Like LSA seaplanes?

Life is good if you like LSA seaplanes. Here’s a quick look at five that are either on the market or in development.

Today SeaRey reigns as far and away the most successful and proven design, with nearly 600 flying. While SeaRey (pictured below) has been an Experimental Amateur Built (EAB) model, the company, Progressive Aerodyne, has been working diligently on SLSA approval and will eventually sell SLSA, ELSA, and EAB versions. Priced around $70,000 as a kit, SeaRey also is the most affordable seaplane.

SeaMax is the next most proven and accepted seaplane. Manufactured in Brazil, about 100 are flying, including a handful in the USA. SeaMax America is the new importer for the handsome LSA seaplane from prolific Brazilian designer Miguel Rosario. From Great Neck, N.Y., Richard Rofe said, “We have added many new features and have moved to a much larger production facility. We plan to reintroduce … the only SLSA [amphibious seaplane] that you can actually buy and fly!” They are working on a new website; for now ring Richard at 516-466-5258.

Now come three designs aimed directly at the LSA market; indeed, all have emerged as a consequence of the FAA’s new rule and each is quite outstanding in its design appeal. Capturing the most attention is the Icon A5, which has garnered more than 700 delivery slot orders since its introduction at AirVenture 2008.

The stunning A5 benefited from top-notch design and engineering staff hired from Scaled Composites, famous for building SpaceShipOne and other creations. Icon is also the funding leader, professionally pursuing deep pocket investors. Using its Silicon Valley roots and a Hollywood presentation, Icon generated a summer 2011 round of financing valued at $25 million. No one else is close. However, others are following.

Newly announced is the EQP2, which stands for Equator P2 Excursion, a design out of Norway. Equator Aircraft recently received 4.2 million Norwegian krones ($750,000 U.S.) of government development funding. The company plans an experimental version of the carbon composite, hybrid/electric amphib first, but also plans to pursue the LSA market. EQP2 will be powered by the 125-hp (85 kW) Emrax engine.

Also gaining increasing media attention is the equally distinctive Lisa from French designers Erick Herzberger and Luc Bernole. Though pricing is rather stratospheric at €300,000 (close to $392,000 U.S.), the feature list is long, including folding wings and the company’s patented Seafoils, “a kind of hydrofoils located under the aircraft fuselage.” The project is flying and, as with Icon and Equator, Lisa Airplanes has a very slick website with many quality images. I’ll be writing more on Lisa.

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