December 2002

  • December 24, 2002: One of the most highly interesting and exciting facets within our ISPA community is that of the turbine Seawinds. There are three Seawinds flying with turbine engines, and two others (that I know of) being built by ISPA members. Even though somewhat controversial, these are fascinating and magnificent machines. In an effort to enlighten our members about the turbines and their builders, the "Turbine Seawinds" page has been added. The contents of the page are just a start. I expect that as the current projects progress, a lot more information will be added. If you can provide additional content or photos for this page, please email or send them in.

  • December 23, 2002: Two new pictures of VH-SWN being prepared for shipping to Australia were sent in by Mike Bowes. These photos, of interest to those of us who have been following the story, will also be helpful to anyone who needs to ship a Seawind overseas in the future. They can be seen on the "New Owners VH-SWN" link to the left.
    ISPA member Paul Rockel sent in a Seawind promotional brochure from 1982. A photo from the brochure can be seen on "A Test For You" page. Other items from the brochure will be posted in the near future. Thank you Mike and Paul. Fly safe.

  • December 21, 2002: ISPA member Sausha McInnis sent us a rather special Holly Daze treat. You won't want to miss this one. It's on the Aviation Humor page. Thank you Sausha. Above all, fly safe.

  • December 20, 2002: Have you browsed through the "Seawind Registry" lately? If not, you may be surprised. The table has become quite long and (unfortunately) takes several seconds to open, but it will no doubt be worth the wait for those interested in purchasing or knowing the pedigree on a particular Seawind. Many of you have sent in pictures and details about your Seawinds to be included in the registry. There are now 105 entries in the table, about half with pictures. Among other things, the data show that 56 Seawinds have flown and 7 are for sale. Several kit numbers are still missing. If you are aware of changes or additions please email them to me. There are email links throughout the table.
    For those of you who may not get the SNA newsletter, there is an interesting article about the latest inspection of Dick Silva's N46SW. It now has 1575 hours and has served as the test bed for all of their changes and modifications since about 1994. I had a chance to look-over N46SW pretty thoroughly while at Oshkosh last summer, and for all those hours, it looks remarkably good. Dick told me it had logged more than 1100 water landings. There were no major findings in the latest inspection. N46SW is one tough, well serving airplane. I think the following is worth re-emphasizing here. The article includes a repeated warning about double wall intake SCAT ducting. N46SW still had just a 2" section of this duct on the intake. At reassembly, the inner wall did not properly slip over the throttle inlet. After the inspection, during a ground run-up check, the inner duct collapsed at 1700 RPM and killed the engine. Whatever you do, don't use double wall ducting on your engine intake. (The ISPA has no formal affiliation with SNA Inc.)

  • December 19, 2002: Don't miss the latest batch of pictures (and their Holiday Greeting) from ISPA members Leon (Leo) and Jacky Pesche on their page in the "letters" section. These pictures are so good that they are included right on the page in a size that provides good viewing without clicking to enlarge. The page may take just a few seconds longer to load for those of us with dial-up connections, but you'll find they are well worth the wait. Thank you Leo and Jacky.
    Those of us working on the wings will find Leo's aft spar and aileron bell crank photos of interest. Leo ended up purchasing the aluminum angle for his aft spar brackets from Aircraft Spruce. As a side note, I just have to give Aircraft Spruce a plug here. I order my resin and AN hardware from them on-line. I almost always receive my order via UPS the next morning! Their service has improved beyond description in the last few years.
    For those of you who do not have access to our members only pages, ISPA member Mike Bowes mentioned on our hangar discussion board that he has posted some conceptual Seawind paint schemes that were commissioned by the late Glenn Reece. These plates are so good I thought all of you might want to see them. They can be seen here. This is a timely post. As noted below, Glenn's beautiful Seawind is now for sale again by the current owner, ISPA member Bob Ball, on our "Seawinds For Sale" page. A very nice picture of Bob's Seawind can be seen there. Thank you all for your participation. Above all, fly safe.

  • December 18, 2003: Be sure to look at the pictures of ISPA members Ed and Mary Lou Lynch's Seawind project on their page in "Letters." It looks like Ed has had a busy and productive summer. Only those of us who have installed the landing gear and stood one of these birds on its "own feet" can fully appreciate the photo of one as it stands alone for the first time. Getting a Seawind to this stage has required weeks of time on our hands-and-knees inside the "belly of the beast," not to mention the hours and hours spent pouring over the builder manual. Great work Ed, and thank you for the photos.
    Response to our Seawind Piloting page has been very positive. Several of your comments and suggestions have been included with the latest update of the page.
    ISPA member Bob Ball is selling his Seawind. A photo and ad can be seen on the Seawinds for sale page. Thank you for your input and participation. Above all, fly safe.

  • December 13, 2002: Like most pilots, I've never had a piloting session or flown an airplane that I didn't learn something from. For the Seawind, this has to be especially true. One thing that puzzles me is why there are Seawind pilots, owners, and builders out there who do not even belong to the ISPA. There is no question that they, and we, could mutually benefit by their participation.
    This is also true of any experimental airplane owner/builder. As composite kit-planes go, the Seawind is probably as challenging as any. Anyway, pass the word about our site along to your friends and acquaintances.
    ISPA member Leon (Leo) Pesche has had a scale model of his Seawind made so that he can refine the details of his planned paint scheme. Leo's paint scheme is gong to be innovative and interesting to all Seawind enthusiasts. To see it, we'll have to wait until Leo has it finalized and is ready for a press release. His model, which has a wing span of about 25" is pictured below. Leo ordered the model from a supplier at the Oshkosh air show in 1999. It was delivered last spring. Apparently, the supplier is not interested in building any more. Thank you Leo.

  • Over the next few weeks I will be making travel reservations and plans for Sun N Fun 2003, April 2 - 8, 2003. I look forward to meeting more of our ISPA members there.
    Some changes and feedback have already been incorporated into our "Seawind Piloting" page. I expect that this page will undergo a lot of change over time, so you will want to keep checking back to it. Fly safe.

  • December 11, 2002: The new heading on our "Seawind Piloting" page is as follows: "An airplane might disappoint any pilot but it'll never surprise a good one" (Len Morgan). The articles there are also starting to take shape. If you have suggestions, corrections, additions, or input after reviewing the page, please email them to me. I have included some holiday thoughts and my family picture on the "Editor's Desk" page. Thank you all for your membership renewals and continuing participation and support.

  • December 10, 2002: "If you can't afford to do something right, then be darn sure you can afford to do it wrong." (Charlie Nelson). Don't miss the latest contribution to our "Aviation Humor" page contributed by Leon Pesche. Some of these make me think "Aviation Humor" may be the wrong title. Many of them should be "Aviation Wisdom." Thank you Leon.
    I had a great discussion today with the folks at the Iron Bay Model Company. Chances are good that they well resume development of the Seawind R/C model next spring or summer. If you are interested in modeling, give them a call. The person I talked to, Aaron, is knowledgeable, friendly, and enthusiastic about the project, and struck me as a person we could all learn from.

  • December 9, 2002: I would like to welcome Graham Woodd to our membership. Graham sent me an email clarification about one of the points in Wally Weller's email. In his email, Graham states the following: "Point #3: The incident was described to me as a momentary loss of power in cruise, not an engine stoppage. I find it hard to believe [that] Tim would fly the plane after an engine stoppage without investigating the cause." Thank you for the clarification Graham and welcome aboard. Our members will welcome your participation.
    Many of you continue to renew your memberships. Thank you. As I receive your payments, I am sending out emails to notify you that it has been received and our database updated accordingly. If you don't get an email within a few days after sending your payment in, email me so we can trace it down.
    A few days ago, I posted a small blurb here on the News page about Seawind 1/4 scale model enthusiasts. I included a link to the Iron Bay Model Company that took over the Byron Model Company, the original producer of a Seawind model in the Creelman days (as referenced in one of the Creelman newsletters).
    After finding the link, I had tried to call Iron Bay several times to no avail. One of our inquisitive members did call Iron Bay and succeeded in talking with them. He tried to buy a 1/4 scale Seawind model, as listed on their web-site, but found it was not available.
    In discussion with them, he found the following: "In the beginning, Byron had produced two Seawind prototype models, one with landing gear for land and amphibious operations, and another without landing gear for 'water only' operations. They were unable to get either of them to fly in a way that modelers would be able to handle. Consequently, production of the model was stopped, only these two were ever made."
    After some discussion with our ISPA member, the person at Iron Bay is contemplating more experimentation with the model. They will probably reduce the scale to 1/6 and add some other design changes in an effort to get it to fly correctly. If any of you are interested in obtaining a model, I would urge you to persist in contacting the Iron Bay Model Company with a request. This may help get them to produce one.
    In the early days (mid 80s) I had people tell me about the Seawind as a 1/4 scale model. In fact, this is how I first learned about the Seawind. Apparently, they were only seen in catalogs. About the same time, I also remember reading in one of the aviation magazines that the Seawind design started in the 1/4 scale genre. If anyone has more information, please let me know. Fly Safe.

  • December 7, 2002: Our thanks go out to ISPA member Wally Weller for providing us with an update about the recent incident. Wally's comments and observations have now been posted in the Members Only section of the site and can be found by the following path: Take the Members shortcut to the hangar and index at the top of this page, then "Seawind Incidents," "Fred Caron."

  • December 5, 2002: The ISPA has no formal affiliation with SNA Inc., the producer of the Seawind kit plane. Since December 2, 2002, ISPA headquarters*** has been inundated with emails and phone calls about the tragic Seawind crash that occurred on Saturday, November 30, 2002.
    Several of our new members and friends are not familiar with the background of the ISPA and the Seawind during recent years. Some folks are confused by some of the implied controversy and discussion, so I believe a brief summary is in order here. For those of you unfamiliar with the history, hopefully this will provide some insight about the occurrences and players.
    The first owner built Seawind, built by Paul Array flew in the early 1990s, as did the SNA prototype. The first few flights were fraught with problems as the new design was wrung out. During these years, there was a lot of heated debate about the adequacy of the elevator and rudder. Understandably, since all during this period SNA was flying their prototype, their official position was (and remains today) that, after a slight modification to the original elevator design, the rudder and elevator authority was adequate. Their opinion, shared by Mike Bowes and others with equal high credibility, is that changes to the flight control surfaces were, and are, unnecessary.
    During the same time period, there developed a contingent of builders who felt that the flight control surfaces needed improvement, and designed modifications accordingly. Craig Easter designed a larger horizontal stabilizer and elevator, dubbed the Big Tail,** and sold it as an after market upgrade to the Seawind. Of course, there are still many builders and pilots who share this sentiment.
    Tragically, on July 23, 1998, after years of building, Dick Adams’ and John Kivenko’s Seawind ingested the air filter foam on takeoff. The engine suddenly quit when the plane was an estimated 150-200 ft above the runway. The nose pitched up as it does with all high thrust planes, and the plane seemed to stall. The right wing dropped when the plane was about 20 ft off the ground. It is believed that the plane never achieved flying speed after the pitch-up. Dick, John, and others stood by the side of the runway and watched in helpless horror.
    Our friend Chet Sprague was the highly experienced and capable test pilot (14,000+ hours). Following the sudden pitch-up and stall that resulted from the abrupt power loss, Chet was unable to regain and maintain control to what most say should have been an uneventful landing on the 2000 feet of straight runway remaining in front of him. Chet survived the crash, but lost one eye and was hospitalized for several weeks.
    Among several other things, the above controversy and disparity of opinion about flight control authority created two bitter, hostile, and warring factions within the Seawind community (the Hatfields and McCoys). Lawsuits and acrimonious debates ran rampant and nearly destroyed this web site and did destroy at least one other. (I believe this controversy is one of the root causes for people's lingering reluctance to post and participate in our bulletin board system.)
    Of course, some bitterness still lingers. It is this debate (and others) that those of us in the ISPA do not want to reopen. The facts are that the Seawind is an experimental kit built aircraft. As with ALL experimental kit planes, the builders must analyze all of the available data in support of their building decisions. Builders, who will have all variations of pilot experience and ability, will want to tailor their airplane to their own demands. They have every right to do so. It is the intent of the ISPA to provide a means for all of us, regardless of our opinions, to exchange ideas. From the posts that have been so thoughtfully prepared during the last few days, it appears we are succeeding.
    Like Chet Sprague, Tim Johnson was a highly experienced, expert, and cautious test pilot. He had logged almost 10,000 flight hours. He was the test pilot for Glastar / Glasair. He had flown two other Seawinds before the Saturday crash.
    Over the next few weeks, a section about piloting (specific to the Seawind) will be added to our site. Piloting the Seawind requires special piloting skills. As just one example, every pilot who contemplates flying the Seawind should read, and thoroughly understand Scott Devlin’s outstanding post, number 392 on our bulletin board. In my opinion, this is not an optional read, it’s mandatory, and it only scratches the surface.
    The details about the above-summarized history are contained in excellent detail in our newsletter archive on this site. I urge each of you to spend some time pouring chronologically through these newsletters in detail. If necessary, print them out and study them in your leisure time. Then, study everything you can about building and piloting the Seawind.
    Thank you all for your indulgence, patience, and especially your participation. I am encouraged by the quality of the recent postings. Keep the information flowing.
    ***For now, ISPA headquarters is a small office in the back of an airplane hangar at the municipal airport in Ogden, Utah (ogd). Our web-site is maintained by one guy, over a dial up connection running at about 32,000 bpm, and a Hewlett Packard Pavilion computer, running MS Windows 98 and MS FrontPage 2000. Things do not always go smoothly. Be sure to read the news entry below.
    **Craig's canopy hinge design is still used by SNA today. Among other things, Craig also designed aftermarket Friese style ailerons.

  • December 4. 2002: The latest Seawind incident has most of sick to our stomachs. Emotions are running high. The cause of the crash is still unknown and under investigation. I am assuming that an ISPA member and/or friend of the ISPA may have been to the crash site and talked with witnesses. If so, please email us any news or enlightenment you can.
    Even though the actual cause is unknown, speculation is running rampant. Until we know more, keep your comments objective and unemotional. Now is the time for the ISPA to pull together and get to the root cause so that we all can learn.
    When it rains it pours! Besides having membership renewals, several pending additions and updates to the site, and tons of email about the crash, our web publishing software has decided to take a turn-for-the-worse. Many of you have noticed that sometimes when I modify and republish the site, the text in the navigation buttons is missing. You can still see what the button does by putting your mouse over the button and looking at your browser status bar. Then, you can click the button to go there. This problem has been plaguing me for weeks, e.g., the day before Thanksgiving it took me more than a dozen tries and about 7 hours to get the site published. I have submitted the problem to Microsoft for help. In the meantime, please be patient and bear with me. If there are any MS Front Page users out there who can help, please contact me.
    Renewals and new memberships to our site are continuing. There are no changes to existing members logins, but the new member's logins have to be individually set-up. If you are a new member, your login should be set up by the end of today. Thank you for your patience and continuing support.

  • December 2, 2002: Fred Caron and Tim Johnson died in a tragic crash of Fred’s Seawind last Saturday in Arlington, Washington (state). Our condolences go out to their families, loved ones, and friends.
    The Seawind is a complex high performance airplane. The need for pilot experience specific to the Seawind just cannot be overstated. This fact was learned by pilots as early as those who flew the Creelman prototypes.
    As already learned from the postings on the ISPA discussion board, pilots should not attempt a deep, power off stall in a Seawind. Also, in the past, because the Seawind flutter characteristics have not been determined (and perhaps other reasons) Paul Furnee has written that the "never exceed" speed of a Seawind is 160 MPH. There are bound to be dozens of facts like this that each of us needs to know. What are they? It is a matter of life and death.
    This type of information is the reason this site exists. It has to be possible for us to talk openly, as adults, without being offended. If someone points out a shortcoming or limitation, they are not necessarily calling our baby ugly or slandering its parent.
    Past similar type experience has shown that, as the facts about this tragic occurrence emerge, there will be a lot of controversy and emotion. I urge each of you to stay objective and contribute to an open discussion in a way that can help us all to make the Seawind safer, and above all, prevent this type of horror in the future. I would also warn that failure to do so could result in our own demise.
    I need someone to write two or three piloting articles, specific to the Seawind, similar to those that Dick Silva wrote in the last few SNA newsletters. The articles need to talk about Seawind air, land, take-off, landing, emergency, water, and rough water operations. They should also summarize and list the pilot cautions and performance limits for the Seawind. They will be posted in a "Piloting" section of this site. If any of you are willing to do this, please email me and let me know. I can email you some of the background material that I already have. I have already set up the piloting page, take a look.
    Several of you have renewed your memberships. Thank you for your continuing support. Be tactful. Fly safe.