By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
The on-again, off-again, on-again, four-plus-one place Seawind 300C has received its flight permit, flown over Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada, and is heading for certification, according to company chief, Richard Silva. The aircraft is marketed by Seawind as both "the world's most versatile land plane" and "the world's fastest seaplane." Flight testing will be performed by the National Research Center, Canada, over three months finishing in June, Silva told AVweb. Silva says that, after successful testing, his priorities will shift to production of the first five customer aircraft, and flight tests and certification work with the autopilot. Silva says he has secured funding through certification and is working to set up the next phase for production. He forecasts demand in excess of 120 aircraft per year, looking at amphib pilots alone, but Silva adds that most of his early orders came from non-amphib pilots.
Silva says the latest incarnation of the aircraft will fly with a Continental IO-550 310-hp FADEC equipped engine and the company will offer a turbo-normalized option. It will carry G600 synthetic vision-equipped glass cockpit avionics and, says Silva, it will fly faster than a Mooney, while offering more shoulder room than a Beaver. According to Silva, 70 percent of his order holders were not amphib pilots when they grabbed a slot. Having been down a rough road, including a 2007 crash that killed test pilot Glenn Ralph Holmes, the company that once held 94 orders now retains more than 50. And some of those remaining belong to investors now funding the project. Seawind plans to produce its 300C at an 82,000 square-foot facility, located off of Lake Champlain.