Dornier, Diamond To Produce Seastar

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Dornier is going ahead with production of the latest in its long line of flying boats and Diamond Aircraft's London, Ontario, plant is building the composite airframe. The Seastar, which is powered by push/pull twin PT6 turboprops, first flew in the 1980s but it wasn't until 2009 that Dornier Seawings, a third-generation offshoot of one of the oldest aviation companies in the world, announced it would go into production. It initially planned to build the aircraft in Quebec but made a deal with Diamond to tap the company's composites expertise. "Diamond was responsive to our needs, had the necessary experience, resources and facilities and their airplanes are known for their high build quality."

The airplane, which will hold up to 14 people and weigh 10,000 pounds, is bigger than Diamond's product line but Peter Maurer, CEO of the London plant, said his company has experience building larger composite structures from its now-suspended D-Jet program and he says his staff is up to the task. "We are confident that the Seastar will be a great success and are pleased to be playing a role in its entry to the market worldwide." The Seastar airframes will be shipped to Dornier's plant in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Production is in full swing in London and the first finished Seastar is expected to be ready by the summer of 2016. The aircraft will sell for about $6 million.