When I admire my Super Seawind sleeping beauty I recall that it was first my vision and now my creation. I had built the first ever PT6 powered Seawind and I flew N71RJ all the way up to 19,000’ at breathtaking speeds. That’s something! I recently finished the annual inspection IAW a strict maintenance schedule I authored in 2013. I feel accomplished because N71RJ is safer and better equipped than ever. Like an old friend, it’s waiting for me on the tarmac. All it needs is a qualified pilot plus a little wanderlust.
That sad day in 2014, she had not only lost a loving husband, but a copilot friend too. Like her husband, the copilot was also a dad, a friend, a brother and a son. There were no survivors. Something critical had been overlooked. Understanding the cause of this fatal crash and so many others over my flying years I reflected; “what makes my Seawind safer than other builders and even safer than type certificated airplanes like Cirrus, Cessna and Piper?”
Sensing nebulous danger, my heart rate fired upward. We were back in the clouds and then; thud! Emerging from clouds I got another quick look and both wing leading edges were icing up fast. I glanced again on indicated air speed. It had declined 5 Kts in about 30 seconds. “Ice on the wings”
Over the past forty years flying military and civilian aircraft there have been a few times when after landing, I felt like kissing the ground beneath my two feet. Seeing the movie “Sully” recently about the “Miracle on the Hudson” – the safe landing of US Airways flight 1549 in …