For absolute travel freedom, an amphibious seaplane is hard to beat—you can take off and land from lakes, ocean bays, island coves, or ordinary runways, opening up a world of options. Dornier, based in Germany, has been building flying boats for more than 100 years, and its latest design, the Seastar, is now in production. The Seastar has been in the works for a long time—development began in the 1980s. After completing flight tests and FAA certification, the design was put on hold due to a funding shortage, and then restarted in 2009 by Dornier Seawings, with new partners based in China.
An all-composite airframe, built in Canada by Diamond Aircraft, makes the Seastar immune to corrosion, and two reliable Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprops, paired with five-blade MT propellers, provide speeds up to 207 mph. The two engines are placed back to back above the cabin centerline, providing inline thrust to ensure docile handling even with one engine out. The engines’ high perch also provides protection from water ingestion and corrosion. In VIP configuration, the roomy cabin seats up to seven in premium leather seats. Extra-large windows frame the scenery, and wood veneer details, an optional lavatory, and plenty of storage space ensure comfort.
The single-pilot cockpit is equipped with the latest Honeywell Primus Epic 2.0 avionics suite, which includes four 10-inch LCD displays and a synthetic vision system. Maximum range is 900 nautical miles. Customer deliveries will start late in 2018. The Seastar sells for about $7 million.(dornierseawings.com)