Flying Magazine Article: Diamond To Build Seastar Composite Airframes in Canada
Dornier has struck a deal for its amphibious turbine-twin structures to be built by Diamond and shipped to its factory in Germany.
By Stephen Pope
Diamond To Build Seastar Composite Airframes in Canada
Dornier Seawings has tapped the production resources available at Diamond Aircraft’s London, Ontario factory to produce the composite airframes for the new Seastar amphibious twin.
The instantly recognizable Seastar features a pair of centerline-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprops mounted high above its 14-seat fuselage. Germany-based Dornier Seawings chose Diamond in Canada due to its experience with similarly sized aircraft, namely the now-dormant single-engine D-Jet, as well as Diamond’s willingness to take on the project.
As a result, Diamond is adding 40 workers after a series of layoffs at the London plant when the D-Jet program was canceled a few years back.
“We’re excited to be producing the airframe for the Dornier Seastar,” said Peter Maurer, president and CEO of Diamond Aircraft Industries Inc. Canada. “It is a sophisticated and substantial aircraft with an MTOW of over 10,000 pounds and capacity to carry two crew plus up to 12 passengers. Thanks to its unique design features the Seastar is superior in every important measure such as speed, range, endurance, direct operating cost, to name a few.”
Both Diamond and Seastar aircraft designs feature no life limit composite airframes produced using low temperature, out-of-autoclave curing processes.
“We selected Diamond for several reasons,” explained Dr. Albert Halder, president and CEO of Dornier Seawings GmbH. “Diamond was responsive to our needs, has the necessary experience, resources and facilities and their airplanes are known for their high build quality. We will work very closely with Diamond, with our specialists resident at Diamond’s London facility to oversee the progress, support tooling and process development, and to provide engineering and production liaison with our team in Germany.”
The initial contract calls for the manufacture of the first 10 shipsets, with options for subsequent units. The first flightworthy components are in production now, with delivery of the first airframe to the Dornier Seawings facilities in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, for final assembly and completion, scheduled for this year’s second quarter.