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SeaRey
300px
Role Light Sport Aircraft (LSA)
Manufacturer Progressive Aerodyne, Inc.
Produced 1992-present
Number built 400 or more (estimate)
Unit cost
Starting at around US $42,000

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

SeaRey owners, pilots and entusiasts are specifically invited to help expand this article and correct any oversights, omissions or errors. Thanks! —VJ McDonald (Victorjmcdonald)


The SeaRey is a small amphibious aircraft available in kit form from the Florida company Progressive Aerodyne, Inc.

The SeaRey may be registered either as a light sport aircraft or as an experimental homebuilt aircraft. Light sport aircraft, or LSA, is a classification of aircraft specific to the United States. Canadian Aviation Regulations classify the SeaRey as an advanced ultralight aeroplane (AULA).[1]

Because it is a kit-built aircraft, the SeaRey is technically considered an experimental aircraft. The registration category depends mostly on gross weight (1370 lbs for experimental, 1430 lbs for LSA).

The SeaRey's high wing is tapered, and sweeps back from the leading edge with a straight trailing edge. [2] The wing, nearly 31 ft (10 m) in span, is strut-braced and covered with Stits fabric.[3]

Designed as an amphibious craft, the SeaRey does not use pontoons or floats as its primary flotation device; rather, it has a semi-monocoque hull similar to that of a boat. The hull, nose deck, and "turtle" deck (the element which forms the top surface behind the canopy) are riveted together. In the basic configuration, these pieces are made of fiberglass; carbon graphite hull components are available at extra cost. The carbon graphite option reduces overall weight of the craft by some 70 pounds (32 kg). There are rotocast plastic floats under each side of the wing, mounted on aluminum struts.[4]

The windshield and the sliding canopies on either side are made of optical-quality polycarbonate. The canopies are track-mounted and can be locked.[5]

The SeaRey's single engine is mounted atop the wing [6] and drives a single rear-facing "pusher" propeller. The SeaRey can be equipped with the Rotax 582, 912, 912S, and 914 Turbo engines.[7] The Rotax is a four-cylinder, four stroke engine with liquid-cooled heads and air-cooled cylinders. See Specifications below for horsepower and other ratings.

Unlike other light aircraft with the more familiar tricycle landing gear located near the front of the aircraft, the SeaRey has two wheels amidships and a smaller landing gear at the rear of the aircraft. Such aircraft are often called "tail-draggers" or "conventional gear" aircraft. Standard factory configuration calls for mechanical gear retraction using a Johnson-bar type lever to raise or lower all three wheels simultaneously.[8] The retractable landing gear have recently been approved for registration as an LSA, and are available in three different configurations of gear movement: Johnson type, hydraulic or electric actuator. The electric actuator is the newest and most popular, but the manual is the lightest.

Development Overview[edit]

Development of the aircraft that would eventually become the SeaRey began as far back as the 1970s with the introduction of the ultralight aircraft known as the Hi-Nuski. In the early 80's Stanley Richter, his son Wayne, Wayne's wife Nina, and Wayne's son Kerry opened Advanced Aviation where they designed and manufacturer a series of aircraft.[9] [10]

In June 1992, Wayne and Kerry, along with Paige Linette (another employee of Advanced Aviation) broke away from Advanced Aviation to found Progressive Aerodyne, where they designed the first SeaRey prototype.[11]

The SeaRey had its inaugural flight on November 13, 1992.[12] Initial speeds of up to 105 mph (169 kph) with the new aircraft surprised even the designers.[13]

Production[edit]

Since the SeaRey is sold as a kit aircraft, the actual number of "completed" aircraft is somewhat difficult to ascertain. According to Progressive Aerodyne's Wayne Richter, "as of 2006 over 400 kits have been delivered to customers and are flying world wide."[14]

Design Succession[edit]

There is only one model of the SeaRey. Different hull designs have been used over the years, designated as "A," "B" and "C" hulls. As of this writing, only the "C" hull is available from the factory, and can be had in either carbon fiber or fiberglass.

Profiles[edit]

[We need elevation drawings showing profiles as well as other graphics]

Flight Characteristics[edit]

Progressive Aerodyne offers a quick overview of takeoff, flying, and landing the SeaRey:
http://www.searey1.com/Html/FlySearey/pg1.html

In the planing or "step" position, most of the seaplane's weight is supported by hydrodynamic lift, rather than the bouyancy of the hull or floats. Once this equilibrium has been reached, the pilot may either cincrease spped and take off, or may remain at a relatively lowe speed and taxi across the water. The term "step-taxiing" is used to refer to this process, which is useful for covering long distances across water.[15]

The "C" hull (see Design Succession above) is the most advanced design and is jokingly referred to as the "land-o-matic" hull. Compared to the earlier designs, it is much more forgiving of pilot error and can safely be step-taxied across glassy water, which to any seaplane pilot is a high-anxiety moment. Step-taxiing a SeaRey is unlike any other airplane and inspires real confidence in the design.

[Describe the interior arrangements—size, capacity, etc.]
[Talk about visibility]
[Responsiveness]
[How does it react to turbulence? Why? Things to watch out for…]
[Stall features]

Modifications Available[edit]

One of the more important choices is that of the material for the hull and fuselage compnents. Choosing the carbon graphite material is somewhat pricy, but adds a great deal of strength... and, perhaps more importantly, reduces the overall weight of the aircraft by some 70 pounds (32 kg).

The choice of engines will also affect the speed and capabilities of your SeaRey. Although some entusiasts have tried different engines, the only engine available from the factory or its authorized distributors is the Rotax series.

Cost[edit]

Component Costs: As of January 2007, the basic price for the SeaRey airframe kit is just under $27,000. Engine prices range from $13,800 (Rotax 912 UL2) to about $26,200 (Rotax 914). Basic instrument packages start at around $1,400. Wire harnesses for the Rotax 912 and 914 engines run around $1,500. The carbon graphite hull option adds $3,548 (if specified at the time of initial purchase). If you live in a remote area, a larger fuel tank may be important to you; a 28-gallon replacement for the standard 18-gallon tank is available for $238. A complete pricing table is available at http://www.searey1.com/Html/Searey Amphibian Aircraft 2.htm. At this time, Progressive Aerodyne, Inc. does not offer financing. A $5,000 deposit on the airframe is required at the time of order, and engines must be 100% paid upfront; shipping is additional. All kits sold by Progressive Aerodyne are FOB Orlando, Florida. Please note that these prices are nearly a year old at this writing... and may be expected to go in only one direction: up!

Prices are frequently lower at dealers and distributors.

And, of courses, you will need to invest some money in things like paint; although the fiberglas hull and decks are gelcoated, and do not need to be painted, the wing surfaces do require urethane coating. If you opt for the carbon graphite hull or deck components, these must be painted before use.

If you plan to visit an airshow, consider contacting distributors and dealers while there. Some offer good discounts during these shows:

Cost to Build: One of the largest costs for the kit builder is the amount of time that must be invested. Although it's possible for an experienced builder to complete the SeaRey in about 400 hours, 600 hours is more typical.[16]

Costs to Maintain: For oil changes, allow 4 quarts (3.8 L) every 40 hours.

Overhauls: [Recommended time between engine—and other-- overhauls]

Hourly Costs: The typical fuel burn is about 4.5 gals (17 L) per hour of auto-gas. Assuming gasoline prices in the US $3.50 range, that's just under US $16/hour for fuel.

Noteworthy Flights[edit]

The SeaRey has been landed on lakes above 7000' MSL and has flown from coast to coast of the U.S. numerous times. It has also been flown from Florida to Alaska and to Nova Scotia.

Clubs[edit]

There are active SeaRey owners in Australia as well:

There are two very active type-specific Searey web sites. One is open to the public; access is provided upon request by calling Progressive Aerodyne (they don’t run the site). The other site is owners-only and is for technical discussion. It has over 160 unique visitors each month. {NEED URLs}

Buying a SeaRey[edit]

Most SeaReys are built from kits ordered directly from Progressive Aerodyne or from a regional distributor or dealer.

Information about other distributors may be obtained from...

Progressive Aerodyne, Inc..
520 Clifton St.
Orlando, Florida 32808
Telephone (407) 292-3700
Fax (407) 292-5555

It is sometimes possible to find aircraft that are for sale by their builders or other owners. If you're interested in going this route, check out these sites where completed aircraft are sometimes available for sale:

Note: Inclusion in (or omission from) the above list does not imply endorsement (or lack therof) by the authors of this article. You can find aircraft for sale by doing an Internet search using the search terminology "SeaRey for sale."

Building a SeaRey[edit]

The official SeaRey online manual is your starting point for information on how the aircraft is constructed.

Another online manual includes notes and suggestions added by others experienced in assembling the SeaRey... and allows you to add your own suggestions.

Waterbirds Ltd. Corp. offers tips and pictures showing the SeaRey in various stages of completion.

Light Sport Aircraft Store (Canada) has tips on building the SeaRey.

Canadian Light Amphibians also has a wealth of building tips and SeaRey options.

How much space will you need to build a SeaRey? Surprisingly, most 1-car garages are adequate. You can see one being built in a small space at http://www.searey.aero/building.htm.

You don't have to order your engine at the same time as the airframe and other components. The engine can be installed last, saving you some storage space and perhaps allowing you to "stage" your overall purchase.[17]

Specifications[edit]

File:Kens Touchdown.jpg
SeaRey Touching Down

Data from
Progressive Aerodyne
Light Sport Aircraft Store (Canada)
SeaRey Aero

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 2 occupants
  • Length: 22 ft 5 in (6.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 10 in (9.39 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
  • Wing area: 157 ft² (14.59 m²)
  • Empty weight: Varies between about 820-950 lbs (372-431 kg)
  • Useful load: 550 lb (249 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 1,370 lb (622 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,370 lb (622 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 42 U.S. gal (159 L)
  • Cabin width: 44 in (1.12 m)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 582 (rare), 912, 912 S, or 914 (Most popular prop: Warp and IVO, 68 inch diameter), 65 hp (Rotax 582); 80 hp (912); 95 hp (Rotax 912 S); 115 hp (Rotax 914) ()

Performance

  • Range: 3.5 hrs ()
  • Service ceiling: 12,000 ft[18] (3,658 m)
  • Rate of climb: 700-1200 ft/min (3.6-6.1 m/s (depending on engine model and number of occupants))
  • Wing loading: 8.73 lb/ft^2 (3.96 kg/m^2)
  • Fuel consumption (Rotax 582): 4.5 US gal/h (17.0 L/h) 89-93 octane, unleaded gasoline
  • Fuel consumption (Rotax 912): 3.5 US gal/h (13.25 L/h) 89 - 93 octane, unleaded gasoline (best) or Avgas 100LL
  • Takeoff: 150-400 ft (46-122 m) (depending on engine model and number of occupants)

The following specifications are from the Waterbirds Ltd. Corp. tables at http://www.searey.aero/performance.htm.
You might want to check the other specifications at this site, including recommended flight speeds for various conditions!

Engine: Rotax 912 (80 HP) Rotax 912S (95 HP) Rotax 914 (115 HP)
Configuration: Solo Dual Solo Dual Solo Dual
Max Speed: 120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
Normal Cruise Speed: 85 MPH
137 kph
85 MPH
137 kph
93 MPH
150 kph
93 MPH
150 kph
100 MPH
161 kph
100 MPH
161 kph
Maximum Cruise Speed: 105 MPH
169 kph
105 MPH
169 kph
113 MPH
182 kph
113 MPH
182 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
Never Exceed Speed (VNE): 120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
120 MPH
193 kph
Stall Speed: 38 MPH
61 kph
42 MPH
68 kph
38 MPH
61 kph
42 MPH
68 kph
39 MPH
63 kph
43 MPH
69 kph

References[edit]

External Links[edit]

United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Seaplane, Skiplane, and Float/Ski Equipped Helicopter Operations Handbook:

Related Content[edit]

Related development[edit]

Comparable Aircraft[edit]

None of these aircraft are kit-built, so far as is known at this time:

See also[edit]

Great photos, impressions, and information about building and flying the SeaRey may be found at http://www.searey.aero/.

Lists relating to aviation[edit]