By Boran Pivčić
All photos author
By a stroke of good luck, after an hour’s worth of musing, I had finally decided to go to Lučko a couple of days back, forsaking studying meteorology for a chance to finally breathe some fresh air. I had a hunch I would find something interesting, but what I saw when I arrived at the field nearly took my breath away – a half-assembled Seawind 3000! Now normally, I wouldn’t get so excited by a new aircraft at the field, but I’m an absolute fan of rare aircraft such as this, so seeing it’s not-at-all-unnoticeable tail above the hedges grabbed my interest in an instant.
9A-DZZ, as it transpired, is the first Seawind on the Balkans and – as far as I’ve been able to dig up – one of the very few in Europe (the closest one is in Italy, with the rest I think split between the UK, Sweden and Russia). It’s rarity – and considering it’s a relatively very new design that somehow made it down here in less than 20 years – meant that I was naturally all over it, with dozens of photos to prove it :).
The Seawind 3000 itself is a composite four-seater amphibian, powered by a 300-310 HP Continental IO-550. Despite the added drag of the wingtip stabilizer floats and stepped hull, this thing goes pretty nicely performance-wise, with a cruise speed in the 150 knot range fully loaded. Coupled with enough fuel for a range in excess of 1500 km and a rather spacious interior, the 3000 is a very capable amphib tourer.
Currently in assembly – with most of the big bits bolted on – DZZ is expected to fly soon and rumor is she may be based at Varaždin in the north of the country (despite being far inland, Varaždin has a large-ish saltwater lake on the Drava river, which this aircraft could potentially use).