March 2003

  • March 30, 2003: The ISPA has two events planned for Sun-n-Fun. There is a dinner on Friday night, April 4th; and a bar-b-q at Ed Lynch's motor home on Saturday night, April 5th. These events will be coordinated by posting messages at the Seawind display. We invite all to attend. You do not have to be a member of the ISPA. If you are interested in attending, please make arrangements in advance with either Ed or Tom Saccio by exchanging a message at the Seawind display. If you are interested in the Seawind, this is a great opportunity to meet the owners and members of the ISPA. Most ISPA members have said that these events are the highlight of the show.
    Herewith, we are also inviting the folks from SNA to join us. We are looking forward to hearing all about the work SNA has been engaged in with the new certification effort. For everyone interested, SNA also has forums scheduled in order to provide us all with information.
    The new website for the certified Seawind is up and running. The URL is Fly safe.

  • March 12, 2003: The following photos show the latest failure of the internal parts of the Seawind main landing gear oleo. See the Hangar Discussion Page, post 546, March 11, 2003, for details about these photos. More information about these will be posted during the next few days. Thank you to the Owner and Mike Bowes for providing these excellent photos.

  • March 2, 2003: The Seawind creates interest whenever and however it is encountered. During the last few years, there has been a huge amount of information about the Seawind in the aviation media. Nowadays, when most people have a question, they turn to the Internet. If people have a question about the Seawind, they usually end up at the home page of ISPA, and enter the question into our information form there. Every time an article about the Seawind is published in the aviation media, I get dozens of inquiries about all things pertaining to the Seawind.

    Well, the April 2003 issue of “Private Pilot” magazine is a “Seaplane Special Edition.” On page 55, there is a section entitled “Affordable Flying Boats” that includes a glowing summary about the Seawind. I thought it would be helpful to include here some answers to the questions that this article is already spawning.

    First of all, the ISPA has no formal affiliation whatsoever with SNA, Inc., the company that manufactures and markets the Seawind kit.

    The April 2003 “Private Pilot” article states the following:

    • Private Pilot: “There are more than 60 Seawinds flying worldwide, and some even have turbines in place of their large piston engines.” ISPA: According to information provided by our ISPA members, something around 170 Seawind kits have been sold, 57 have been completed and flown (a remarkable percentage for a kit plane). Some of those have been destroyed, and some others are no longer airworthy for other reasons. In any case, there are less than 55 flying.

    • Private Pilot: "…the Seawind is headed for certification with only a few minor mods required for the changeover. The cabin has been increased by 2 inches for more headroom, and the landing gear has been redesigned so that it’s attached to the wing and not to the fuselage. The gear will retract outboard. The new Seawind will be certified jointly by Canada and the FAA." ISPA: As far as the ISPA knows, there is currently only one Seawind prototype, and it is the personal airplane of the company owner. If SNA has a new or revised design, the development is being done in secret. [Please note, the “mods” referred to seem to be more than minor. ed]

    • Private Pilot: "The high point of the Seawind is its speed. It can cruise at more than 200 mph." ISPA: All amphibious aircraft are a blend of compromises. The ability for an aircraft to land on both water and land affects its flight characteristics and speed. As I have been lead to understand from those of you who are familiar with the complete history of the Seawind development, the early Creelman prototype had a higher cruise speed than the current configuration, but did not have adequate water handling characteristics. Following the design changes required to improve the water handling, and add more power (Tim the Tool Man be proud), the cruise speed had been reduced some (probably as a result of more drag produced by the changes in fuselage geometry). OK, in response to the article: According to the information provided by ISPA members who have actually built and flown the Seawind kits, the actual cruise speed is less than (NOT more than) 200 mph, and in fact, Paul Furnee, the original SNA test pilot, recommended a Vne (never exceed speed) that is less than 200 mph (see the “Seawind Piloting” page on this site). Most of us who own Seawinds do not care about the actual cruise speed, but a claim that it exceeds 200 mph is extremely misleading to many prospective buyers (and unnecessary!).

I hope that this information is helpful in answering the questions of many prospective Seawind owners. Regardless of what the actual specifications are for your future individual Seawinds, those of us in the ISPA feel it is a fabulous airplane, and encourage you to proceed with your research and endeavors concerning the Seawind.

Remember also that the kit plane industry is the quintessential “buyer beware” market. Those of us in the ISPA advocate that in your due diligence before purchase, you will vigorously ask questions of SNA and all who have built and flown Seawinds.

Our ISPA “Membership Directory” (in our members only pages) includes dozens of owners who will be glad to answer your questions and share information. If you are serious about purchasing a Seawind, membership in the ISPA is essential, and a real bargain. Thank you for your participation and support. Fly Safe.