Building a SeaRey

N123XM in flight
        (photo Bill Fosdick)

Update--29 July 2009

By now my SeaRey has flown more than 1,000 hours, and I'm still loving every minute of it. 

Here's a little video that might give you some idea of how much fun it is:  "SeaRey Flying."  (If you'd like to watch the video more than once, please save it on your computer instead of downloading it again every time.  And please don't post the video file anywhere else, because it's copyrighted (2009 by Donald Maxwell) and the music track is copyrighted by a litigious conglomerate.)

I've posted several more SeaRey videos to YouTube.  You can find them on my YouTube channel.

I was a beta-tester of Dynon's new autopilot.  Here's their thank you note--a 20" x 26" painting printed on poster board:


They painted the airplane based mainly on this photo of it taken in June, 2008, at Killarney, Ontario on the north shore of the Georgian Bay:
N123XM Up Ramp

Update--24 October 2003

I'm having too much fun flying my SeaRey to revise this "building" page now.  But here's what it looks like these days, with 107.4 hours of flying time on the Hobbes meter:

Building a SeaRey

This is a log of my efforts to build a SeaRey--a small, two-place amphibious flying boat--from a kit produced by Progressive Aerodyne, Inc., of Orlando, Florida.

How did I get into this (folly)?

About five years ago, on a whim, I bought a copy of Kitplanes magazine at Borders.  That night I was lying in bed leafing through it and came upon an article about a little amphibious flying boat airplane called a SeaRey.  Suddenly I had a moment of clarity--they don't come often, so I try to pay attention to them.

I saw a grassy lawn sloping up from a lake.  My view was from the water, and I saw a beautiful SeaRey taxiing up out of the water onto the grass, paint brilliant in the sun, and I was conscious of a house just out of sight to the left.

In that instant I knew where The Perfect Place was, not literally where, but what kind of place, the situation.  And I knew that it was time to take flying lessons again.  I had soloed 38 years earlier, but then had given it up, gone dutifully back to college, married, raised a family, and gone to work every day.  Oh, sure, I'd lived in several other countries along the way and had done a few things that some people find exotic.  But mainly I'd been a fairly conventional husband, father, college teacher.  I hadn't been a pilot.  And I didn't know what I might do if I ever truly grew up.  Suddenly, it was all clear--for a second or two.  Then the moment, with the vision of that lawn and the amphibian, faded, and I was still in bed, with a full day of classes coming up in a few hours.

But the vision--I won't capitalize it; it's a small, personal one--the vision has persisted.  Sometimes it's been hard to keep in mind, especially when the World gets in the way, as it does.  But so far I'm managed to keep in clear in my head.  And now I'm building one of the things.

The kit arrived in June 2000.  It's now September, 2002.  During that summer I made reasonable progress and got the fuselage mostly finished before the fall semester began and I had to concentrate on work instead of play.  That was mostly it until the following summer, 2001.  I got the fuselage mostly finished by fall, except for the electrical system.

I retired from my college teaching job at the end of the fall, semester, and have had somewhat more time to work on the SeaRey.  The electrical system, including the instrument panel, is complete.  The engine is installed, and I've run it several times.  Now the wings are covered and ready for painting.  When that's done, it will be time to move the whole shebang to the airport and do the final assembly, the weight and balance, a few other things, and call the FAA inspector.

I've been keeping a construction logbook that details everything.  It's a real book, however.  I'll just hit the highlights here.

The kit came in two boxes on an 18-wheeler.  Here's the larger one, 16 feet long.  With no family forklift we had to open it on the truck and unload it part by part.

I'd built a "hangar" by enclosing a deck with plastic pipe and 6-mil polyethelyne.  It might be just big enough...

That's son Chris at the far end and the fiberglass Turtledeck on the bench.

There are many, many parts.  And an instruction book.

The rest of the story comes on separate pages.  --WILL come when I get to it.  I'm nearly finished with the construction, but far behind on posting these pages.


If you're interested in the SeaRey, you might enjoy these enthusiastic articles:

And there's my own article in the November, 2000, Kitplanes Magazine (begins on page 8, if you just happen to have a copy lying around).
And Kitplanes published my four-part article about building the SeaRey, beginning in the spring of 2004.

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