Guest Editorial: SeaBear Aircraft Manufacturing in Samara
Written by Thomas Giegerich — As a first of many steps in the challenging endeavor to bring the Russian SeaBear Aircraft into the European and possibly North American market, I took the opportunity to travel, together with my colleague Georges Scherrer to Chaika’s production facilities in Samara, Russia. There, the company is currently working on its latest upgrade to the L-45. As previously announced here, the twin engine amphibious aircraft is now being offered with the new Rotax 915iS.
This fast, long-range capable flying boat is pretty unique in its design and idea, very likely one of the most modern and sleek four seat, twin engine flying boats available today. To get this plane established outside of Russia, where more than 30 of them are in use, but also to further the goal of increasing opportunities for more seaplane flying activities to Europe, Stingray Aviation is trying to develop a quick build kit where 49% of all parts are delivered ready for assembly by the factory, with 51% left for the new owner to complete.
This may allow certification of the airplane not only in Germany and EASA Land, North America may be on the menu as well! Everyone who is trying to bring any new design or aircraft to market is well aware of the at times insurmountable certification rules, plus and the problem of importing and licensing a Russian ready-to-fly plane is destined to be a very difficult endeavor.
The work done by Chaika so far has been remarkable from my point of view: All engineering details of the plane have been calculated, tests of the hull have been performed using large mock-ups, detailed technical drawings of all parts have been prepared and load tests of all components have been completed and recorded in meticulous detail. The quality of the used materials seems to be from highest quality as it is a spin-off of the military sector.
Chaika has built approx. 30 planes so far none of which are generating any significant problems. To date there have been no accidents or significant issues caused by a lack of quality or manufacturing standards. This – again – in my view illustrates the high quality and robustness of the construction and design.
Visiting the production facilities was encouraging for our project and a very good basis for the next step, namely the preparation of all documentation (in English) and writing an expert opinion that will become the basis for all further national and international certification and licensing efforts and activities.
Thomas Giegerich is a seaplane rated private pilot and works in the field of nuclear fusion in a large research center in Germany. In 2016 he discovered his interest for water flying and joined the German Water Flying Association. Completing his private pilot’s license in 2017, he then joined a flying club in Speyer, Germany, where he is flying Piper PA-28 and an Evector SportStar. Interested in the SeaBear, he is now collaborating with the manufacturer to see about bringing this aircraft to the European market. Thomas owns Stingray Aviation and you may reach him via Email at: [email protected]
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