resin to get a good fillet that fairs in well and it must be a touch thinner than you would normally use. Use a tongue depressor to put in the fillet, clean off any edging that has formed, put the peel-ply over the fillet then run your finger down the adhesive to give it the fillet shape. Then work from the outside in too ensure the fillet fairs into the horizontal with no ridge if at all possible. Make up the adhesive in small batches as a good fillet is hard is hard to make with adhesive that has been sitting around for a while. Only do one section at a time - go just beyond the corner at each end then place your strip of peel ply, then go on to the next section. Remove the peel ply the following day and use a 1" abrasive nylon brush to run up and down the fillet, then lightly sand it and it is then ready for taping. In some instances I have used the dremel with a 1/2",3/8" and 1/4" abrasive drum to lightly clean up a problem spot. The odd minor defect can be repaired with adhesive just before taping - let the resin set a bit, or you could use microballoons where allowed. Everyone who has seen this method of making fillets has commented positively on the method - the fillets look smooth and professional and no microballoons are generally required which reduce the strength of the joint. I wish I had figured this out at the beginning of the project instead of at the end of my glassing. - it would have saved me a lot of time. This does not work well on sharply curved surfaces which are usually small - you can usually fill in those sections with resin just before taping. In some instances I have been taping over fresh adhesive (just before it gels) with very good results (generally smaller sections). Peel ply can generally be used more than once when making these fillets.

For some cutting I am using small diamond saws in the dremel or drill (3/4", 1" & 2"). They are much faster than a jig-saw, they get into areas a jig-saw can't, they last a long time and produce very little dust. They are also very good for making plunge cuts as starter slits for a jig-saw for internal holes etc., These have cost me $8-15 Canadian dollars per blade and I haven't worn one out yet and I have been using one for over a year. You can get them at Sun & Fun or Oshkosh or Lee Valley Tools. I gave one to SNA and they apparently found it very useful for some types of work for they enquired about where they could obtain them.

I have modified my rudder to make it more effective and reduce its weight by moving the pivot point ahead. It now sits on the centre of a circle with a radius equal to the distance where the circle meets the flat section of the outer skin, and the brackets have been shortened. In effect I am setting the pivot point as if the rudder had a "round" nose. This allows the counterweights to be moved inside the tail (a 27 degree deflection is obtained) it eliminates the drag producing cable slots as the slot is smaller and not exposed, it provides more effective rudder area (pivot point moved ahead), the nose of the rudder does not project into the air stream at higher deflections where it would create turbulence and act as a spoiler, and it almost eliminates the gaps at full deflection while significantly reducing the weight. The cables had to be rerouted and 6 pulleys were added. I have also been informed that another party has totally redesigned the rudder in carbon fibre with a round nose that eliminates all gaps and weights 17 pounds less. It also has the counterweight inside the tail. I have roughly sketched what I have done in figure 2. [sorry, no figure, text file only. ed.]

I have redesigned my ailerons (new moulds) so they pivot about the nose centre which eliminates the gaps and slots and there will be no "grab" when the aileron is deflected up or down. I am using Mike Lush's counterweight design to achieve this. Hopefully this will allow some speed improvement when the ailerons are reflexed but it will definitely will give less drag as there will be no gaps and they should be more responsive at high deflections. I will let you know later of course how it works out.

As I have been hearing of several instances of water rudders being torn off, I have decided to install a jet-pump in the tail of the plane. It will provide about 50lbs of thrust on 12 volts and about 60lbs on a 24 volt system. It will provide directional control and slow speed motive power. It will allow reverse and forward operation and will allow me to go trolling on remote lakes, and there is nothing sticking out of the bottom of the plane. It operates on the same principle as a Sea-Doo. The first SNA water rudder design did not work so I had to buy their new design which is for sale if anyone wants to buy it !

I have had several very serious problems with my wings, one of which is a badly bowed right wing at the rear spar - also it does not match up to the hull, and the incidence changes along the wing by 0.6 degrees. If I put a straight edge along the bottom rear of the wing there is a substantial gap and the wing is approx 3/4" low at the fuselage and the flap, which appears to be in the right location per the fuselage but interferes with the top skin. IF ANYONE ELSE HAS HAD THIS TYPE OF PROBLEM PLEASE CALL ME COLLECT at 416 532-1962 as I would like to know how you resolved it. I also have problems with gaps between ailerons and flaps, rib locations, spar shape and left wing flap brackets not matching up to the wing brackets.

One final comment. When I recently picked up my "new" nose wheel which SNA said I had to pay for, and had to have as I was not allowed to fly with the old one which has not been used, the bushings would not fit into it. I suggested to the SNA staff that they should get some simple specifications for suppliers and get some simple gauges in as builders should not be running into these kinds of problems, especially after seven years.

On the afternoon of April 10th 1997 I had a discussion with Dick Silva at Sun & Fun about quality as I have had a lot of problems. He stated that the problem with my fin, one item that was discussed, was due to my method of storage - anyone who wishes can look at my fin can form their own opinion, but people in the business tell me it was manufactured that way, and I received it from SNA that way. I suggested to Dick that he at least get some simple gauges and specifications implements to eliminate these problems to which he replied "We can't afford that". No wonder builders are having so much grief. While at Sun & Fun I noted that the serious lower middeck fairing problem on my left wing was still very evident on the "hidden" side of SNA's Quick-kit display which is apparently the last one they put together - another builder in for a shock !

While I have lots to complain about I have to say SNA's staff has been quite responsive and helpful in the past year and I am aware that they are making significant improvements in some areas. I only hope that something starts getting done about QUALITY - but that appears to be Dick Silva's decision.

Art Wild


First a little history. While building my first Seawind it was obvious to me that the horizontal stabilizer/elevator was much too heavy. My fix was to reconstruct the same unit of carbon graphite. Before going through the expense of fabricating the tooling for this I decided to verify the size of the tail. We then found that the tail was much too small; thus the birth of the Bigtail.

We made our first flights in N6292G S/N. Now after thirty two hours our first evaluations are complete. During the test flights we operated the aircraft at a Gross weight of 3700lbs. Immediately an improved C. of G. range was apparent. The early flights were conducted by Chef Sprauge who had flown a total of five other Seawinds. His experience was a great asset to our test program. We found we have marked improvements in pitch response and stability. I will give two examples.

Other Seawind's I have observed during landing, once the mains touch the nose slams down, but with the BigTail you can control the nose right to touchdown as was evident by the fact that one of the test pilots would come in and make a go-around with the nose wheel held one foot off the ground during the entire ground run. You have control with power off as low as 45 m.p.h. Secondly, we had designed the BigTail for the go-around with the aircraft at minimum airspeed, gear and flaps down and full power. To check this we flew to 6000ft and brought the aircraft to this configuration, then trimmed the aircraft to 70mph and then applied full power with our hands removed from the aircraft controls and found it will accelerate at a level attitude.

Safety. I know that the factory has some 500 hours of flight time but they have high landing and takeoff speeds. With the BigTail one has a much greater range of acceptable airspeed. You should ask yourself whether you want an airplane with such a limited range of operation especially if you are a inexperienced pilot. Ease of Construction. You do not have to bond this tail together or use jigs.

Test Flight Results. After the first flight we found some modifications necessary. Additional ribs were installed in the elevator, the trim tab actuator was relocated in the elevator and the area of the aerodynamic counterbalances were reduced. With these mods one can now land and prevent the nose slamming down once the mains have touched. At cruise the feel of the elevator control is like that of a Cessna 172 at cruise. A go around with the gear and flaps hanging out produces only a small ripple through the aircraft that is easily controlled with one hand and the forces only increase slightly.

Finally I will give you details on the purchasing and installing of the BigTail. The cost is $6,500.00. This amount must be sent in advance. As soon as funds have been received you will be notified of a position number and an approximate delivery date. These dates are currently thirty days apart. We accept personal cheques, VISA, Mastercard or American Express. When ready you may pick the tail up or we can ship for an extra fee. I feel obligated to tell you that to save weight we are not using jellcoat. The result of this is that on the tooling so therefore I will not be able to accept more than ten positions at this time. As far as installation, the tail mounts the same way as the factory tail and you use the same trim servo. Approximate weight will have the same as the factories modified tail. You MAY NOT install antennas into the carbon structure. As stated above the tail comes fully bonded so you will only have to make two bell cranks, attach the elevator and trim tab and of course do the sanding and finishing.

I am VERY confident that this is a wise investment for any serious Seawind builder/pilot and I look forward to doing business with you in the near future. Doug (Karlsen) has been nice enough to post a picture of the aircraft with the Big Tail installed on his web page. See: http:/www.turbinedesign.com/easter.jpg


Engine cooling; in anticipation of cooling problems I had installed two large oil coolers but we still had cooling problems. So we opened the cowling inlets one inch in all directions. Later, flights along beside the plane showed that the top of the cowling would flex down during flight which was having the effect of reducing the opening, so a rubber bumper was added just forward of the cowl flap hinge and at the same time we secured the cowling exit lip to the radius tube with 4 #8 screws

and rerouted the engine hoses and electrical connections to the sides of the exit area. This now results in the engine temperature going to 230 degrees during climb and will quickly drop to 170 degrees during cruise at 70 degree outside operating temperatures. We also found that the engine seems to be temperature sensitive to not flying coordinated ! While training other pilots to fly the Seawind the temperature would rise, but another pilot would not experience the same problem. The older canopy latch system is dangerous whether it is properly adjusted or not - as on several occasions the safety latches would catch the canopy after 10 minutes into a flight. While flying the aircraft for the first time I noticed that the control wheel seemed to be outboard of the seat centreline. The drawings show the seat on a butt line of 12.5 and the control is set at 12.7, not much but it just felt funny. I would suggest you close your canopy sit in your seat and see if this would bother you. I felt as if I should move in about 3/4inch inboard. Rigging the mixer can be interesting. Initially our aircraft flew straight until you put the flaps down then it would roll to one side.. One can take care of this by lengthening or shortening the straight rods in the mixer. The mixer puts a lot of friction forces into the system. If you don't need it don't put it in. I personally feel the forces in the ailerons system with anything below 10 degrees of flap is unacceptable. Anything you can do to improve that would be a great help.

Craig Easter


Well final inspection has come and with it a list of items to correct. Most of them fortunately are minor but a few nasties remain. The worst is relevant to Canadian owners that a new Firewall directive now makes a sheet metal wall mandatory (S/S 0.015") so the flexible composite materials are to be upgraded.

A few tips. Don't wait till the wings are on to fill your tanks with fuel. If there is any leak around rib A your in for a problem. We tested the tanks with air, incidentally, years ago and discovered we had a most sensitive thermometer...but still we have a couple of leaks. The inspector considered SNA's springs on the nose doors to be too weak. A danger that in a cross wind the doors might partially close and jamb the nose wheel on retraction.

Whatever ballast you use has, like the baggage areas to have effective tie-downs in place. The small hammocks make excellent tie-downs as do old harnesses for heavier stuff. I have not found a reference to elevator stops in the Manuals. (that doesn't mean they're not there) but without them the inspector will look very hard at the push rod linkage under the stabilizer and note the end bearing is acting out of line with the rod. Thus producing a shear strain on the threaded end. You don't want to loose your elevator!

This completes our third year of letters. Thank you all for your contributions once again...please be not shy to ask a question or make a point...have fun building.

Dick (Adams)


Vol. 4. No. 5. Page 123 September 1997

Two new members to bring aboard this trip; Roy Elvis (616) 448-2433 from MI, George Panker 18830 SE 42nd St., ssaquah, WA. After a summer of computer problems I (Dick Adams) can be reached again on e-mail at 102151,2155@compuserve.com, by telephone 613 749-2619 and mail ar.. 6 Wren Road, Gloucester, Ontario. Faxes are best served via my colleague John Kivenko at (514 )731-8543.

Last month a new Seawind Newsletter appeared run by Paul Array. With Doug Karlsen=s Web page that=s four ! Each has its own character and for the present since I have your subs in the bank (until Jul 98) and letters coming in I=ll continue ISPA. This is my last year however (I think four is enough) so anyone wishing to take over in the future had better contact me. My interest has always been to allow those interested in Seawind to find their nearest neighbours and to provide building tips and reports from those further ahead of most of us.

In this issue Craig Easter talks about aileron design, Chester Sprague gives a Test Flight Report on 3000N6292G (the big tail) and John Kivenko makes comments on our Final Inspection and on the important question of "What Building a Seawind is all About@ for those of you who are thinking of jumping in.


Money Back Guarantees on Seawind Parts. I know you thought that you would never see those words together, but I am so exited about the new ailerons and mixer modification for the Seawind that I am offering just that for the first five people to order my new aileron/mixer system To qualify your aircraft must be already flying. If you do not see a marked improvement in the way your aircraft flies simply return the package within thirty days in the same condition as you received them with a short explanation of why you did not like them and you get your money back.

Three months of work went into the design of the new system. First, we studied aileron design with the works of such people as Martin Hollman, Harry Riblet, Barnaby Wainfan and two reports on the Frise aileron by the Aeronautical Research Council of London, England. One thing I found out is that due to the configuration of the Seawind one has a high roll inertia, that is to say, the sponsons at the tip of the wings increase the roll inertia of the aircraft. This is not necessarily bad but you have to understand what is going on or it will cause you some problems. The best illustration of this I can think of is if you took a broom and held it just at the top end and tried to rotate it in a circle what you would find is that it takes a little bit of effort to get it to rotate and once rotating to stop rotating. Imagine now you have three brooms with the tops attached to the centre of the aircraft. Two brooms representing the wing tips and one the high mounted engine. As you can now visualise it would take powerful ailerons to start and stop the roll of this system. As it turns out the Seawind ailerons are oversized when compared to other aircraft and this was probably done due to the fact that it is a seaplane and one wants powerful ailerons to lift the sponsons out of the water. So one has properly sized ailerons but they are difficult for the pilot to move due to high hinge moments. Research suggests by changing to a Frise style aileron nose, when one aileron is up,it allows the aileron nose of that side to drop into the free airstream on the bottom and air to push on the top side of the forward portion of the aileron. This effectively reduces the hinge moment. The additional drag on that side produces a yaw moment reducing the amount of rudder required to make a turn. I found that in the flights we made before modification a coordinated turn required one to lead with rudder and then follow with aileron. With the new ailerons one can make a more conventional turn, starting with aileron and following with rudder. Making the trailing edge sharp also reduces the hinge moment. Making the leading edge rotate about its centre makes sense as it prevents air from being stalledby this protrubence that sticks up during aileron down deflections on the standard ailerons. Has anyone ever heard of Aaileron grab@? I had one builder from Europe tell me that his inspector would not approve his aeroplane for flight until this problem was corrected. The control surface should be slightly thicker than the wing section so that one can get back into energised air that has been disrupted by the wing. So I believe that switch to the Frise style aileron has solved the aerodynamic issues with the Seawind roll. But as I have said before our Frise aileron can=t help when its nose is tucked in during aileron droop operations. That is why we made the mixer enhancements which come with the ailerons. If your aircraft has the SNA mixer then you know that when you put the flaps down, the forward control cables tighten. With our unit these cables do not move or change tension and the best part is that as the ailerons move to the droop position, one gets increased leverage into the system, making the pilots load drop significantly. The numbers to be tested to be seven pounds with ailerons up and twenty two pounds with the ailerons down. To test your aircraft with the SNA mixer place a recordable spring scale (can be found at fishing supply stores) in the corner of your control wheel and pull with enough force to get a standard rate turn. Compare that to our numbers and I=m sure you=ll be placing an order.

I also wanted to address some issues about counterweights that was brought to my attention at Oshkosh. One builder asked me why I did not put Mike Lush=s counterweights on my ailerons. For those of you who have not seen Mike=s counterweight design his system mounts on the outboard end of the ailerons and is totally concealed by the sponsons. I would like to say that I like Mike=s system and my ailerons could be made to accommodate them, but as they are now they could not take the 20 G flutter loads with the weight on the ends My ailerons are basically a torque box and we did not put a spar inside. They are basically two skins and three ribs. The ends of the structure are not designed for high loads. The fact that the hinge rotates through the structure effectively putting a stress riser in the structure. The cure would be a spar that runs from end to end or at least from the middle to the counterweight end. We decided to go the other way due to weight considerations. The counterweight I would like to use would mount to the centre rib, extend about four inches down then go forward about ten inches and have a smaller weight at the end. This would give the lightest installation but I fear some builders would consider this ugly. Presently, the prototype ailerons have counterweights installed internally in the nose. Finally let me say a little about the features we added for ease of installation and future inspections of the aircraft. WE have bonded nut plates on the outside of the attach ribs to assist in mounting and requiring only one wrench. We only have two inspection plates and we mount the trim tab servo on one of these (on the left side). The ailerons will come to you fully assembled and require only sanding and painting. You will need to add some type of seal to the top of the wing skin; this could be metal or fibreglass.

In closing let me just review what you get for $2000.00 . You receive the ailerons, the mixer enhancement, instructions and crating for delivery. Delivery fee will be extra. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and personal cheques. The steps for ordering are, send a payment in full and you will be assigned a position number, you will be asked to sign a contract, and then you will be contacted when your parts are ready for delivery. Then for those five who take advantage of my offer we=ll talk to you in thirty days from the time you accept delivery and get your thoughts. Hope to hear from you soon.

Craig Easter


Owner Ulrich Esser Date 8/18/97


First flight April 27th 1997 Weatherford OK Elevation 1600 Test Flight Total of Hours of flights 27.8

Seawind 6292G was constructed in accordance with SNA construction Manual with the exception that it has the Precision Design BigTail, lightweight ailerons and the modified Mixer assembly. The aircraft was Certified at the 3400# gross weight. The fuel system has manually operated fuel valves for each main tank and these connect to a cenral gasculator and boost pump in addition the standard long range option is installed. The boost pump was used for start, landing takeoff and turned off for cruise. Empty weight as tested 2650@147.04"

Takeoff Procedure: Procedure used 20-30 degree flaps for normal takeoff #0 degree flaps for

soft field. The use of 10-20 degrees flaps was useful in cross-winds of 17-20 knots at 40 degree. Rotation to bring nose up was at 55 knots and main wheels lift off at 58-60 knots.

Landing Procedures: Landing speeds were 90-100kts downwind, gear down by midfield, flaps to 10 opposite the point, base slowed to 80kts, flaps to 20 degree, final turn to 70 kts, full flaps with final stabilized to 65 kts. Power was reduced coming over fence and aircraft flared normally to main landing gear.

Rudder Control: Rudder control was adequate at all speeds and during stall recovery. The aircraft can be slipped with full flaps to 15 degree wing down and yet maintain alignment.

Stalls: Stall and Recoveries were normal. Break was well announced with control given and straight departure. Recovery was immediate with minimal loss of altitude (50-100 ft.) Accelerated stall was done at 100 kts and 45 degree bank stall at 85 kts with recovery immediately after pitch control release.

Power off flaps and gear down 53 kts indicated.

Power off clean 63 kts indicated.

Performance: Aircraft was tested @3400# on both land and water.

2000 ft altitude OAT26 c nose off 800 ft. Mains off 900 ft.

5500 ft altitude OAT 21 c 22.5 hg. @2300 140 kts TAS -5 reflex flap

5500 ft altitude OAT 21 c 23.0 hg @ 2400 150 kts TAS -5 reflex flapControl Forces: Note: Taken with 30lb recording scale.

Roll:120 kias - coordinated roll to 30 degree bank at 10 degrees/sec = 11#

120 kias -coordinated roll to 30 degree bank at 5 degree/sec = 8#

65 kias - Full flap roll to 20 degree bank at 5 degrees/sec = 22#

Pitch: 120 kias - nose up to 10 degrees pitch attitude in 3 seconds = 11#

Engine Parameters:

Cht 240-365

Oil temp 185 degree @ 25 degree OAT and cowl open (Note: cowl closed increased temp 8-10 degrees)

Oil pressure 80-90 p.s.i.

Summary: The large elevator enabled the aircraft nose wheel to be lifted off prior to rotation speed and enabled the pilot to keep the nose off during a flared landing. Elevator was positive at 50% aft movement of yoke. Nose wheel could be held up with power off with airspeed slowed to 45 kt. When compared to other Seawinds that I have flown, this aircraft demonstrates easy flying characteristics in both pitch and roll. The total result was a smooth and easily controlled aircraft. Roll force required when flaps are extended are less than that for other Seawinds flown.

Chet Sprague

Test Pilot/EAA flight Advisor. Total Pilot in Command 12182 Single Engine land 9910 Multi engine land 2271 Retract 6155 Seawinds 102 Have flown 5 separate Seawinds including factory demonstrator.

8 Sinclair Road, Hampton VA 12182
Tel: (757)723-3904


Now that I along with Dick Adams have completed a Seawind kit, I thought that I would pass along some observation that might be of interest to those members who have not yet decided whether they want to undertake such a project. At the outset let me make it clear that the purpose of this article is neither to encourage or discourage someone from getting involved in building a Seawind. As I was involved with an early kit I will try to factor out the extra time and expense that was involved due to the learning situation SNA was faced with at the time I built my kit. All dollar values will be in U.S. dollars.

1) Cost--The Seawind will cost you a lot more than you would think on first glance. The basic cost of the kit is only the beginning. Aside from the costs of the engine and the instrumentation, there are a whole host of other purchases you must make. Some of the options are really not options. Examples are a second set of controls, hand pump for hydraulics, carbon fiber for the longerons, spray rails, and hydraulic steering. The engine you buy will still need an exhaust system which costs close to two thousand dollars. A fuel boost pump is not included in the kit. You will have considerable expense for transportation and crating. Even if you pick up your kit at the factory you will be responsible for certain transportation costs. Finishing the seats, painting and completion of the interior is not cheap. The fire retardant fabric is particularly expensive. The milled fiber and resin that is supplied by SNA is not nearly adequate to see you through the project. The epoxy and microlite will certainly cost you more than $500. If you just consider the leading edge of the wings, the quantities of filler required is astounding. Just the cost of sandpaper will run at almost $500 if you sand off the gel coat, only a bit less if you don't. Even small things such as rubber gloves will run to several hundreds of dollars. Of course teflon wire will cost at least $500. And the list goes on and on. If you have to rent space to build the plane this will end up being more than you think as the building process will be longer than you anticipate. Should you decide to purchase some options offered by other builders such as Craig Easter with his 'Big Tail' you can add another five percent to your costs. So that's the story on cost. If you compare the Seawind to a new Lake Renegade the Seawind is a huge bargain. However if money is tight you should spend time adding up all the costs so that you will not get into trouble. Otherwise, if you are married, another cost you may have to add to the list is 126 divorce lawyer.

2) Time--Unless you have a lot of experience in building planes the kit will take at least 5000 hours to complete. This is hard to believe as the kit comes with a lot of large premolded pieces. At first glance you would think that it is just a matter of sticking these pieces together and voila you have a plane. Indeed when you put the hull together, fit the middeck and mount the tail the plane looks complete. But this is very deceiving. All the detail work that awaits you will eat up an incredible amount of time. Even now I wonder what took all the time. The difference between a novice and a professional is the difference in productivity. Someone who is experienced in doing body work on cars would be able to do the finishing work on a plane in a fraction of the time it would take an average person who is doing this work for the first time. Most people build planes because they want to fly them, not for the fun of doing the building. In the desire to complete the project often more time isdevoted to the project than one should spend. Businesses are neglected, as are the families of the builder. Ideally, this is a great project for someone who retires at an early age and is well healed. Another alternative is to involve sufficient numbers of people so that the time requirement for any one person is not excessive. I have noticed from several letters to the SPA that there are a number of people who have received their kits years ago and have made very little progress. The comments typically are, ' due to pressures in my business I have been unable to -etc, etc-- however I am hoping in the near future to devote more time'. This near future never seems to come. Ironically some of these people manage to have opinions on what to do and what results will be achieved. You can not know what is involved unless you experience the building process for yourself. An example of what I am talking about is Tony Irwin, a retired airline pilot who writes for the SNA newsletter. I believe that Tony was involved with the Seawind at a very early date, and had a low number kit assigned to him. We hear nothing about progress being made on his plane, and those of us who have actually built the plane know that a lot of his comments reflect theory rather than practice and are therefore extremely inaccurate. In summary-don't underestimate the time required and don't over estimate the time you have to devote to the project.

3) Skill level--If you like working with your hands and have a reasonable knowledge of electronics this may be a project for you. If you do not have these skills you may well run into a lot of problems and may not even complete your kit. Remember that a high proportion of kits sold are never completed.You do not have to be a mechanical genius to build a kit, however you do have to be meticulous as everything must be put together to extremely high standards. A flying boat has the vibrations of a normal plane as well as the additional more extreme shaking that is present when hitting waves on takeoff from water. Anything that is not solidly built will be loosened or pried apart.

4) Results-The plane you will have build will be a reasonably good one. It will be reasonably fast and stable. It will however not be quite as fast as the published factory figures. It will definitely weigh close to 2500 lb. I do not subscribe to the factory theory that if something isn't broke don't fix it, and if something could be made better the factory would do it. The points to be debated is what is considered broke, what flying skill level will compensate for less than optimum design, and whether there is always room for improvement. There are innumerable examples where knowledgeable builders have devoted considerable time to modify their plane to achieve better results. Both the air and water rudders could use improvement. Every knowledgeable pilot who has built a Seawind has commented that the rudder was not effective enough in crosswind conditions. A well respected test pilot, Chet Sprague, has commented favorably on the work Craig Easter has done on his elevator and stabilizer. Mike Lush has redesigned the seat to something I believe to be far superior than what the factory has produced. Craig Easter has found a different geometry to make the braking system more effective. Several builders have replaced the control column and pedals to reflect the quality you get in a Cessna or Piper. If you are not satisfied with second best, you may want to enhance your plane by some of the above modifications.

5) Suggestions-In speaking to several builders who have built Seawinds I have had differing opinions on whether they would have gone ahead with the project if they had known what was involved. Several have said they would. At least one said he wouldn't because the cost turned out to be far more than expected. Another said that the building process was so onerous that he could not get enough pleasure in the future to compensate for the work involved in producing it. For myself I feel that I would have proceeded. I however would have done things a bit differently. Firstly, I would have purchased a second hand Lake Buckaneer 200 hp plane for about $50,000. This would give me an opportunity to get training on a somewhat slower plane and would take the pressure off my work on the Seawind. Having a plane to fly while building the Seawind would mean that an extra year or two of building would not be a serious matter. The only disadvantage the Buckaneer has when compared to the Seawind is its speed. When going more than 200 miles in a headwind the speed of the Seawind is much appreciated. If I was much younger I might postpone my purchase of the Seawind while flying a Buckaneer in order to see if I really would be using the water capability of the plane, or whether I would end up like many other plane owners only doing ten to twenty hours per year flying. If I was not doing a lot of flying the effort of building and the cost of a Seawind would not be worth it.If I was not doing much water work a much faster homebuilt might be a better choice. The Seawind is a very attractive plane. The futuristic look will get you a lot of attention when you arrive at an airport. In my opinion one should analyse whether they are purchasing the plane because they fell in love with the looks, or they want to be the centre of attention, or whether the capabilities of the plane are the reason. I feel that the first two reasons will soon become unimportant, and unless you are buying the Seawind for its ability to be a reasonably good cross country machine with the ability to come down on water, you should reconsider your intention to purchase. My recommendation to anyone contemplating building a plane is that they have at least one other person to work side by side with them. The project is too large for one person working alone and most people would become fed up before completion if they were working in isolation. Also there are many tasks where more than two hands are required. Even in fiberglassing a person working alone will end up spilling the resin because his hands are both used to hold the fabric. You will also experience incidents where the resin congeals before you have had a chance to use it all- a second person helping would solve this problem. You must however carefully plan what each person is going to do. When the two people are not working together on one task they should use their time productively working independently. If one person is working in the midsection the other person has to find work elsewhere. One thing that a lot of builders fail to do is think. Everything works out a lot better if you contemplate what you are about to do, consider if this is correct-whether it could be done a lot better, or whether what you are doing seems to be wrong. This will help to eliminate a lot of mistakes which are costly both in time and money.

To be concluded next month. John Kivenko


During a recent Final inspection of our plane a few things came to light which I would like to pass onto other builders and would be builders.

1)In Canada you are required to have a firewall made of .015 inch stainless steel or galvanized steel.

2)Our inspector felt that an emergency hydraulic hand pump was necessary. He did not feel that this should be optional and would not sign off the plane until this was installed. When told that the factory claimed that the gear could be lowered with a two g pull up he shook his head and the conversation quickly switched to the sale of the Brooklyn bridge and swampland in Florida. We tried a simulation of this pull-up by tugging at the gear and had to agree with the inspector that this was not a feasible alternative. I would be interested to know if anyone, including the factory, has tried to lower the gear with a simulated hydraulic or electric failure, what the results were and exactly what steps were taken to do the simulation.

3)When it came to fill in the gross weight the inspector informed us that in Canada, and it may be the same elsewhere, if the wing loading is greater than 20.4 pounds per square foot the plane would be classified as high performance and could only be flown by someone having a high performance license. To get this rating you have to have at least 200 hours of pilot in command. As one of the people expected to fly this machine only has 110 hours, we had to set the gross at about 3250 pounds. You can imagine the disappointment this was to us. The biggest complaint about the Seawind has been the lack of carrying capacity, and the loss of about 150 pounds really hit us hard. I will now have to go on a very serious diet and only make friends with midgets.

John Kivenko

as applied to C-FWFA An example is pertinent; with our 3260 upper limit and current empty weight of 2590lbs. For a couple of adults, 2 men (180) and two women(150) we would not be able to fill the tanks with the reserve and no baggage of course. This is essentially a two person aircraft with the rear seats for children or baggage. Long distance flight is only possible with the pilot alone. These characteristics have to be compared to the Haliburton Seawind which claimed a usuable load of 1200lb. That was my expectation in 1991 for SNA advertised 1100 lbs and 200 m.p.h in those days. The only way round this is to reduce weight by the use of carbon fibres or a lighter power plant running at higher weight efficiency. (Dick Adams)


I must eat crow regarding the expanding of nyflow tubing. Phylis has called me back explaining that it does expand at 1200 p.s.i. but not at 550 psi, the pressure attained by the Seawind system due to the geometry of the rudder pedal. The Nyflo tubing should work fine for this system. It was not my intention to say that Matco has below standard products; I hope no one took it that way. As a matter of fact we have used Matco products on the Kitplane prototype we are developing here.

Craig Easter

[Note: a members phone list was included at the end of this newsletter, but the file I received is corrupt and could not be incorporated here. ed.]


Vol.4 No.6 Page 131 November 1997

Glen Reece joins us this month, welcome Glen.His address is 139-26th Ave E. Seattle, WA 98112 his phone (206) 325-3304.Last issue I mentioned Dean Rickerson of Alaska but had mislaid his >vital statistics=, sorry Dean. His address is 3601 C Street, Penthouse Suite West, Anchorage, Alaska 99503-5996. (907) 564 6651(H) (888) 200 8392(O) and (907) 562-5789(F) He mentioned that Ken Wheeler is helping him (KNG Inc in Muliketo, WA); and that anyone interested in his services is welcome to call him. Finally, I think it is timely to discuss the problem of the future of this letter as I have received two offers from Mike Bowes and Paul Array in the last few months and I need your help to help me decide.

When I began this letter I had hoped that we might be able to put in articles on some of the members who had played a role in the Seawind saga. As most of you know there have been two test pilots closely associated with Seawinds. Paul Furnee and Chet Sprague. This month I have an article on Chet. Not because we=re hoping to have him to test out our Seawind but because the chances are that when your finished you might consider him yourselves. The article is by Craig (Easter) , thanks Craig. The article on Ato buy or not to buy@ a Seawind is concluded by John (Kivenko) and Craig has an article on how to straighten a bent wing !

The last thing I will do is to publish a list of names and addresses of members and telephone numbers etc so PLEASE if you would have not updated your addresses do it ASAP.

My phone # (613) 749-2619 my e-mail 102151,2155@compuserve.com.

Chester Sprague

This month I would like to say a little bit to builders about professional test pilots. As for myself I have built seven homebuilt aircraft and have always flown their restrictions off myself. I realise now that doing that is not the right way to go for many reasons and would like to try to encourage all builders to think very seriously about NOT DOING THEIR OWN FIRST FLIGHTS. With the development of the Big Tail, the new ailerons, the control system, my busy schedule, and yes advice from my wife, we decided to use a test pilot for the first flights. I now think that this was some of the best money spent on the project.

Please allow me to give you a brief overview of the some of the reasons why I feel this way:

1.By using a professional test pilot our insurance premiums were reduced more than the total cost of the pilot services.

2.The Seawind is not a difficult plane to fly but it does have a lot of systems and face it most of us have spent our time lately building, not flying. If what flying you have done is on a C-172 or something similar YOU ARE PROBABLY NOT READY FOR THIS AIRPLANE. What will happen is you will be learning to fly while test flying and believe me, these two do not mix. If the temptation is still too great, just stop and think just how much money and time you have put into this thing. Can you afford to throw it all away? Let the professionals do their job and in no time you will be behind the wheels and having the time of your life.

When we were ready to do our first flights we chose Chester Sprague to do the job for us.. I cannot tell you just how pleased we all weere with his services. When someone does an exceptional job for me I always feel compelled to tell others so please allow me to put in a plug for AChet@ I am confident that those of you who use him will confirm everything that I say. First, his qualifications are quite impressive. (Total pilot in command 12182; single engine land 9910; multi engine land 2271; retract 6155 Seawind 102hours. Chet has flown five different Seawinds and the factory demonstrator. The time I spent with him will always be cherished as one of the great learning experiences of my life time. In the past I had always viewed these test pilots as these brave, courageous and maybe even a little crazy souls (perhaps a John Wayne that rode airplanes instead of horses) that the rest of us could never truly relate to. After working with him I now believe they view the situation as a collage of variables and they carefully begin to remove as many of those variables as possible before going into a situation. They do this by moving from the known to the unknown very carefully. An example of this is how perceptive Chet was about everything that was going on around him. We were making some taxi tests together and as we started the engine I heard a Apop@ noise. He said@I think we lost a cowl fastener@. I called one of the guys over and Chet instructed them to take a look behind the left wing and sure enough there it was! While going through the initial flight with the modified control surfaces he could accurately describe what was going on around him and we could make changes accordingly. I found Chet to be very professional and easy to work with and would nbever ever hesitate to recommend him to anyone seeking a professional test pilot.

In closing just let me say you may think that remaining on the ground for a short time will take all the joy out of it, but believe me, my employees and myself were just as excited on the ground as we would have been in the air. One of my emploees compared it to waiting around for a new baby to be born.

Craig Easter


(..if you have to.)

Art Wild recently asked in the Seawind Newsletter how to straighten the wing of his Seawind. I assume that either his 90 day warranty has run out or he does not want to return his part to the factory due to freight considerations I hope everyone is enjoying this educational process as much as I am.

The way I see it there are basically three reasons that this problem would occur: 1.The part was made improperly 2. The part was removed from the mould too quickly and 3. improper storage of parts. Now let=s do some problem solving. The first two reasons would be factory causes so I would say if you get several calls from builders with the same problem one of these is probably your culprit. If you look at 2 from a production standpoint it might make sense. By this I mean that if you are in the business of making parts, the longer your mould is tied up the lower your production rate and that of course affects your profit levels. We have found that while producing the Big Tail that with the resin system we are using the part will cure in about ten hours but it takes about three days for the part to be really stable. So, yes this could slow your production down considerably. Since there are seven different moulds to make a Big Tail we can work around this with just a little bit of planning, but be assured our parts remain in the moulds until they are completely stable. Unfortunately, I think the third reason may be very likely also. I have learned so much about the Kitplane process through the Seawind and I now think that every kit manufacturer should have a section in their manuals devoted solely to the storing of parts. I learned this the hard way. I stored the lower cowling for our Seawind just sitting on its flat edge and three years later when I went to put it on is was bowed very badly. All of your thin parts should be well supported and not in any area where they are likely to get hot and creep.

Before I go into some solutions to Art=s problem I would like to discuss this concept of creeping. Vinyl ester resin will creep at about one hundred and eighty degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly hotter than you would want to touch it with your bare hand. There are ways we can use this fact to our advantage. Remember all this discussion about painting your plane white or pastel. I have an example that really made an impression on me. In 1992 I built a Glassair RG. The flaps on this aircraft were mounted with piano hinges and on the left flap I did not get the pins exactly lined up. Each time I had to remove the pins it was very difficult, so difficult in fact that I even considered not safteying the pins. Anyway during the painting phase I primed the aircraft with grey primer and after sanding I washed it and put it outside in the sun to dry. We completed our painting and never gave the pins a second thought. Then about a week later, during final inspection I noticed a hydraulic leak which meant that I would have to remove that difficult flap again. To my surprise the pins could be removed with finger pressure only. Why ? Because the structure had crept a little bit. So with this basic knowledge and a little creativity we can learn to both use this concept to our advantage and prevent it from hindering us.

Finally, my solution: Problem one Rear Spar bowed: You will need some type of straight edge the length of the rear spar and very strong. Now use the WIT method (whatever it takes) to clamp or otherwise secure the rear spar against this edge. (Be sure to spread out the clamping force). Begin to heat up the rear spar area with heatlamps, your heatguns or both. Be careful not to concentrate the heat in one area, spread it out uniformly; having a temperature gauge would be even better. Once the spar is against the straight edge all the way, stop and let the part completely cool before removing from your fixture. Try to get this right the first time because the post cure temperature increases with each cycle. If for some reason you don=t get it the first time you will have to go up progressively with your temperature. I would suggest moving in ten degree increments. If at any time you see the fiberglass smoking or turning white you have exceeded the tolerable range of temperature and a repair will have to be made in that area.

Problem Two: Incidence changes along the wing by up to 0.6 degrees. I am sorry to say that I have some experience in this area but happy to say that I do have a fix that I believe will work because I have used it successfully. One makes a very strong table the length of the wing. I made mine by sawing 3/4 inch presswood into 2ft by 8 foot pieces, then making a sandwich using 2" x 4" around the edges so one ends up with a table two feet by sixteen feet and about four inches thick. Make two templates of the bottom of the wing one is for the root and one is for the tip. Make the bottom of the template wide enough so that you can drill holes in it large enough for your heat gun to go through. Place these on the table and set your wing in and strap it down with tie straps. Shim the templates to get the proper incidence and wrap the whole wing table with blankets (I used the furniture removing variety) Place a heat gun in each end and let the wing warm up gently, being very careful about hot spots. Using a thermometer about midway and checking by touch every ten minutes or so will help you guard against this. After reaching the one hundred eighty degrees mentioned above let the temperature stabilize for twenty minutes then remove your heat sources and let cool overnight (do not let any surface hot enough to melt any foam. Take your time and BE CAREFUL !

Problem three: The substantial gap to the middeck. Everyone has fought this and I like the way you referred to this area later as the "hidden@ side. If you measure the middeck on the left and the right side you will find at the midchord there is more than 3/4" difference. Just put the wings onto the proper angles, move the wing up and down until you get the best alignment with the fuselage and then fill this area in with filler. I found it was useful to place a piece of thin aluminum 0.007" (available from newspaper printers) between the fuselage and the wing so that you can place filler on both sides and then sand through both to get the contours right. One builder told me he had the holes welded up in the wing brackets and then redrilled them in the proper position.

Remember experience always comes along when you don=t need it anymore !

Art don't forget to let me know how it turned out and any other suggestions. Also if I failed to make anything clear do not hesitate to call




6) Maintenance of value --If you decide to get a homebuilt plane you have to realize that it may not maintain its value. It is for this reason that you should foresee that you will have the plane for a long time. A while ago SNA was suggesting that they would be able to certify the plane and that it would then be worth a lot. As I have not heard anything about this in a while it is evident that this was only a pipedream. On the other hand certified planes have traditionally maintained their value or even gone up in value. The very same Lake Buckaneer I could have purchased 14 years ago for thirty thousand dollars recently sold for fifty thousand dollars even though the engine was further run out by about 300 hours.

7) Alternatives--If you would like to have a Seawind, but do not feel that you are up to building one yourself, you can have it built by one of the several professional builders. Theoretically these are assistance centers and you may be required to participate to some extent in the building of your plane. However the reality is that these centers relieve you most of the work that has to be done. They will also relieve you of approximately $75,000. You may also buy a plane from someone who no longer has a need for it. As the Seawind is a new kit on the market there are few second hand planes available. However I believe that the first Turbine Seawind is up for sale. The yacht it was based on sank and the owner no longer has a need for this plane. I believe he has a private 727 airline for his cross country jaunts. Another alternative is to purchase a partially completed kit that someone is not going to complete. This is not unusual in the kit world. Reasons for non completion are loss of interest, loss of license, death, financial reverses, etc. Another alternative you are faced with is the choice of engines. While the factory now generally recommends the Lycoming engine, another engine has proven to work reliably on the Seawind. The Allison Turbine engine has hundreds of hours of successful service on a Seawind. It is rated at 420 hp which is more than the 300 hp SNA recommends, however, Paul Furnee the test pilot for the Seawind has flown the Turbine Seawind and has very favorable comments about it. In the September Seawind newsletter there is discussion about three alternate engines which have yet to prove themselves. In particular the turbine mentioned in the October edition of Kitplanes is only a plan to turn industrial turbines into powerplants for aviation experimenters. As told in the article, "They list the output as a factory rated 225 shaft horsepower, but suggest that it maybe possible to improve that output to 300 h.p.@

This concludes my thoughts on the Seawind and the building process. I hope that this article will be regarded as balanced in its approach I have tried to show the pros and cons of building a Seawind, based on my experience and that of other buildersI have spoken to and who have seen their project to completion. Prior to submitting this article for publication I had it read by several of these builders in order to get comments on its fairness of approach. I am happy to report that none had any difficulty with it.

John Kivenko


After over one hundred upgrades demanded by the inspector and two >final= inspections we satisfied him and are currently awaiting our Certificate of Airworthiness. Mike Lush has done some high speed runs for us and given us another list of upgrades. These comments are invaluable incidentally otherwise you will only waste the test pilots time if you are not up to HIS standards. On the first high speed run our plastic spinner shattered...the repairs from which will probably exceed the differential between this Abargain@ and a metal one from Hartzell. As John says cheapness at the price of quality does not pay.