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Searey Transition Tips
- Three-point landings tend to be easier than wheel landings
- The tailwheel doesn’t always extend when lowering the gear (check it in the mirror to avoid surprises)
- Trim is your friend (the engine thrust line is very different from most aircraft, use trim to help you, and do WHATEVER it takes with the stick to achieve the pitch attitude you want/need)
- The boots leak, at the mains, and in the tail. There are three “boots” that are your sealant on through-hull gear and control push tubes. These all tend to leak, check them before each flight, replace them often (every 6 months or so), and do not leave the airplane in the water if you can help it, drop the gear and taxi or push it up a ramp/beach.
- The tail takes a beating in the water, check it well. If the tail or wires fail things will go bad very quickly.
- The airplane does not like crosswinds, especially starting a takeoff crosswind. Choose lakes and conditions that allow you to at least begin your takeoff into the wind. Use a minimum crosswind component limit for water landings, the airplane can handle much more crosswind on a runway than the water.
- Check plugs before every flight. It is a good idea to leave them out if you are parking outside as the airplanes are generally not watertight and rain will accumulate in the bilge. Better to let it run out than become a humidity box for your electronics and interior.
- Like most light sport aircraft, it is weight sensitive. Expect large performance changes when adding extra weight
- Weight and balance is funny due to the mounting of the engine. Always compute your weight and balance, you may need nose ballast when flying solo. The airplane can also get very nose heavy when flying with two big people or if you forget to take out that ballast when flying with a passenger, adding power, of course, aggravates the nose low situation at first, then begins to help as increased speed results in more elevator and trim authority. Bottom line, the CG envelope is sensitive, stay well within it.
- Flaps help with takeoff and landing. Typically you use full flaps for both. Safe takeoffs and landings on both water and pavement have been demonstrated to be possible without the use of flaps, but are not recommended.
- Luckily the Searey is a relatively new airplane with less than 1,000 copies out there flying. This means there is a good amount of flight hours on the airframes for people to begin to learn about how they behave, and there is also a small collection of accident reports in the NTSB database (all with relatively complete reports since all accidents have occurred mostly this century). Reading the accident reports will give you an idea where others ran into trouble. Learn from their mistakes, don’t be silly and repeat the same ones.
The airplane is capable of doing VERY cool things, it also has serious limitations. Understand all the limitations and get instruction from an experienced Searey instructor. Respect the limits or you will pay the price.