July - September 2003

  • September 28, 2003: A page has been added describing the 2003 ISPA Seawind fly-in held in Sarasota Florida yesterday. There is still more to come, but this will give you a start. Even if you don't own a Seawind, you'll want to review this page. Go here to see now. Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to this fantastic event. Fly safe.

  • September 16, 2003: We are counting down to the Seawind fly-in to be held in Sarasota Florida on September 27, 2003. If you have not yet made plans to attend, please do so and join us.

    ISPA members Tony Jurcan and Craig Easter both sent me the article that follows. It was posted by Paul Furnee on the "Lake Amphibian Forum." As most of you know, Paul was one of SNA's original test pilots and was instrumental in getting the Seawind venture underway. Paul, like all ISPA members and friends, is applauding SNA's certification effort and hoping the best for all of those involved.

    Tony was also good enough to obtain Paul's permission for us to post this on our site, with the request that it be posted without editing, and not taken out of context in any way. Thank you Paul and Tony for this interesting and insightful article.

============Forwarded Message==============

Forum: The Lake Amphibian Flyers Club Forum

Subject: Reflections on Oshkosh

From: Paul Furnee

DateTime: 9/5/2003 10:09:05 AM

I know Dick Silva and the Seawind very well. I commend Dick on his efforts to certify the Seawind. However, from my experience certifying the Renegade, which was a simple stretch of an existing design, I think Dick has a long way to go. The Seawind is a pretty good aircraft as a homebuilt aircraft, but in my opinion needs a lot of development, before it can be certified.

I think Seawind's composite manufacturing abilities are second to none. But I still have reservations about the integrity of Plastic components, especially after a few years of water abuse. Nevertheless, Dick's personal aircraft has ten years and 2000 hours of abuse now, and appears to be holding up quite well.

In the air the Seawind handles quite well and is a pleasure to fly. In contrast to many detractors, it is a very stable IFR platform, better than most certified aircraft. It IS as fast as advertised, and you can easily plan 165 knots on a Cross country trip. The useable ceiling is in the HIGH teens without turbocharging. It's major negative is almost no rudder authority at slow speeds and a fair amount of "Dutch roll" at slow speeds. I believe this to be the major aerodynamic detriment to certification. It will almost certainly not recover from a spin without power. I believe a spin chute, at least, will be required to certify the aircraft.

Water handling is no where near as good as a Lake. No Lake pilot would be satisfied with the water characteristics of the Seawind. Step turns are sketchy at best, with almost no aileron control, and if you get a wingtip in the water, watch out! The good news is that you can do "spin-outs" all day without doing any damage. The landing attitude is very critical, and if not exactly correct will result in a bounce from which there is no recovery except for a go around. My experience with the water handling requirements needed to certify the Lake is: NO WAY! With the Lake we needed to demonstrate a crosswind landing, both right and left, at the maximum demonstrated crosswind (15 kts) combined with the maximum recommended wave height (18"). This would be an automatic uncontrolled cartwheel if you tried it in the Seawind.

I think the straight ahead landing and take off characteristics of the Seawind are adequate, even if no where near as good as the Lake. Straight ahead, the Seawind handles rough water as well as the Renegade. But it will take a lot of training and experience before an ordinary land pilot will be able to manage it. This will make training mandatory and will no doubt make insurance expensive.

Can the aircraft be certified? I think so, but not without some modifications and development. I would NOT consider it a serious threat to the Lake Renegade at this point in time. We need lots more Seaplanes in the fleet, and a few hundred more Seawinds (and Beriev's as well) would only serve to keep the interest in water flying alive and well. I sincerely hope that Dick is successful in getting the aircraft certified, but I would like to not see any "shortcuts" taken in the process. This will be expensive, and I hope it can be done without having yet one more good aircraft company go bust.

[Paul Furnee]

  • September 2, 2003: A lot is happening in the Seawind community. For those of you who may not have seen our postings in the Hangar, our annual splash-in (fly-in) will be held in Sarasota Florida the last weekend in September. We will be touring Bowes Aviation on Saturday the 27th. Bowes Aviation currently has three Seawinds in progress as well as a Lion Heart (a modern composite version of the venerable Staggerwing Beech). Many of us who are still in the process of completing our kits will be there to gather all we can from Mike and his expert builders.
    ISPA Membership Renewals. So soon? Yes, if you haven’t just subscribed or already renewed, it’s time to renew your ISPA membership. If this seems fast, it is because the renewal date has been moved back to September (as it was originally). Of course during recent months, many of you renewed through 2004 already.

    Your log-ins will still be good through December, but doing memberships now will help us avoid doing them during the busy holiday season (like we did last year). Thank you for your support and understanding.

    With SNA’s effort to certify the Seawind, and their decision to stop producing kits and stop publishing a written newsletter, the ISPA organization and website is becoming more important than ever.

    We want to extend a special welcome to the prospective owners of the new certificated Seawinds, especially those of you who have already joined and contributed to our ISPA efforts.

    The ISPA will continue to be your best source for reliable, accurate, and unbiased information about everything pertaining to the Seawind, either kit built or certificated. Please renew now. Complete renewal information is available here. Thank you all again for your ongoing participation and support. Fly safe.

  • August 17, 2003: ISPA member Scott Devlin has been busy creating a new website. While he says it is under construction, it already contains some excellent photos and information. View the new site at the link that follows. Thank you Scott. www.devlinaviation.com

    News from the Oshkosh AirVenture air show has been somewhat sparse this year. However, ISPA member Leon Pesche (shown at right with the typical Oshkosh hair style and a typical Oshkosh $25 dinner fare, drink not included) sent in some nice photos including the one of George Osborne's N184WL in full race dress. It can be seen near the bottom of the page here on the "Newest Seawinds" page. Thank you Leon and George.

    Some of you may be familiar with the PBS Television series "Wings Over Canada." A while back I wrote an email to the link on their website suggesting that they do a show about the Seawind. With the recent move of production to Canada there may be some additional material for John to cover. For those interested, John sent me the following email. Thank you John. You may want to check out their site at the link in the email below:

----- Original Message -----

From: john@wingsovercanada.ca

Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2003 9:58 AM

Subject: Re: Dispatches from the North Message

Hi Brent:

Thanks for the email. We are very familiar with the Seawind and in fact it has made 3 appearances on the Wings Over Canada series. Recently we compared it with 7 other float planes in some water tests and it posted the fastest cruise speed... which should come as no surprise. The aircraft we work with is owned by a dentist, Dr. Balough here in Vancouver. Perhaps you could link us at www.wingsovercanada.ca from your site. Please keep us posted at John@wingsovercanada.ca



  • July 12, 2003: According to the latest (and final) SNA newsletter, the 59th seawind to fly is Bernard beautiful N824BH, first flight June 11, 2003. Congratulations Bernard, what a beautiful paint scheme and plane.

    Some amusing photos have been added to the "Aviation Humor" page. Fly safe.

This photo is simply titled "At Work." This stage of completion represents several thousand hours of "work." To build a kit plane, a person better enjoy building as much as flying.

  • July 4, 2003: I have posted some pictures and a brief update on my own "Letters" page in the members only section. Those of you who are interested can take a look here.

    Participation in the ISPA has been gradually, but steadily growing since being established. Participation on our bulletin board system, referred to as the "Hangar," has been increasing nicely. There were 326 posts last year, and about 240 posts so far this year.

    Our membership numbers are pretty constant at somewhere between 60 and 70 members. During the last membership renewal campaign we picked up about as many members as we lost. This year the membership renewal campaign will start September 1. For those of you who have recently joined the ISPA, I would recommend that you read post #423 in the Hangar, “How it Works.”

    With the recent changes at SNA, our organization is going to become even more vital to the Seawind community. The information on this site is absolutely vital for building and flying one of these birds. Like Millie Bodnar and Paul Marshall at SNA, the folks here provide a light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. We all owe a great deal to those who started and continue to participate in this organization. Thank you all, and above all, fly safe.