Dornier Releases New Composite Amphibious Seaplane

Dornier Seawings SeastarImage courtesy of compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com

Dornier Seawings recently unveiled a new all-composite generation of the amphibious seaplane known as the Seastar.

Image courtesy of compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com

Dornier Seawings, an amphibious aircraft designer and manufacturer based in Germany has recently released the latest edition of its “Seastar” amphibious seaplane, and this one is all-composite.  The new Seastar is being produced by Diamond Aircraft who have plenty of experience with all-composite aircraft, and who just produced the DART-450 (an all-carbon fiber tandem, 2-seat aerobatic civilian trainer) last year.

Dornier held a private event last month where the new Seastar was unveiled to an audience of 250 of the companies’ shareholders, suppliers, and employees.

The Seastar features a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of over 10,000 lbs and capacity to carry 2 crew plus up to 12 passengers. Dornier is marketing the Seastar as the world’s most advanced amphibious aircraft. The Seastar tries to back up that claim with a purpose-built design, modern technology, an all-composite corrosion-free airframe (which allows the Seastar protection in saltwater environments), a modern glass cockpit, retractable tricycle landing gear, and twin centerline mounted industry leading Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engines.

Dornier says that the new Seastar will have a long structural life and high damage tolerance which will reduce maintenance cost and downtime, thanks to its “intelligent and integrated structure.” The use of composites will also cause a tighter seal and will help prevent any leakage around rivets commonly seen on metal airframes.

During the August event, Dornier Seawings CEO Amy Pan talked about the company’s marketing plans to target their Chinese audience with the release of the Seastar, saying, “As the market in China opens up and develops further, the Seastar will be able to seize opportunities there and play a significant role in the general aviation industry on a global scale.”

NEXT: Surf’s Up Behind the Grumman Albatross

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