Aircraft Review

August 2009 Issue

LSA Amphibians: Two Good Options

Both these aircraft offer good performance and forgiving handling, but the Searey Sport/LSX takes the prize for the most fun and the best value.

Amphibious LSAs are like a cold ice cream cone on a hot summer day: Nobody really needs one, but once youíve had a taste, you really, really want one. But practicality is a matter of perspective. Having the option to drop in on a lake or river and pull up to the local fish shack for lunch makes for some serious recreation. Having the option to use most any airport for, hangaring, refueling or maintenance is seriously convenient. Youíll pay for that flexibility with a slower cruise and some added complexity of retractable gear. Hey, you canít have everything. Kerry Richter, president of Progressive Aerodyne, started building hang gliders in high school and was working on ultralights by the late 70s. The first Searey (known as the A model) was available as a kit in 1992, with the B and C models following in 1996 and 2002. The latest model is the Searey LSX / Sport. The LSX is the kit version. The Sport is a ready-to-fly S-LSA. The Searey still looks a bit like an ultralight, in our opinion. This image is dispelled once you get your hands on the aircraft. Aileron, elevator and flap controls are all pushrod and torque tube. Many of the connections are exposed for easy preflight. The wing is cloth over aluminum for weight savings, and ease of detailed inspection and repair should you run it into a dock piling. Other nice pluses are standard LED lights and an electric bilge pump. We liked the heavy switches and clean panel layout. It even has cabin heat, despite the distance to the engine.

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