Gweduck Amphib Makes First Flight

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The Gweduck experimental amphibian, pronounced "gooey-duck," made its first flight last weekend, launching from Lake Washington in Renton, Wash. The twin-engine airplane was designed by Ben Ellison, owner of Ellison Throttle Body Injectors. He started the project in the early 1990s as an attempt to build a modern version of the popular Widgeon, using composite materials to avoid corrosion issues. "Over time the project developed into a ground-up redesign ... a completely new aircraft that combines the knowledge and experience of 1940s and '50s flying-boat designs with modern composite construction, and the latest in aerodynamic and hydrodynamic technologies," according to the project Web site.

The Gweduck has generated a lot of interest, according to EAA, and its builders plan to fly it to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this summer to see if there is enough interest to develop a kit program and sell copies of the airplane. The airplane's name derives from the name of a large clam indigenous to the Pacific Northwest called the geoduck, which is pronounced "gooey duck," according to EAA. The six-seat aircraft cruises at about 135 knots.