Seawind Joins "Soon To Be Certified" Set

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A sleek amphibian (not a description usually used for flying boats) that captured the imagination -- if not the marketplace -- in the kit crowd will be launched as a certified design, according to Advanced Aero Corporation spokesman Paul Marshall. A prototype of the production Seawind, with its distinctive tail-mounted engine and massive bubble canopy, could be started as soon as this fall in Quebec. First deliveries are anticipated in 2005, said Marshall. The company says the aircraft offers performance similar to many complex singles at a competitive price and adds water operations as a bonus. Marshall said the all-composite Seawind has a useful load of 1,100 pounds and will cruise up to 166 knots with a no-fuel-reserved range of 1,460 miles. It uses a 300-hp Lycoming engine burning about 13 gph at economy cruise (147 knots). Marshall said the more-efficient construction techniques of the certified version will shave 200 pounds from the weight of kit-built Seawinds. Also, the gear will retract into the wings of the factory model, instead of into the fuselage as in the kitplanes. Base introductory price is $290,000. The company has an 80,000-square-foot factory at St. Jean de Richelieu and was lured to Quebec by tax and other incentives.