Dornier Seawings (Stand 225) has signed an agreement with Gulf Enterprises that will bring the Part 23 FAA-certified Seastar amphibious twin-engine aircraft to the Middle East market. The two companies will partner on sales and marketing, operations and maintenance, and support for Middle East customers.
The $7.21 million (2017 $) Seastar is undergoing upgrades in preparation for EASA approval in 2023 before service entry in 2024. Major changes include Honeywell Epic 2.0 avionics with four large displays, new flight control actuation system, and revised landing gear design. Two 650-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-135A engines are fitted in fore-and-aft inline thrust configuration on the top of the fuselage.
According to co-CEO Jürgen Heinrich, the airframe is made of glass fiber composites that are far more resistant to corrosion, and there is no airframe life limit, The turboprop twin's maximum takeoff weight is now 11,240 pounds and it carries 363 gallons of jet-A.
With space for six passengers in VIP configuration or nine passengers in a corporate layout, the Seastar’s maximum speed is 180 ktas. Range is nearly 900 nm with VFR reserves.
Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany-based Dornier sees three key markets for the Seastar: luxury travel, for example, to resort areas; executive travel; and special-mission use for safety and security. An advantage of the Seastar is that it can safely operate in up to six-foot waves, according to Heinrich, so rescues can be accomplished in adverse conditions at distances that helicopters can’t reach.
“Expanding our sales network to the Middle East, by partnering with Gulf Enterprises, is a key strategic decision that brings the next-gen Seastar to its natural environment that we are looking forward to embrace,” he said.