Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Something new and different

Up until now there have been few aviation developments to write about. Though there are a few aircraft we have not covered. Today we are viewing the new Dornier Seastar CD2. A unique new amphibious aircraft of composite fiber construction.

There are a number of interesting capabilities and facts on this aircraft. While the layout and design shows a lot of Dornier design heritage; the features used timelessly convey many excellent characteristics. The back to back centerline engines give simple and safe thrust lines free from torque issues. The low down beefy  sponsons soak up landing forces and hold a copious amount of fuel advantageous to maintaining a healthy center of gravity. The cabin enjoys very good vision.

 The carbon fiber construction provides a much lighter weight while maintaining a very tough structure. Meaning the aircraft can do more with less power/ or carry more given weight. This shows up quite well in direct aircraft comparisons. Where the Seastar absolutely murders the venerable Twin Otter Float plane. Taking 12 passengers/2400lbs nearly 900 miles compared to barely 300 miles for the old Twotter. And flying 50 knots faster while doing so.

 Maintence wise the old Twotter looks terrible as well on practically all fronts. It's old tech aluminum airframe at many disadvantages. Another great thing for the Seastar is that is being built right in Cananda.

 The only down side to the Seastar is it is not very cheap. Last I heard going for about $6 mil apiece. Though a comparative new build Twotter will set you back $4.5 mil each. I suppose it comes down to how much you plan to spend in maintaining your twotter safely.

 And lastly in keeping with our mission of bulldogging aircraft with useful STOL capability for the wilds of Labrador; the Seastar CD2 will take off and land within 500 meters. Whether you do it wet or dry.

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