First Production Seawind Takes Flight

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What seems to enthusiastic onlookers like one of the longest aircraft development programs, Seawind, hit a major milestone last week with the first certification test flight of a Seawind amphib built at the factory in St. Jean sur Richelieu, Quebec. Details of the flight weren't released. But until this flight, all other Seawinds, including the well-worn demo plane flown from air show to air show, were built from kits. The company now says it hopes to have Transport Canada certification for VFR within four months. IFR and other certifications will follow, including full authority digital engine control (FADEC) on the big Continental 550 that rests on a pylon protruding from the tail. Although it looks the same as a kit Seawind, the production model is substantially different and better, according to CEO Dick Silva. He said that after initial certification, the company will look at adding options including a diesel engine, de-icing and air conditioning. Many of the improvements incorporated in the production model will be made available to owners of the kit airplanes. "We will continue our policy of making any new developments available to retrofit earlier aircraft," Silva said. " We do not want any Seawind to become obsolete."