A realistic alternative to Icon

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by davidb, Feb 4, 2017.

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  1. Feb 4, 2017 #1

    davidb

    davidb

    davidb

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    Just got word that an established manufacturer is about to introduce an "affordable" SLSA amphibious airplane. Seems there might be more than a few flight schools and police departments looking for an aircraft that fits their needs--factory built, and relatively inexpensive to purchase/finance and operate.

    For a monthly payment equivalent to that of a luxury SUV, you too could live the dream.:). At one half the price of an Icon, all the thrills and practically are yours.
     
  2. Feb 4, 2017 #2

    harrisonaero

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    click-bait without sharing more details... just sayin...
     
  3. Feb 13, 2017 #3

    Knightzone

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    Vickers Aircraft Company?
     
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  4. Feb 13, 2017 #4

    BBerson

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    A company MVP (most versatile plane, or something) was working on a clone of ICON.
     
  5. Feb 13, 2017 #5

    davidb

    davidb

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    Sorry for the vagueness of the original post. I had just talked to the factory sales representative and wasn't sure if they were waiting to announce but they are in the FAA certification process so I guess it's public knowledge. Progressive Aerodyne (Searey) already offers two factory built special certified LSA models, the Elite and the Sport. They're planning to offer a third "bare bones" version that should sell just below $120,000. The plan is to roll it out at Sun n Fun this year.

    One could build one of their kits to that spec for less but offering the factory built certified version makes sense for flight schools and government agencies.

    I'm really excited about this. I'd really like to see this sector of GA expand. Amphibious aircraft of this sort are fun and practical. The Searey is a very safe design and insurance companies are getting reasonable with rates if one gets the factory sponsored training.

    Icon did a good job with marketing. Searey can deliver a more realistic product.
     
  6. Feb 13, 2017 #6

    BBerson

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    Are government agencies allowed to use Special Light Sport? I thought it was only for flight training.
     
  7. Feb 13, 2017 #7

    fredoyster

    fredoyster

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    Government agencies are allowed to fly "public aircraft" which, if their lawyers and insurance people agree, exempts them from vehicle and pilot certification. https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_00-1_1A.pdf Some US three-letter agencies fly aircraft initially manufactured as LSAs but without a pilot onboard. They still comply with Part 91 flight rules and in some cases ATC never knows that they are talking to a pilot in a trailer somewhere, not actually onboard the aircraft.
     
  8. Feb 13, 2017 #8

    davidb

    davidb

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    Good question. They can be used for paid flight instruction and can be rented. I guess the question is if a police department is using one for search and/or patrol is that considered "compensation or hire"? I think not.
     
  9. Feb 13, 2017 #9

    davidb

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    Good question. They can be used for paid flight instruction and can be rented. I guess the question is if a police department is using one for search and/or patrol is that considered "compensation or hire"? I think not.
     
  10. Feb 13, 2017 #10

    fredoyster

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    (duplicate deleted)
     
  11. Feb 17, 2017 #11

    skeeter_ca

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    Wow.....a stripped down LSA Amphibian for only $120,000.00. Who would have thought.

    Darrell
     
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  12. Feb 17, 2017 #12

    Aviator168

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    The word 'few' and 'inexpensive' do not go together in the aviation industry.
     
  13. Feb 17, 2017 #13

    cheapracer

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    Yup, you'll be able to have one and another for the kids to bang around for that price ....
     
  14. Feb 17, 2017 #14

    davidb

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    Is there anything else comparable?
     
  15. Feb 17, 2017 #15

    davidb

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    Obviously, this isn't a product for the typical hba member but an E-LSA amphibian isn't an option for flight schools, FBOs, and government agencies. Anyone here want to rent an amphib after getting their seaplane rating? You can't because no entity currently rents amphibs. Currently, you can get instruction/rating but have no option to later fly one (without an instructor) unless you own one. Insurance seems to be the limiting factor but a "low" cost airplane with a good safety record makes it doable.
     
  16. Feb 17, 2017 #16

    TFF

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    Even at $120 K, mission wise I bet insurance will not allow it unless you stay on paved runways. Insurance is just like that. It is with helicopters.
     
  17. Feb 17, 2017 #17

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    The Avid Catalina would meet this mission I believe.
     
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  18. Feb 17, 2017 #18

    BBerson

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    True. But I think he meant factory new, ready to fly.
    Might be some amphib floatplanes that are factory built? Most real bush operators prefer floatplanes.
     
  19. Feb 17, 2017 #19

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Yeah, I had assumed that they wanted the discussion limited to boat hulls. Otherwise any number of float-equipped LSA's would fit his need.
     
  20. Feb 18, 2017 #20

    davidb

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    Yes, I mean factory new and currently available. For flight schools or FBO rentals, it needs to be financed,insured and legal for paid training/rental. That means special FAA certified to ASTM standards as a minimum. Insurance has always been the sticking point but the Searey is getting special consideration because the risks are comparatively low.

    Amphibious or straight floats are preferred for bush operating but they come with a much higher risk in the hands of the less experienced--much harder to get insurance. Flipping over usually results in total hull loss and possibly death. Landing on water with the wheels down (amphibious floats or boat hull) is the common culprit.

    The Searey has inadvertently been landed on water with the wheels down and it didn't flip. Couple an inherently safe design with a good certified training program and you now have insurance companies willing to underwrite. It's the Icon plan and the Searey reality.

    An amphib will probably always cost three times as much as a land plane to own/rent/insure but they are ten times more fun and versatile.

    Edit: I just spent some time searching--they can and do flip and submarine with the wheels down but not always. I gather touch down speed and pilot reaction has a roll. Usually, just minor injuries to the people and major damage to the plane.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
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