Ultralight Amphib Flies

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Photo: Christian Stratton

Photo: Christian Stratton

Belite Aircraft has developed an amphibious floatplane that doesn't require a pilot's certificate to fly. The single-seat Sealite weighs less than 338 pounds empty and meets FAR 103 requirements for ultralight float-equipped "vehicles," as the FAA calls them. The Sealite, however, looks every inch an airplane and flew on Tuesday, the 110th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk. I was pleased with this test flight," said Belite President James Wiebe, who made the first flight. "It demonstrated the performance and utility possible with a single-place amphibious aircraft. The ground roll was very short, the climb rate was impressive, and the landing manners were easy and benign.

The first flight was from a grass strip but water tests are planned soon. The vehicle is an adaptation of the company's UltraCub model. Belite said it made the weight with extensive use of carbon fiber in the floats and wing spars. The wings and floats weigh only 20 pounds each.