Canadian Government Rescues Seawind

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Loan guarantees from the Canadian government have ensured the long-awaited (and frustrated) certification of the Seawind amphibian can go ahead, possibly as early as next year. Company President Dick Silva told a news conference at Air Venture that the money enabled the Quebec-based firm to overcome some technical certification issues regarding the materials and bonding used in the all-composite airframe. "We're breaking new ground," he said. Transport Canada is the regulatory authority but it is working hand-in-glove with the FAA and certification in both countries will take place simultaneously. The production Seawind has only subtle differences from the 64 kits that have been built so far. A trailing link landing gear will be put on the factory models (and won't be available on the kits) and there's an extra two-inches of headroom in the production planes. The factory jobs also come with a "water motor" that retracts from the nose and makes docking and maneuvering (not to mention trolling) a lot easier. So far, 19 orders have been placed for factory Seawinds and all customers have gone for the $320,000 IFR version. The VFR model is about $30,000 cheaper.