Dornier Seawings has rolled out its first new-production $7.21 million Seastar amphibian twin turboprop. The event took place last month at Dornier’s hangar in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, which is near Munich. The new-generation Seastar features new propellers; Honeywell Primus Epic avionics; a stern hydrothruster for improved water maneuvering; corrosion-resistant landing gear with nosewheel steering; and a revised 12-passenger cabin layout with air conditioning. First flight is scheduled for the first half of 2019, followed by type certification in 2020.
The original Seastar made its first flight in 1984 and was initially certified in 1991; however, the effort to put the aircraft into serial production subsequently failed due to chronic undercapitalization. In 2014, Dornier partnered with two state-owned Chinese companies to bring the aircraft to market, announcing plans to assemble the amphibian in Germany and China.
Last year Dornier Seawings China began construction of a purpose-built aircraft assembly plant in Yixing. Early last year, Dornier Seawings announced an agreement with Canada’s Diamond Aircraft Industries to have that company build Seastar airframes under contract. The composite Seastar is powered by two tandem-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135 engines, has a maximum cruise speed of 180 knots and a 900-nm range.