The first conforming prototype of the Seawind amphibian is complete and ready to start flight tests, the company announced on Monday. Testing should be complete and a certified Seawind amphibian ready for market by this winter, company spokesman Bill Poirier told AVweb yesterday. "A lot of the certification testing is already done," he said. All the components, the seats, the gear, are already set, he said. The prototype will undergo spin testing, and is being fitted with a recovery chute. Because there is so much work to do, the prototype won't appear at Oshkosh, Poirier said, but he hopes to be showing it at the AOPA Expo in Palm Springs in November. Financing is secure through certification, he said. The company has private funding as well as a guaranteed loan of $2.8 million from the Province of Quebec.
Flight tests will include VFR land and water operations, and flutter and spin testing. These tests will determine the performance specifications including rate of climb, V speeds, and takeoff and landing distances. The prototype will also test IFR capabilities and the three-axis autopilot, as well as the FADEC engine controls. Certification is concurrent with Transport Canada and the FAA. Assembly has begun on article 002, and parts manufacturing is underway for 003. "As soon as the second prototype is finished, we expect to have completed the flutter and spin regime," said Seawind's President Richard Silva. "At that point we will be confident that no significant changes will be required, and we can safely ramp up production." The four-seat Seawind is selling for $324,900 and up. About 77 copies have been ordered.