In late 2006, the second amphibian to win SLSA approval was Colyaer’s Freedom, after CZAW’s Mermaid. Since these two, the SeaMax also joined the party, and at least two more are in development. Flying boat fans have some sweet choices. Even though we have three today, sales have been modest for a variety of reasons: manufacturing is more complex with retractable gear; marketing to a country the size and diversity of the USA is challenging; and cost of any LSA floatplane is greater than its equivalent landplane (though a fraction of the cost of a Part 23-certified airplane on floats). *** Now, welcome Waterbirds. From the people that bring you the Sting S3, availability will now be better as this new company struck a deal with LSA Aero, importer of the Freedom. Contact Larry Martin stated, “Waterbirds will manage the sales and marketing of Colyaer’s Freedom, while LSA Aero will continue to import the airplane and provide after-sales support.” *** With a wingspan greater than 40 feet, Freedom claims a glide of 20:1, an impressive figure, especially for an amphibian. Flying boats often weigh more — retractable gear alone adds pounds — but with an allowed gross weight of 1,430 pounds, useful load is a respectable 576 pounds.
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