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Seawind 3000 Safety issues

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Samibrahim

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Dec 11, 2020
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Greeting all members,

I have been dreaming of scratch building aircraft from Plan. I actually bought a plan from Zenith Air, 650B, and was in the process of ordering sheet metal until I ran into an Amphibian plan kit that I fell in love with. It is the Seawind 3000. Searching on line, I found out that quiet few of those went down killing all on board. On the other hand, I watch them on Youtube I see a lot of those are still flying.

Anyone has experience with such aircraft that can shed some light on its performance, ease of handling and most important safety.

Thanks,

Sam
 

edwisch

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I knew a very skilled pilot who was one of those killed. It's also of interest that if you are at the seaplane base at Oshkosh during the show, the locals tell you that you never see a Seawind there. Run, do not walk, away.
 

BJC

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Yup, a highly experienced pilot friend of mine died in a Seawind crash.

I encourage you to watch one fly at cruise speed, then watch / think about the extreme pitch changes with power changes, and the spin recovery potential.

Also consider the challenges of water operations at docks with the long span low wing

Edit: Yeah, what Ed said.

BJC
 

jedi

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I knew a very skilled pilot who was one of those killed. It's also of interest that if you are at the seaplane base at Oshkosh during the show, the locals tell you that you never see a Seawind there. Run, do not walk, away.
I have seen Seawinds at the Sun n Fun seaplane base. You will see Seawinds on the field at KOSH. I do not, nor have I in the past owned or built a Seawind. I do have several hours in a Seawind as CFI with an owner / builder. I have known a few (or wanabe) owners / builders. and have visited a build center. It is wise to approach a Seawind with caution but that is a good plan for any aircraft. Just give the Seawind the respect that it deserves, plus a little bit more.

It is a very long and expensive build and the aircraft does have it's issues but it can be and has been done; many times with regrets but also completed and flown satisfactorily. Definitely it is not a good first project or a low time seaplane pilots time builder.

If you are still considering building or buying PM and/or call.
 

BJC

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Grant:

If you have first hand details of Tim's crash, please PM me with the details.

I have heard at least two versions, both second hand.

Thanks,


BJC
 

plncraze

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Also please comment on the engine placement and the flight characteristics that come with it.
 

jedi

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Grant:

If you have first hand details of Tim's crash, please PM me with the details.

I have heard at least two versions, both second hand.

Thanks,


BJC
I do not have any first hand knowledge. Would you give some background info. Common knowledge. Date, location, N number, etc. Any accident report?

Most unexpected operational characteristics was the limited rudder effectiveness on water takeoff.

It has such a big vertical surface in full prop blast but directional control is on par with many other seaplanes that leave something to be desired. My only explanation is rudder is relatively small in comparison with vertical sabilizer and because of engine support vertical sabilizer is thick with large boundary layer and lots of slipstream effect.

I do not think the pitch with power trim change is worse than other pod mounted engines and not as bad as some.

In spite of a big engine it takes some doing to get on the step at max gross weight and can be prone to porpoise.

Systems are not simple!
 

Dana

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The Seawind is arguably one of the prettiest seaplanes ever built, though I always questioned the design... hang a big engine on a long cantilever beam attached to the vertical stabilizer, adding lots of weight to what is normally a very light part of a plane. So you have a large mass moment of inertia combined with a short tail moment arm, just asking for controllability problems. Looking at its history on Wikipedia it sounds like a long trail of trying to salvage a flawed design.
 

Samibrahim

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I have read lots of Seawind accident report online, they all refer to an engine problem. Can't find any accident report not related to Engine malfunctioning of some sort.

here are links to some of those reports:

The New Zealand accident is related to hitting debris in the water. that's the only exception of engine related issue.
 

TFF

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About four or five years ago, there was one on the line at Oshkosh and a kit at the Aeromart. I have a friend who’s friend got one relatively cheap in a trade. He could never get insurance so he ended up selling.
My take is it will not take any ham fisted handling, and if it goes dead stick, it will probably get balled up minimum.
I you can fly the numbers like a Lear, you will probably be fine. If you want to do some guessing like feeling out a Cub, it’s going to bite.
 

edwisch

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I was at Tim's funeral. The church was packed and the parking lot was triple parked. Quite a tribute.

I knew another man who was killed in a Seawind. He had flown several Seawinds, but IIRC, it was this plane's first flight. The foam air cleaner came loose and killed the engine at 50 feet. With the abrupt loss of power, the plane pitched up and apparently stalled. That accident was not listed as a fatality because the pilot lived seven months before finally succumbing to his burns.

The Seawind vendor one year had a big sign at Oshkosh that said, "Certified." In small print, it said something like "hopefully next year" or something like that.
 

Victor Bravo

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Sam, for whatever it is worth, continue building the Zenair 650, and you will have a safe airplane to fly.

If you want to fly off water, build the floats that Zenith offers for the 650.

If you want to have something that looks sexy and could possibly kill you, buy a Ferrari.

If you want something that looks sexy that will probably kill you, drive the Ferrari in Hollywood, and the pretty girls that jump in to the car will do you in sooner or later.

If you want to bypass all the fun parts and get right to the Grim Reaper, buy the Seawind.
 

JohnB

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Dave Thurston once told me that he was asked to fly a Seawind by a friend of a friend and he politely declined. He was really worried about porpoising jb
 

plncraze

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Was the weight of the engine part of the problem or was this from the prop being so far above the fuselage?
 

Dana

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Was the weight of the engine part of the problem or was this from the prop being so far above the fuselage?
Both. The thrustline isn't that bad by itself, there are lots of pylon mounted engines, but combine that with the weight distribution and tail arm and you have a recipe for tricky handling.
 

plncraze

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I look at the Windex motor glider and figure it is a smaller version of the Seasons.
 

Pilot-34

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The way I understand it the lake buccaneer requires certain training program to find reasonable insurance.
It seems like mastery of that program would be the bare minimum before flying the sea wind.
Did anyone ever come up with a good training program for the sea wind or air shark ?
 

Samibrahim

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I am buying the kit. The airplane is not complete, only the fuselage is built. Is a modification still possible to the design to overcome the flaws mentioned in those threads.
 

BJC

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I am buying the kit. The airplane is not complete, only the fuselage is built. Is a modification still possible to the design to overcome the flaws mentioned in those threads.
My answer: It doesn’t need a modification; it need to be a totally different design.

If you mentioned it, I missed it; what piloting experience do you have?


BJC
 
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