The amphibious Seawind 300C certification test airplane crashed Aug. 16, killing the company’s test pilot and destroying the aircraft.
A “temporary interruption of business has been instituted,” said the company’s founder and CEO, Richard Silva, a few days after the crash. “It will be in effect until we can determine the cause of this event and develop a plan to complete the project.”
About two weeks after the crash, all Seawind employees had been laid off and Silva was looking for investment capital to continue the project.
The sleek, fast and roomy amphibian was on a flight from Saint Andrews Airport in Manitoba, Canada, when it crashed. Test pilot Glenn Holmes died in the accident. “Our prayers and condolences go out to his wife, Elizabeth, and to his family,” Silva wrote in a statement on the Seawind website.
“At this time, the cause of the crash is not known and some of the early speculation, as usual, has been inaccurate,” Silva commented. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating, he said, but “it will take time for the investigators to release a preliminary finding.” Canada’s TSB is that country’s equivalent to the NTSB in the United States.
Silva pointed out that the test plane was fitted with an engine monitor and flight data computer, which should “provide data from throughout the flight.” The flight data computer was damaged, he said, “but we hope they will be able to retrieve the…information. If so, the Safety Board should be able to reach a definitive conclusion.”
The accident came shortly after Seawind had received approval from Transport Canada to build five certification-compliant aircraft in addition to the two original – but non-compliant – test planes, which Silva had announced at AirVenture in July. At that time, construction of the second flight test aircraft, with a FADEC engine and advanced avionics, was under way.
“We are far enough along in our flight testing to be confident that there will be no significant changes resulting from the remaining flight testing,” Silva was able to say at AirVenture. Sadly, that seems no longer to be true.
For more information: 610-384-7000 or Seawind.biz.