Production-Ready Amphib Makes First Flight

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The Czech Aircraft Works caught our attention at last year's Sun 'n Fun when they exhibited, with little fanfare, the already-flying prototype of their first in-house design, a Sport Pilot-ready two-seat aluminum-hulled amphibian called the Mermaid. Now they've taken what they learned from that prototype and started test flights on the first production model. The final design flies faster, lands slower, and is lighter, allowing for more useful load, the company said in a news release last week. About a square meter was added to the wing area, and the wingtips were redesigned for greater efficiency. Chip Erwin, president of Czech Aircraft Works, said, "We did not rush the Mermaid into production but rather took the time to flight-test properly, and then refine and optimize the design. The result is a high-quality aircraft with exceptionally fine flying characteristics, refined systems, and the versatility of an amphibian. We have met our design goals and are now completing the documentation and establishing production." The first customer aircraft are already in production, with first deliveries expected by the end of the summer, the company said. The new Mermaid will be on display at Oshkosh in July.