The state of Kerala in Southwest India has invested $2.2 million in a seaplane operation to promote major destinations located near its 24 lakes and water bodies known for backwater tourism and houseboats. Kerala Tourism Infrastructure (KTIL), the nodal agency for the project, awaits a Directorate General of Civil Aviation no-objection certificate (NOC), and plans a launch in mid-May.
Arguably nowhere on earth is the business case for seaplanes more compelling than in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives with its 1,190 islands (200 of them inhabited). The scattered nation, situated 250 miles southwest of India, has the world’s largest fleet of de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters, offering high-end tourists a time-saving alternative to the boat connections between its low-lying islands spread over 35,000 square miles.
Kunovice, Czech Republic-based Evektor last week rolled out its EV-55 Outback, a nine- to 14-seat, high-wing twin turboprop. First flight of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21-powered utility airplane is planned for the third quarter, two years behind the company’s original schedule.
Antilles Seaplanes has experienced problems with its plans to resurrect the Grumman G-21 Goose. The Graham, N.C. company is still working on the program, according to a company spokesman. “We’re like a lot of industries in this economy,” he told AIN.
When Dornier Seaplane (Static Display) debuted its amphibious Seastar at last year’s NBAA Convention, CEO Joe Walker outlined a number of goals, including the need to select a production location, develop a production plan, upgrade the demonstrator airplane and garner at least 25 orders to launch the program.
Dornier’s twin-turboprop all-composite Seastar CD2 made its first appearance at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., in July, the first stop in a tour of North America that included demo flights in Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle, culminating in a visit to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, Calif., in August. At Oshkosh, “The response was much greater than anticipated,” said Dornier Seaplane CEO Joe Walker.
Flying Boat, also known as Chalk’s Ocean Airways, and insurance giant AIG are suing Northrop Grumman and Frakes Aviation following the fatal crash of a Chalk’s Grumman G-73 Mallard on Dec. 19, 2005. The Mallard’s right wing broke off shortly after takeoff and the amphibious turboprop twin crashed into the water near the Miami Seaplane Base, killing 18 passengers and two pilots.
Development of innovative offshore islands has made the United Arab Emirates ideal territory for seaplane services–at least that is the view of a team led by Sheikh Saeed Mohammed Hasher Al Maktoum who has formed Seawings to operate aerial sightseeing services.
Dornier Seaplane brought its all-composite twin-turboprop Seastar to the static display at last month’s NBAA Convention. The Seastar is already FAA and EASA certified, but Dornier will need another $150 million of funding to start production, now planned for late 2010. Two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-135A engines are mounted fore-and-aft (“push-me-pull-you”) on top of the wing.
German seaplane manufacturer Dornier Aircraft this week at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., announced plans to manufacture and sell the $6 million Seastar flying boat in the U.S. Former Adam Aircraft president Joe Walker will head the program as CEO of the recently formed Dornier Seaplane Co. Dornier Seaplane is independent of other Dornier Aircraft businesses and is wholly funded by the Dornier family.
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