We are all concerned with safety, although we seldom talk about it with our family members or passengers.
However, all is not lost if you can make emergency landing areas into normal landing areas, and have a number of safe landing areas within glide range.
Fixed-gear aircraft with a nose-mounted propeller will flip or dig into soft or plowed fields or crops, snow or water sites.
NOT SO WITH THE SEAWIND!
There are far more lakes, bays, rivers, pastures, farm crop fields, marshes, deserts, snow fields, and the like, than there are suitable highways and airports. They are suitable sites for normal or emergency landings. In most cases, the Seawind would only sustain cosmetic damage.
First we will discuss Flight Safety, then structure configuration and equipment and procedures.
Many aircrafts have difficulty recovering from a stall spin which are most likely to occur at a low altitude turn to final or take off climbing turn. These events usually occur too low to recover or to deploy a parachute. The SEAWIND has a Stall Prevention System (SPS) with a stick shaker providing an unmistakable warning to lower the nose and/or apply power.
There is nothing more exhilarating than a smooth arrival on water or a water take off. Water operation must be done carefully. You must remember your landing surface is subject to many changing conditions not encountered on land.
The wave-height design limit depends largely on the hull length. A 23ft long hull is designed for a 12inch wave or chop. A 15inch wave will start to feel uncomfortable, and an 18inch wave will let you know you should not be there.
Evaluation of a water body.
1st - Do not focus on the water. Make the initial pass into the known wind and look for towers, high voltage wires, and other obstructions that you may not otherwise see.
• Once you have determined that the conditions are okay, turn down wind with 20° of flap and a completed check list at 90kts and full 30° flap at 80kts on base.
EVERY LANDING IS NOT PERFECT.
• If you get the nose too low and the speed too fast, you may bounce back into the air.
WATER TAKE OFF
After completing the takeoff check list, secure the canopy and raise the water rudder.
Water takeoffs are comfortable. The Seawind 300C rises onto the step virtually by itself. A bit of up elevator must be applied as the bow wave moves by. The controls are then relaxed and with full flaps at 55 knots, the Seawind 300C flies itself off the water. The rotation point of the hull on the water is near the main spar, and so the rotation forces are much lighter than on land. Allow the speed to increase, and the Seawind starts to climb. Then gradually raise the flap to 0° for the climb.
Note: If you apply the up elevator too late, the nose will go down the bow wave, and you will start to porpoise. Cut the power and start over.
In this the age of glass cockpits where pilots are fixated on the technicolor screens instead of looking outside, the Seawind has a panoramic view with unmatched visibility. With the wings behind you, you can look up or down. Without an engine in front of you, you have excellent forward vision for landing on land or water. Enjoy the scenery and keep an eye out for traffic.
GLIDE RATIO & OFF-AIRPORT LANDINGS
The Seawind has a 10.9 to 1 glide ratio at 3200lbs, giving you more choices of where and when to land.
Let's face it, most pilots of single engine land planes have in the back of their mind, if I had to land I can do it there or there depending on their glide range. Their choices are limited. Convenient landing for the Seawind is, of course, any airport, water body, or snow field. A safe landing site for the Seawind is a pasture, a plowed field, a corn field, a desert, a snow or ice field, or a marsh. All of these should be performed with the landing gear up. Any damage should be minor or cosmetic if performed properly, and you will walk away, and the Seawind will fly again in a few days.
STRUCTURE & EQUIPMENT
The major difference between the Seawind and aluminum land planes is the composite fiberglass structure. Composite fiberglass is stronger and more durable. Plus when combined with a retractable landing gear, it can land on all the locations previously listed with only cosmetic damage.
The "V" keel is sacrificial. It is not needed for strength, only for its HYDRODYNAMIC shape. It will protect the hull bottom structure on snow landing or off the field landings. The "V" is protected by a Kevlar ply and can easily be patched if necessary with no structured consequence. It also provides protection during a snow-toboggan type landing and take off.
During a 150 knot bird strike with a Canadian Goose, only the paint on the leading edge of the wing was chipped. There was no structural damage.
Unlike aluminum, composites flex and are much smoother in turbulence. Composites are also much smoother on water than aluminum boats or floats.
Composites do not have the corrosion problems of aluminum with brackish or saltwater.
The unique configuration of the Seawind grew out of the need to have the engine and propeller clear of the water. At the same time, a number of benefits were possible. The tractor propeller is more efficient than a pusher propeller, and during an off-field forced landing, it will not strike the ground like most single engine or light twin engine land aircraft which dig-in or flip-over. The nose shape needed to smooth out waves also prevents the nose from digging in and provides a crumple zone to absorb energy which protects the cabin occupants.
The Seawind specially designed forward seats were successfully tested to meet the FAA 26g forward and 19g at 60° up crash loads. The aft seats were tested to the required 21g forward and 15g up loads.
According to the FAA-H-8083-3A Emergency Procedures Publication, with a 9g deceleration in a corn field, it could take as little as 20 feet to stop.
All seats in the Seawind have 4 point safety belts. Airbag seatbelts are available as an option.
Flying boats are far more stable on water than float planes due to the trimaran design of the fuselage hull and the wing floats. The Seawind is also more stable on land than other tri-cycle gear land planes due to the 11 feet, 4inches between the nose landing gear and the main landing gear. However, in the highly unlikely event of a flip, the canopy will not open on the land, because it will rest on the nose and engine, nor will it on the water, because of the water pressure forcing the canopy closed.
The canopy emergency hatch can be released and pulled into the cabin.
You will have space on the land to exit or on the water to swim out before inflating your life jacket. Then you can sit on the Seawind until help arrives. The Seawind will not sink, even upside down in the water.
Even fully swamped or upside-down, the Seawind will not sink because of 4 under-floor flotation compartments plus the air spaces trapped in the wings and the buoyancy of the form core composite structure. You still need to have life vests for all occupants and a type IV throw device to be legal and for the obvious added safety. In the USA, on the water you are considered a boat and are subject to Coast Guard regulations.
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