Introducing my own home town's Seabird Seeker.
This little gem of a craft is stable, and a joy to fly (I've flown it!).
Hervey Bay based Seabird Aviation Pty Ltd has formed a joint venture in the kingdom of Jordan to produce up to 120 Seeker non-military surveillance
aircraft over the next three years.
This is a big boost for the little company. The deal netting them around $30 million Aus.
About the plane -
Engine - Textron Lycoming 0-360-B2C
Fuel - 80/87 Octain Aviation Fuel - But can run on unleaded or super automotive petrol
Prop - Seabird 2 blade Fixed push prop
Max RPM - between 2200 and 2300 RPM
Speed - Max - 133 Knots Cruise 105 Knots
Maximum Weight - 897 kg
Max Altitude 15,000 Feet
Fits pilot and passenger.
the Seeker is definitely different from every angle. It is still different when you strap it on - there isn't anything to aim it by. Taxiing makes
one aware of just how close to the nose you can see the ground - and since it is very easy to taxi, you have ample time to reflect on such things.
Run-up is normal for a fixed-pitch propeller.
Line it up and open the throttle, and there is a slight difference - you don't lift the tail on take-off, like most tailwheel aircraft; the best
technique in the Seeker is to leave it neutral and let it fly itself off. It definitely does the thing better if you let it get on with the job and
don't interfere other than to keep it straight.
Once airborne, the only differences are the visibility and the smoothness - you really notice the lack of slipstream buffet around the canopy.
The field of view - ha, the field of view - the Seeker spoils one for any other aeroplane. If you have flown helicopters such as a Robinson R22, you
will know what to expect. Unless you have, there is no way to describe the effect of all that scenery.
Of course, that's what it's all about - observation. Helicopters (most of them) are as good - if you can afford them - but they shake.
The Seeker gives a remarkably smooth ride; one is seated forward of the Centre of Gravity, so the heave of the aeroplane in turbulence is offset (so
far as the occupants are concerned) by the accompanying pitch, with the result that the effects of turbulence are greatly reduced, by comparison with
an aeroplane of conventional layout.
It's a real beaut to mess around with and I am sure our defence force will be interested in these babies as observation aircraft.
What do you guys think.
[Edited on 26-2-2004 by OzChris]