To the answer “Progressive Aerodyne!” comes the Jeopardy question, “What LSA company thumbs its nose at the bad economy?” *** Certainly one of the most-fun LSA flights I’ve had in some time came at the controls of that company’s SeaRey amphibian.My LSA pal Dan Johnson recently wrote up a piece on the amphib which spurred me to excerpt some highlights in advance of my own flight report on the lively sea bird coming soon in Plane & Pilot magazine. *** Wayne and Kerry Richter, second and third generation founders of Progressive Aerodyne, started back in the ‘70s with many memorable UL birds they created with dad/grandfather Stanley Richter. The company then was Advanced Aviation and it put out, among other craft, several iterations of a very popular ultralight amphib: the Buccaneer.Building on that success, as Dan notes, Progressive Aerodyne popped out 31 Experimental Amateur Built kits in 2010. *** After Sebring 2011, they sold 14! That’s impressive for any aviation company in these difficult times. *** All those new builders will have lots of company: more than 600 SeaRey builders are already splashing into lakes and rivers all over the world. *** The kit goes out the door at around $70,000. *** And as I reported last month, Kerry tells me the SeaRey SLSA should be through ASTM accreditation by Oshkosh and will sell in the neighborhood of $120,000 — “loaded” — a very attractive price for an amphibian. *** I went to Progressive Aerodyne’s factory in Tavares, Florida after the show to shoot and get the tour. Kerry is one busy designer. He demonstrated a folding-wing option he’s developing that can be done, on land, by one person! *** If you’ve got flying from water on your mind, this is one hot setup. Other LSA amphibs have yet to make the big splash SeaRey has. *** A good part of that has to be its nearly two decades of design refinements and a cohort of happy owners. Here’s one well-seasoned, robust design…and one heck of a lot of fun to fly.
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