Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Way Ready For Prime Time

Amphibian dreams vs. reality: here’s a classy amphib in full production

SeaMax is an easy bird to fly. We didn't do stalls—it was a very hot day, and Rofé was cautious about overheating his baby's engine. He swears it's as docile a beast as most LSA and describes its stall as a nose-high float that recovers as soon as you ease stick forward.

The rudder takes a little bit of flying to get right: There's noticeable adverse yaw with that big wing out there. That trait isn't nearly as pronounced as the Allegro LSA, though, and easily managed with the proper light push on the pedals.

On the water, the high-aspect-ratio rudder moves that pretty tail around smartly. I remember having a ball as the Florida owner carved one sharp turn after another on a crocodile-infested Florida lake. Amphibs are really a hoot. And SeaMax's rigid Kevlar/composite hull handles the wavelets like a big, strong Four Winns runabout. I know: I've got one."

On the ground, it has the shortest turning radius of any LSA I've flown. The canopy pops all the way up on two, not one, hydraulic pistons, so air circulates freely even on hot days. It was near 100 the day we flew, yet a nice breeze kept us from frying in the cockpit during engine runup. Good ventilation and side vents on the canopy really help in the air, too.

A plug for the pusher configuration: The Rotax 912, mounted on a pylon behind you, means no prop blast, sand and grit flying around at you on the ground and enhanced visibility in the air.

More on the viz: You sit just slightly aft of the leading edge. The lowish panel and short nose deliver a forward view that's wonderful. Although the cabin is comfortably wide at nearly 47 inches, there's great downward visibility. Lean forward just an inch or two, and you're looking back at the leading edge. There's sufficient headroom for someone 6' 3"...a bit more if they recline, which the seats enable.

A little eyebrow window behind your shoulder brings good viewing to the rear and down, handy for checking gear up or down for water or turf landings. Mirrors on the wingtip sponsons help you verify that the three green lights on the panel are telling the truth about the nosewheel and mains.

There's tons more virtues to extol about the SeaMax. "Handsome is as handsome does," in this case, means the amphib is as sweet in the air, on land and water (and presumably snow, too—you can fit it with skis) as it looks like it would be.

Dreamed of owning an amphib S-LSA? Don't want to wait for other models to become S-LSA certified? Richard Rofé has one right now that's ready to go—he's delivering. And he'll even let you fly it on the demo!

Labels: LSAs


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