In the Light-Sport Aircraft space, one of the most active areas is LSA seaplanes. Pilots are perhaps fascinated with the versatility of seaplanes, with amphibians allowing flight from land or sea (or even snow with precautions). You can add floats to landplanes but those aircraft often look rather awkward where boat-hulled seaplanes appear far more elegant. As FAA allows them an additional 100 pounds (1,430 pounds or 650 kg compared to 1,320 pounds or 600 kg for land-only aircraft), LSA seaplanes can have sleek sweeping hulls and the Vickers Aircraft Wave exhibits a very modern look. Wave is brand new but principal designer and company namesake Paul Vickers has many years of experience designing boat hulls. Paired with aeronautical skills and seven years of intensive engineering, he brings much to the table ... and it shows
As alert readers have seen, one company asked for (and received) additional weight so they could offer all the features customers wanted for their seaplane. Vickers Aircraft has observed this from the beginning and has designed with great care to assure they can make weight even while offering the breathtaking power of the fuel-injected Lycoming IO-360.
CEO Paul Vickers wrote, "Driven by an unwavering desire to build the sexiest, safest, and most cost-effective amphibious light sport aircraft in the world, I have spent seven long years, countless hours, and considerable amounts of money turning that desire into a reality. I wanted to build a plane that I would love to fly." A true composite, Wave is built from an aluminum primary structure surrounded with a carbon fiber hull
If you think Paul might have missed something on his new Wave, consider this list: automatic folding wings; Cross-Over™ unique landing gear that does not need to be retracted; electric, retractable water thruster for engine-off, on-water maneuvering; Vertical Power's electrical management system; iPad Mini EFB; angle of attack indicator; Dynon Skyview SV-D100 including auto pilot; Custom designed AVEO Conforma lighting; center console joystick; dual aft-sliding doors; windscreen offering 335-degree visibility; inertia reel 4-point seatbelts and Amsafe airbags; BRS emergency airframe parachute; air conditioning; special exterior lighting; cabin heat with climate control fans; stereo intercom; and even arm rests and drink holders. (Note that some listed items are optional.)
What on Earth is going on in Airplane DesignerLand? Are we headed for a bifurcation, a parting of the ways among those engineering the next generation of aircraft?
Recently I had an exchange with Australian Flying magazine editor, Steve Hitchen.
Now that we are in the middle of winter, activity is brisk.
Video review: Vickers Aircraft — Wave LSA seaplane
Among all Light-Sport Aircraft, some of the most intriguing new design qualities are emerging from LSA seaplanes.
Pilots not closely following Light-Sport aviation can be excused for thinking only one LSA seaplane is available.
Unless you’ve had your mind on other pursuits — oh, for example, preparing to head to Sun ‘n Fun 2016 next week (the show runs April 5-10) — you could hardly miss the growing buzz surrounding Icon.
Big power is not just for LSA taildraggers anymore. A few years back, CubCrafters surprised the LSA world with its installation of the most powerful engine in the LSA space.
As I’ve written a few times, I see a dichotomy in LSA designs.
Following our initial unveil of a new amphibian called “Wave” by Vickers Aircraft Company, more details were offered in their programmed slow-motion rollout of a new amphibian LSA candidate.
I’ve written a number of articles about LSA seaplanes … about the several we already have in the fleet (Aventura news), and about new designs to come (quick tour of many new LSA and Ultralight seaplanes).