Privateer taking shape

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — The nearly decade long dream of John Meekins is taking shape — literally. The Privateer, an amphibious turbine pusher, has been in development for more than seven years.

That development took a tragic hit when builder Bill Husa succumbed to melanoma in 2012. His prolonged illness naturally slowed progress.

PRIVATEERMeekins moved the wings, fuselage, tail group, and floats to Titusville, Fla.-based Comp Air early this year. In as little as three months the wings and center section were installed on the fuselage and then attached to the floats. All the pieces removed from the mold were then trimmed and fitted to the aircraft. The horizontal stabilizer and elevator are complete and are ready for control system integration.

“Bill [Husa] did exceptional work,” said Comp Air spokesman Bill Fedorko. “We see a lot of Boeing quality in the parts we’ve received. The attach points are things of beauty.”

“My gosh, it’s huge,” said Meekins in response to seeing the fuselage atop the floats for the first time last month. “Ron Lueck, Comp Air’s president (pictured), is doing a great job.”

Both Meekins and Fedorko report they expect first flight of the Walter 601-powered amphib by year end.

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