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The Dornier Seaplane Company says it has the orders it needs to begin production of the twin turboprop SeaStar amphibian, and it's narrowed the factory site to two Canadian locations. The 10-place aircraft, with an over-wing push-pull arrangement for the two PT6 engines, will be built in either St. Jean sur Richelieu, Quebec, just south of Montreal, or North Bay, Ontario, about 250 miles north of Toronto. Winter operations will be conducted in Punta Gorda, Fla. The company says it has 25 letters of intent in hand for the aircraft, which harkens back to Dornier's early flying boat designs, but the version is made mostly of composites and boasts the latest in engine and electronic technology.
Dornier has been in the airplane business for 100 years and got its start with flying boats that were some of the most ambitious designs of their time. It's a legacy the family-owned company wants to continue. "I am very pleased that we will continue to build on the 100-year legacy of the Dornier family of aircraft in Canada," said company chairman Conrado Dornier. He said the Canadian locations were picked for their available skilled labor pool, low real estate costs and the proximity to uncrowded airspace over an abundance of lakes.