Saturday was the final day of the last airshow of 2019. DeLand Showcase 2019 suffered its chilliest weather of the four years it has been operating. Nonetheless, my unscientific survey of airshow vendors jibed with numerous comments from individual pilots: despite the less-than-ideal weather this year, sales of aircraft and other aviation gear proceeded. These smaller, sector-focused shows clearly remain successful. I rush to observe November is commonly a very predictable time of year in Florida, with temperatures in the high 70s / low 80s with clear blue skies. This year not so much but I’ll bet next year will return to normal. Temperatures are already back to almost 80° today. Deland Showcase is much like the boat shows I used to marvel at in my former home of Minnesota. In that northern, almost-Canada state, huge boat shows were staged in the dead of winter, when snow and ice covered the surface and most boats were hidden in warm storage facilities.
Here's Seamax, LSA SeaplaneIf you can buy boats in Minnesota when the temps are minus-20°, why not consider a sweet little seaplane like Seamax. I call it "little" deliberately, not just to be charming (though I think that adjective qualifies as well). Seamax designer, Miguel Rosario, acknowledged my judgment that Seamax is a performance aircraft within the LSA seaplane category. How does the aircraft earn such a call? In one simple way: empty weight is surprisingly low 715 pounds. Fabric-covered wings are one of many ways Miguel keeps Seamax weight on a diet. Indeed, Miguel believes the 100-horsepower, carbureted, Rotax 912 ULS is a beautiful engine choice with a lower price tag, lower weight, and less complexity that makes for easier installation. He did acknowledge that the ULS might be even better with a single curb — one that would require no balancing between the two present-day carbs — but otherwise he loves the older engine. Nonetheless, because many do like the idea of the newer, more fuel-efficient, fully electronically-controlled engine from Rotax, Seamax aircraft displayed a fresh new model with a 912iS engine and loaded with a beautiful dual screen Garmin G3X Touch instrument panel. Even the seats still had plastic protective covers on them as you’ll see in the video below.
Embry Riddle and DeLand Sport Aviation VillageBecause I heard a Seamax delegation investigated the new incubator project at the Deland airport. I inquired if they would remain in their position at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
The answer is yes, because Embry Riddle offers them, for example, access to a wind tunnel that few other light airplane producers can employ. In addition, students at the university assisted with a Seamax customer survey that was valuable to the company. Having such a prestigious address associated with their name is never a bad thing.
Yet for the messier process of manufacturing these airplanes in the U.S. — which remains a goal — DeLand’s new development across the field from the Showcase event is a worthwhile exploration for the Brazilian company. Because DeLand and Daytona Beach-based Embry Riddle are only a 20 minute drive apart, this can be a workable combination.
Talking to Miguel and U.S.-based Shalom Confessor, both acknowledged that after a gradual start to establishing an American outlet they are seeing more activity from U.S. buyers. They seem pleased with the state of sales development in America.When I asked Miguel about his Norway market, a country that gave a nice boost initially to Seamax, he said interest was still strong in that Nordic country but the USA now represents their largest single target market. Manufacturing in the USA is an activity that could also support export sales to other countries. The process may be easier for worldwide distribution then from Brazil, which retain some of its exporting difficulties. Presently, more than 150 Seamaxes are flying around the world. Miguel seems one of those always-on designers, never resting. While I agreed not to reveal any plans in the works, the years ahead could foresee interesting new developments for this company and this designer. Having achieved so much already, it’s worth paying attention to what Miguel Rosario does. I will certainly do so. See our flight review video from last year at DeLand in this longer video, but right below, I hope you’ll enjoy this short video shot this year revealing a pair of SeaMaxes at DeLand Showcase 2019. Stay tuned for more!