Seaplane season approaches

Winter will soon yield to spring and summer, that time of year when flying from water becomes the delight of many pilots who have sampled this pleasure. Competing for their purchase in the LSA space, we have the FK Lightplanes Floatplane, FPNA A-22 Cape Town, and Legend AmphibCub. Other entries include SeaRey (close to declaring ASTM compliance), Mermaid (production plans uncertain), Icon (still in development), Colyaer Freedom (no U.S. representative), plus two trike amphibs with SLSA status (the Krucker Cygnet and Ramphos Trident).

seamaxAll this leaves out the SeaMax (pictured), which may actually be the strongest player among present SLSA amphibians. Logging its 10th year in 2009, AirMax has produced 98 SeaMaxes for worldwide sale. At $140,000, SeaMax once seemed rather expensive, though today many high-end SLSA command such prices.

Consider the general appeal of the seaplane or floatplane compared to a land-only flyer. The seaplane adds many tens of thousands of reasonable landing areas and can access interesting locations unavailable to land planes. Plus, when following a route like a long river, you can reasonably fly only a few hundred feet up for hours, enjoying a view of the planet few people on Earth will ever see. SeaMax USA partner, Malcolm Jones, gained such an experience last year as he flew home from AirVenture, following the mighty Mississippi River through several states.

SeaMax is a performance-oriented seaplane that’s roomy and upscale inside. It takes a bit of training to fly confidently (honestly, like most LSA) but delivers a very satisfying experience of water flying.

For more on Sport Pilot and LSA: ByDanJohnson.com

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