|The Sea Hawk has a long, long sad history.
The problems with the Seahawk began with the very first original design.
The Seahawk as originally envisioned by Gary LeGare of Aero Gare, Mojave
Ca, was to be a MUCH lighter aircraft than that which it became.
For instance, it was originally intended to utilize a Volkswagen engine!
When LeGare determined that the plane was too heavy and would require more
horsepower, he went to the 150 HP Lycoming. That was just the beginning
of a long series of modifications to the original design, which added up
to a substantially higher empty weight. As do a lot of designers, LeGare
did not anticipate the effects of each modification on the rest of the
overall aircraft. As a result, such things as the landing gear components
were incapable of handling the additional stresses. Since that was not
figured into the overall modification or redesign process, Seahawk builders
experienced many landing gear failures. In addition, the plane would not
get on step or off the water well with one person, let alone two.
It was seriously short of wing and hull area.
Another area, which required substantial change, was the overall aerodynamics of the plane. The original design simply was not capable of flying over 100 MPH. The relatively short and wide pylon area was a source of almost insurmountable induced drag, especially over 85 MPH. The required aerodynamic modifications to the design to correct that problem added even more weight.
The design flaws which must be corrected in the Seahawks in order to make the plane a safe and viable aircraft are entirely too numerous to try to go into all of them in detail in this letter, but a few of them are discussed briefly to give you an idea of the seriousness of the problem.
All the hardware is different, as is the canopy, sponsons, spray rails, pylon area, landing gear and of course, the wings and entire control system. Flapperons are made of carbon fiber, combining added strength with a lighter part and are balanced.
Wing Spar Bonding-
The bonding of the spar cap to the spar is referred to as a "blind" bond because it is difficult to observe the actual bonded area. Inspecting the spars for proper bonding is not simple, and it took years to develop the procedures. If the wings fail the inspection, there is no fix. The wings must be replaced. Even if they pass the inspection, they still require extensive modification in other areas.
Control System Design Flaws-
Landing Gear Systems-
The company was sold two more times. The first to Aero Composite of Fulton, IL and then to Aero Composite Technologies, Inc. of Somerset PA. There were about 150 Seahawk kits sold before the doors were closed for the last time.
By the time Quikkit had solved all of the problems, of those 150, probably over 100 of the owners were more than glad to sell their projects for almost nothing just to get rid of it! The original purchaser had lost his enthusiasm, developed money problems, grown old, or whatever. That meant that any new buyer had the choice of buying a Glass Goose kit for the current price, or picking up an old Seahawk kit for next to nothing! This effectively killed the sales of Glass Goose kits. It became apparent that in order for Quikkit to survive it was going to have to work up a modification package for these Seahawk purchasers and sell that package at a price from which it could cover its overhead and make a profit.
Soon it became obvious that would not be possible because there was an inherent problem. Because of the passage of time and the resulting inflation, the modification package was more expensive than the original Seahawk kits were when they were brand new! The kits were being offered for sale for just a few thousand dollars, and sometimes were given away! The new owners would call Quikkit thinking they were going to have an aircraft for less than the cost of a big screen TV only to find out there was a real world out there after all.
The process of working through all of the problems of the Seahawk was a very long, very expensive, and very painful ordeal. The end result is the Glass Goose. And now that there are Glass Gooses flying, none have had any serious problems at all, and no one has been hurt by one.
(Historical note: The Sea Hawk prototype, after what was described as a squirrly and frightful flight from Mojave to Oshkosh was donated to the EAA there and has never flown again. It is frequently on static display during Oshkosh. One has only to see it and visually compare it to the Glass Goose to begin seeing the obvious differences. It is totally untrue, as reported by an article in WATER FLYING (Spring 2000), that LeGare crashed and died in this aircraft.)
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