Privateer Amphibian Makes First Flight
After more than ten years in development, the Privateer Amphibian made its first successful flight last week. The single-engine pusher from Privateer Industries was designed by John Meekins and Bill Husa. As seen in the video below, the flight went well, although it has been reported that minor instrumentation issues prevented some of the planned testing. The aircraft was flown out of Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX) in Titusville, Florida, by test pilot Harvey Cleveland.
Meekins, who is now CEO of Privateer Industries, described seeing the aircraft fly for the first time as a highlight of his life. He began designing the Privateer after a search for a seaplane to purchase didn’t turn up any results he was happy with. After coming up with the initial design, Meekins brought Bill Husa of Orion Technologies onto the project as Chief Engineer. Husa passed away in 2012 before the prototype was finished.
The Privateer is powered by a 724-HP Walter 601 turbine engine. The prototype’s empty weight is 3,600 pounds, with plans for the production version to be lighter. Performance numbers have not yet been finalized, but the Privateer is expected to cruise at 215 knots, have a service ceiling of 25,000 feet and have a useful load of 2,000 pounds. The goal is for the aircraft to have a 1,000-mile range, with seats for five to six passengers plus the pilot. The company has previously said that it plans to make the Privateer available in both kit-built and, later, certified versions. Expected prices have not yet been announced.