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RE: AMPHIBIAN AIRCRAFT

 

I own and fly a home-built amphibian aircraft called a SeaRey. Wheels-down landing in water is an all too common event within our SeaRey community around the world. It seams we loose about a half dozen aircraft each year to this cause. There are also the less catastrophic incidents of gear-up on runway.

A number of these aircraft are equipped with gear alert systems of various types. It's been well proven within our fleet that gear warning systems utilizing flashing panel lights can also be ignored over time of flying with the same flashing lights in a busy stage of a flight.

One SeaRey owner, who is an ex-Air Force and retired Air Canada pilot, decided to team up with ACI, a company who already market TSO'd and homebuilder gear warning systems, to create a better option for our protection.

They came up with a system that's about as bullet proof as one could ask for. First, to eliminate false alerts, this system is triggered by airspeed and flap position to initiate an alert. When triggered, the system asks, "SELECT LANDING." It continues to ask until you select one of two flashing buttons: WATER or RUNWAY, based on what you're going to do. If you select water landing and the gear is up, it responds, ?WATER LANDING O.K." as well as the alternate for runway.

If gear is down and you select "WATER", an alarming voice advises you to "CHECK GEAR, CHECK GEAR!" until you either press the correct button or move the gear to the correct position.

It responds with WATER or RUNWAY LANDING just in case you have the wrong gear position and pressed the wrong button: one last opportunity to catch it! The key here is that the pilot must make a selection before the warning will stop.

As a group we also felt that this problem actually starts right after the take-off when the pilot forgets to raise the gear. So, on take-off from a runway, there is a friendly reminder to "RAISE GEAR" with a flashing light that continues to flash until the gear is raised.  This is a more passive warning. You still have an opportunity to correct it when you setup a landing.

This is brand-new on the market and ACI refers to this as the 'SeaRey Gear Alert System' for no better reason than the fact that a SeaRey guy helped create it. This goes about as far as we can possible take warning systems without pilots becoming complacent in the cockpit.

I have no interest in this besides my belief it's the best system available to help prevent gear down in water landings. The maker of SeaRey kits will be using this as standard equipment in their LSA aircraft.

The local distributor for this device is:

John Dunlop

Tel.: 519-925-6419;

E-mail: searey@sympatico.ca;

Website: www.seareycanada.com

 

DENNIS VOGAN