Chesapeake Sport Pilot, the largest light sport flight school in the country, has been granted FAA authorization to provide factory approved Searey transition training. This authorization granted in the form of a letter of deviation authority (LODA) is the first in the country specific to the Searey amphibious aircraft. Chesapeake Sport Pilot has partnered with Searey manufacturer Progressive Aerodyne to provide this training to current and future owners of Searey aircraft.
The Searey is a two place, amphibious flying boat that fits within the light sport category. With its landing gear retracted it can land on water with the main aircraft hull floating and essentially serving as a boat hull. Since it is not burdened by the drag of traditional aircraft pontoons, it offers phenomenally responsive water handling, and can slalom through tight water ways much like a power boat or jet ski. Deployable landing gear gives this plane a tremendous amount of versatility. With the landing gear down the plane can taxi up out of the water onto a beach, boat ramp, or waterfront homeowner’s back yard. It can also land at traditional airports.
As with most kit planes, flight training has in the past been problematic for Searey owners as builders of experimental aircraft are neither allowed to take a flight instructor with them during the first 40 hours of flight testing nor generally allowed to rent another experimental aircraft of the same model for training. “This LODA granted by the FAA will allow us to offer training in our flight school Searey so that builders can become proficient in the handling qualities of a Searey before flying their own aircraft for the first time,” explained Chief Flight instructor Helen Woods.
The Searey aircraft, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is designed by a Florida based company, Progressive Aerodyne. Over 500 kit-built Seareys are flying world wide. Progressive Aerodyne is currently accepting deposits for a factory built certified version of the Searey which they hope to have available soon.
Chesapeake Sport Pilot is the Mid-Atlantic dealer for the Searey and offers sales of both fully built Seareys as well as Searey kits. They are also offer a full line of service for Searey owners including airframe modifications and Rotax maintenance.
As of March, there were 1,154 certified light-sport aircraft nationwide, up from 233 the previous year, according to the FAA.
On July 16, 2004, FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey signed the long-awaited light-sport aircraft rule.
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