October - December 2003

ISPA Member George Osborne's beautiful Seawind N184WL on Lake Elora at his resort home in Minnesota, summer 2003. More pictures of George's Seawind can be seen on his page in the "Letters" section of the site.

Above, ISPA members Joan & George Osborne with their beautiful Seawind N184WL that they flew in the AirVenture 2003 race. (Photo courtesy of Keith Walljasper. Thank you Keith.)

Above, ISPA member Keith Walljasper and his son with Keith's beautiful N80CC that they flew in the AirVenture 2003 race. This race must be a lot of fun. Notice the smiles. (Photo courtesy of Keith Walljasper. Thank you Keith.)

This photo shows ISPA member Ed Lynch and his Seawind in September 2003. Ed gave me this photo at the September 2003 fly-in. I didn't get the name of Ed's helper. (Thank you Ed)

  • December 28, 2003: As has been repeatedly pointed out on this site, and most recently in a post by ISPA member Keith Walljasper, one of the paramount "Ecstasy," the yacht built by Bud & Betty Gustin.characteristics that makes the ISPA fascinating is our diverse membership. This becomes apparent in just a few minutes of conversation with any member, especially in person when attending our fly-ins or splash-ins. It takes a special kind of person, with an abundance of skill and intellectual curiosity (among other things) to build and/or own a Seawind. Most are people who have the rare ability and courage to accomplish their dreams. Each of our members has a fascinating story.

    Good examples of this are Bud and Betty Gustin. In some of our recent email correspondence, Bud sent me a couple of pictures of one of his former projects, Ecstasy; the 44 foot yacht that he built over a 7 year period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some brief details about this project can be seen on Bud and Betty's page in the letters section. Their brief biography is also included there. Since selling Ecstasy a few years back, Bud has been building a Seawind. We look forward to hearing more about Bud's Seawind project. Thank you Bud and Betty.

  • December 12, 2003: ISPA member Ken Wood has been working on renderings of the Seawind to be used in FLY!-II flight simulator. Ken has sent us several that will be used in the release of the Seawind version of the simulator. Some were posted here on the News page a while back. All of these photos along with Ken's story can now be seen on Ken's page in the Letters section of the site. Don't miss it. Information about the flight simulator (and eventually the Seawind version) can be found at the following link: www.iflytri.com. For those of you who are interested in more about flight simulators, you may also want to look at this link provided by Ken: www.avsim.com. Thank you Ken.

  • November 29, 2003: ISPA member Roger Isackson (AKA, Ramjet) has been sending in a lot of fascinating information about fiberglass fabrication techniques, tools, and practice. He recently sent several excellent photos of his installation of the double ply bulkhead on his elevator horns. These photos include some excellent information about what can be expected during the construction of a Seawind. Roger's technique for bonding (from just one side) both sides of a sandwich panel is especially interesting and applicable. For example, this technique can be used for installing the reinforcement panels inside the hull at the front of the wing. Included here is Roger's photo showing the installation of a bulkhead where the inner surface of the panel is bonded prior to filleting and bonding the outer surface. The rest of his photos can be seen on Roger's page in the "Letters" section of the site. More of the information Roger has provided about fiberglass techniques will be added in the future.

  • The ISPA site is large. Those of us who have been to most of the pages find ourselves returning to just a couple on a frequent basis. The following tips may help make navigation easier. MS Internet Explorer is shown, but similar features are also included in almost all other browsers.

    The adjacent picture shows a screen shot of MS browser. Note that the toolbar includes a section called "Links." You will see "ISPA Hangar" and "ISPA News" included in the links. To set your toolbars up in a similar manner, while in your browser, go to "View" and in the dropdown menu move your cursor over "Toolbars," then move your cursor over "Links" and select it. This makes the links toolbar show up. Now, when you are at a page that you frequently use, go to "Favorites" and select "add to favorites," before adding, choose the "Links" file folder in the drop down window. After getting your favorite sites in the links toolbar, you can rename them by right clicking on them, and they can be moved by selecting them and holding the mouse button down while moving them where you want them in the toolbar. (Shorter names will allow more links to show right on the bar.)

    You can add links to all of your favorite pages here and then they are always just one click away when you are in your browser. Other browsers have similar features with which you can set up handy shortcuts. Fly safe.

  • November 4, 2003: On October 26, 2003 ISPA member Fred Lohr's newly completed Seawind, N55SW, completed its maiden flight. The flight was accomplished with the capable assistance and pilotage of ISPA member Jack Ardoyno. N55SW is the 60th Seawind to fly. Congratulations Fred.

    As some of you may know, Jack Ardoyno is currently building his own turbine powered Seawind. Jack also provides flight and seaplane instruction.

ISPA Member Leon Pesche has questions about installation of the Seawind nav lights. The picture above is posted here for discussion in our "Hangar" bulletin board.

  • October 25, 2003: The ISPA membership renewal effort is continuing and going pretty well. We are up to about 30 members with renewals and new memberships. Several new members have sent emails expressing interest in purchasing Seawind kits. Others are contemplating the purchase of the new certified Seawind 300C. The ISPA is pleased to welcome all of you.

    As we have discussed before, there are still Seawind kits for sale by persons who have bought them but their circumstances have changed and they must now sell their kits. SNA, the company that produced the Seawind kit (even though they are not currently building kits) has promised to continue support of the kit market.

    For those of you who may have kits for sale, or know of someone who does, please email me or post the information in our "Hangar" bulletin board discussion group. We can then pass this information on to those who are interested. It would be great if we could match buyers to sellers and get more Seawinds flying. Thank you all for your continuing participation and support.

    While at the fly-in in September, Keith Walljasper gave me several photos including those above. He gave me a couple of others from last year's fly-in at Manteo, NC. I wasn't sure where to post them, so I posted them at the bottom of this year's fly-in page. Those who were there will enjoy them.

A short while back I received an email from Kenneth Wood who is developing Seawind artwork for a flight simulator. Ken needed some dimensional information and photos of the Seawind. Some of the photos were provided from our site, and ISPA member Art Culver.

Ken's resulting beautiful work is shown above. Ken still needs 360 degree photos from the inside of the Seawind as well. If any of you would be willing to provide him with some photos, or even better yet, allow him to photograph the inside of your Seawind from the pilot's seat, please email him.

Ken has provided several of these images. As time permits, a page will be added to the site that displays the rest. Thank you Ken.

  • October 19, 2003: Most everyone in the Seawind community had a pleasant surprise last week when they received their first edition of the "Seawind Flyer" in the mail. The Seawind Flyer is the new quarterly publication from Seawind Inc., that promises to be all about happenings concerning the 300C certificated Seawind. This Seawind Flyer first edition contained, among other things, some news that is especially good for the Seawind kit owner/builder community. Briefly, some of the highlights include the following:

    Even though kit production has been suspended for the foreseeable future, SNA, Inc., promises to "continue to support the kit and will provide for any parts required to the builder/owner." This is great news.

    The announcement of Seawind Surety Ltd. - Seawind Insurance Program for certified Seawind aircraft owners throughout the world.

    The announcement that Seawind Inc., will be developing "some advanced water and bush pilot training programs in cooperation with people who specialize in that field."

    While the benefits of continued kit support are obvious, the implications of the other two items above may take some time to develop. We can hope that having an insurance program for certified Seawinds may eventually lead the way for insurance on the kit built aircraft as well.

    The articles also provided some interesting information about the Seawind certification efforts and progress. The Seawind composite manufacturing process has obtained approval. This approval required 2,032 tests.

    If you didn't receive a copy of the "Seawind Flyer," you might want to call or contact SNA and get on the subscription list.

  • October 13, 2003: Some who read our site pages may have been mislead into thinking they need to have the skills of Chuck Yeager or Bob Hoover in order to fly a Seawind. This is not so about piloting the Seawind. Recent experience has shown that any reasonable pilot, with the right attitude and proper training, can learn to safely fly and enjoy the Seawind. Heavy emphasis on the proper training by a qualified Seawind pilot!

    Some of you have been emailing me and asking some excellent questions about owning, building, and flying the Seawind. One of the best written and most succinct examples, included below, came from ISPA member Tom Thunnell (kit #170):

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

From: Tom Thunnell

To: Brent Carlson

Sent: Monday, October 13, 2003 8:00 AM

Subject: International Seawind Pilots Association Membership

Hello Brent:

As you know I am new to the ISPA and frankly was not aware of its existence until recently. I thought I had done my due diligence before purchasing a Seawind kit, but after perusing your website I find I was not as thorough as I thought I was.

I have belonged to the EAA for more than 30 years, read every aviation magazine printed, and have followed the Seawind development since Creelman in Canada. I also have subscribed to the Seawind newsletter since its inception. Now, however, I find that I have purchased a kit that will come in 300 to 400 lbs. above the advertised weight, have oleo's that [may] explode on me, be unable to recover from a low speed, low altitude power loss or a spin at any altitude unless I have flying ability somewhere between Yeager and Hoover and lots of luck.

I transitioned into the Lake Amphibian for my seaplane rating with an instructor, who it turned out knew less about flying the aircraft than I did, and it was a snap. I am not looking forward to flying constantly in a state of high anxiety. Is this normal first time builders trepidation, or have I signed up for a flying lifetime of tranquilizers?


Tom Thunnell

Thank you Tom for these thought provoking questions that most of us ask ourselves. In response, here is a little of my own history.

After buying my kit with my entire life's savings for retirement in 1994, I went through about five years of hell. At the time, there was no history. There were only two Seawinds flying, and the prototype had crashed once.

Then, because of a horribly unfortunate builder error, John Kivenko and Dick Adams' Seawind was crashed by one of our super pilots. The air cleaner foam was sucked into the intake and killed the engine on takeoff. The Seawind nay-sayers were peddling all manner of propaganda, and a huge acrimonious pissing contest ensued amongst what had developed into two sides of the debate separated by a huge chasm of misinformation and unknowns.

I tried to sell my kit for several years. Got into a huge pissing contest with several folks in the Seawind community... the list goes on and on. In the years my kit was for sale, I had only one or two buyers who were probably serious, but when they sought out information about buying my kit, for a number of now unimportant reasons, they got frozen feet (not just cold feet).

Well anyway, while all this was transpiring, Mike Bowes was successfully building and flying "vanilla" Seawinds and teaching ordinary guys how to fly them as well.

Many of the problems in the beginning involved pilots learning to fly the Seawind. And as far as that goes, all airplanes go through regimens of flight during takeoff and landing where an engine failure can be catastrophic.

After all this, a little over two years ago, after a round of intense research and thought about then recent developments, I decided the only way I can recover anything on my investment is to build my kit. It is something I have wanted to do all my life anyway (well, since the late 80s when I saw a Seawind for the first time, prior to that I just wanted to build an airplane).

At this year's fly-in, listening to Keith Walljasper and Larry Sapp talking about learning to fly their own Seawinds with Mike was tremendous. Larry had only 200 hours when he started to fly his Seawind. He said that by 35 hours in the Seawind he was comfortable and loved it, and the trepidation was gone.

Again, I fear some who read our site pages may have been mislead about needing to have skills like Chuck Yeager to fly this thing. I now need to figure out how to turn some of that around, while still instilling the idea that you don't just strap this thing on, go out on the Potomac (or the closest body of water) and have-att'er. You must instead treat her with a healthy dose of profound respect, and get professional help (professional pilot help that is).

Thanks to our many pioneers, and at some horrendous expense, the problems with the Oleos and other mechanical shortcomings have been identified and solved (for the most part). Information from actual performance and flight data is now available. Because of these dedicated pioneers and these developments, our situation today is much better than it has ever been, and getting better all the time.

I hope this helps. Build your Seawind and enjoy it. That's what I am going to do. In the mean time, I'll bet some more positive piloting stuff comes out of the certification effort.

We may never know, but I'll bet Yeager and Hoover would probably make some of the same observations, and I'll bet they are as slain by the Seawind as the rest of us are. Somewhere along the line, I've learned that "happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have."

Thank you all for listening. Above all, fly safe. Brent #71

P.S. Our membership renewal drive seems to be going quite well. We have several new members who I believe have committed to buy, or are thinking about buying a new certificated Seawind. Welcome aboard, and thank you for your interest and support. All of us in the ISPA look forward to your participation and insight.

  • October 12, 2003: For our friends who may not know, a Seawind was damaged during taxiing tests on the Potomac River on October 6. As a result, ISPA members have been having an excellent discussion on our bulletin board about flying the Seawind. While almost any pilot can learn to fly a Seawind, just one of the points we try to make here on our site is the importance of seeking expert help from a pilot with Seawind specific experience when learning. One of our many expert pilots in the Seawind community is Nancy El-Hajj. I do not have the facts to list all of her many qualifications and certifications as a pilot, but I do know they are considerable. She has posted a paragraph about some of her experience while piloting the Seawind that is essential reading for everyone. It can be found in our "Hangar" bulletin board, post #876, posted on October 11, 2003. Thank you Nancy.

    An update has been added to the "Editor's Desk" page. Some other subtle, but important changes have been made to our "Seawind Piloting" and "Fly-in 2003" pages.

    A short time back, the following email was received from ISPA member Tom Thunnell. It provides the best information we have to date on the number of Seawind kits out there.

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

From: Tom Thunnell

To: Editor, ISPA

Sent: Friday, October 03, 2003 9:02 AM

Subject: International Seawind Pilots Association Membership


Thanks for the membership confirmation. In scanning the web site I came across the mention of SNA getting out of the kit business and an indication that kit #169 was the last one sold.

I was told by Paul in April of "03" that I had purchased the last kit at that time and was assigned #170. However, I spoke to Dick Silva at the fly-in and he said he thought there might be a couple more yet to be sold. I am waiting for delivery which is supposed to occur in the middle of October sometime and I am anxious to get going.


Tom Thunnell

Thank you Tom. Like you, we can't wait for you to get your kit and get started. Thank you also to all of our ISPA members for your continuing participation and support. Above all, fly safe.

  • October 10, 2003: These are exciting times for the Seawind community. The prospect of certifying the Seawind brings with it not only many challenges, but many benefits as well.

    I had a fascinating and informative discussion with Dick Silva, founder, owner, and president of Seawind North America (SNA) today. Dick called me in response to our request to have SNA host the fly-in in Canada next year, and to chat about our piloting page, and our recently posted fly-in page. Dick and his staff at SNA are totally consumed by their efforts to certify the Seawind. As we all know, this is a daunting and challenging undertaking. They are proceeding as planned, and things are going well so-far. Dick shared with me some of the extensive testing and rigorous requirements that must be met for certification. SNA has their work cut out for them, and they are determined and working hard to succeed.

    Dick assured me that he has no intention of dropping his support of those of us in the kit building community. In the long run, certification of the Seawind will benefit everyone. He feels that at the time next year when we want to have our fly-in, all of those in SNA will still be heavily involved with the certification efforts. It would be too much for him to ask of his staff to try to host the fly-in event, but he is hoping that they will be in a position to host it by the following year.

    In light of our discussions at the fly-in, and the recent Potomac water taxiing incident, Dick has some timely and interesting insight into Seawind building and piloting. One of the points that came out at the fly-in, and that Dick reinforced, is that flying the Seawind is possible by any pilot with adequate training, even low time pilots. The key is "adequate training."

    With the event on the Potomac, and others like it, the reason and need for factory-built, certified Seawinds starts to become more clear. The importance of consistency in building and design becomes more obvious. This is also reinforced by those who are most familiar with the building process like Mike Bowes, Scott Devlin, and Graham Woodd. Scott has an excellent post (#864) on our ISPA bulletin board about Seawind builder and experimentation philosophy. The success of Bowes Aviation and the Seawinds that have come out of Mike's shop are yet more endorsements for consistency.

    Dick has some great vision and plans for future offerings that the certified Seawind will make possible. As these things roll out, I am hopeful that we in the ISPA will all be a supportive and participative force in helping to make it all possible. Dick has committed to help keep us informed of progress along the way (as time permits of course). Naturally, the certification work-at-hand has to take the top priority. We will be posting every sliver of information we get as this story rolls out. Stay tuned, there is just no question that this story is going to be exciting and fun.

    Recently, ISPA member Perry Taylor sent us some photos of some time that he and his wife Viv spent with their seawind at Orpheus island, on the Great Barrier Reef. They have been posted on Perry's page in the "Letters" section of the site.

    Please remember that membership renewals are due. If you have not yet renewed, please do so within the next couple of weeks. In December, usernames and passwords for those members who choose not to renew will be removed. We now have about twenty two members who have renewed. Thank you for your ongoing participation and support. Above all, fly safe.