Dornier’s twin-turboprop all-composite Seastar CD2 made its first appearance at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., in July, the first stop in a tour of North America that included demo flights in Vancouver, Canada, and Seattle, culminating in a visit to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, Calif., in August. At Oshkosh, “The response was much greater than anticipated,” said Dornier Seaplane CEO Joe Walker. The Seastar that was flown to Oshkosh–S/N 2–and that took time out from the show to splash down in nearby Lake Winnebago, is equipped with a new interior featuring nine seats. Options for the 348-cu-ft cabin include a six-seat interior with a lavatory or a 12-seat high-density configuration.
Although the Seastar received FAA certification in the 1990s, it never went into serial production. At last year’s NBAA Convention, Walker said the company needed orders for 25 Seastars to start production. “We’ll be making an announcement at this year’s NBAA,” he said, but he declined to provide a preview.
The first 10 Seastars will have conventional avionics, but Walker expects subsequent versions to be equipped with a glass cockpit. While the Seastar is a niche airplane, he admitted, “We’re really a breath of fresh air for old aluminum airplanes.” No comparable new amphibious airplane exists, although Antilles Seaplanes is trying to bring a freshly built all-aluminum G-21 Goose to market. The Seastar’s two Pratt
& Whitney Canada PT6-135A engines, flat-rated to 650 shp each, are mounted back to back on top of the wing, eliminating asymmetrical thrust problems with conventional wing-mounted engines. Cruise speed is 180 knots and range with a 2,400-pound payload about 900 nm.