We are building a 2 person seaplane that was ordered as a kit.
It is a Searey flying boat seaplane kit manufactured by Progressive Aerodyne. There are about 500 models of this plane that are currently flying which makes it one of the more popular small kit planes. The plane can currently be purchased as a finished airplane or as a kit project. It takes about 800 hours to build on average which is less time than many kit airplanes.
Our kit is a classic Searey model with a carbon fiber C-hull and many LSX upgrades including the LSX wings.
I spent about $32K for the original kit in 2008 and by the time we have finished we will have spent $70K total (hopefully, not a lot more than that).
Extra money is required because the engine and electronic instruments for radio communication and navigation are not included with the kit. That allows you to pick whatever you like and design the instrument panel. There are some mandatory instruments for fair weather flying but beyond that you can add fancy computerized screens or traditional round gauges.
A comparable new Searey would cost about $140K so you are able to save 50% or more of the cost by building it yourself. It is an interesting learning experience and as a builder you are legally qualified to repair and maintain the plane which can also save money vs. hiring an airplane mechanic to do repairs and the mandatory annual inspection.
We purchased our kit from Jim Ratte who owns Recreational Mobility, a Searey Distributor. Jim has helped to build 30+ Searey planes and serves as a helpful resource for questions from his customers. He can be found at: http://seareyspecialist.com . The Searey pilots have also created a private forum to discuss technical issues at https://searey.us .
I found a great building partner, Ethan, in 2015. He is now a 50% owner of the plane and we are working together to build it.
We are both private pilots and looking forward to flying this plane in the 2018/2019 timeframe. The completion target date is really dependent on how much time we can spend building as we both have jobs, family, and other fun things that compete for our time. We both like the idea of flying it sooner than later.
We need to document the building process because before we can fly it, an FAA inspector will check the plane and will also want to see some proof that we built it ourselves. I’ve been taking pictures during the build process and writing blog posts to describe what we worked on that day. Those posts are all here and they are categorized.
We both live in the Madison, Wisconsin area and we are currently building the plane in my garage. It will eventually need to move to an airport before we can attach the wings because then the 30 foot wingspan will make it too big to move around!
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