Dornier’s New Generation Seastar amphibian airborne for the first time

The prototype Dornier Seawings Seastar successfully performed its 31 minute maiden flight on 28 March 20, from Oberpfaffenhofen airport in Bavaria, Germany.

Having attained the required European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) and Luftfahrt Bundesamt (LBA – the German aviation regulator) approvals on 19 March 2020, this was a major milestone in the development of the aircraft.

Wolfram Cornelius, Chief Test Pilot at Dories Seastar, was cautiously optimistic after the successful flight. “The first flight was completed successfully and confirmed the nice handling qualities of the Seastar. All systems functioned correctly. The advanced avionic system reflects the state-of-the-art in cockpit design and is a good baseline for future development,” he said.

The New Generation Seastar is significantly improved from the original Seastar which was designed and developed by Claudius Dornier Jr. in the 1980s. The New Generation Seastar has been developed by Dornier Seawings, a multi-national Joint Venture between the Dornier family and two state-owned Chinese enterprises.

The new aircraft is equipped with a state-of-the-art full digital glass cockpit, new highly efficient propellers, several systems including air-conditioning and stern thruster, as well as a corrosion-resistant composite structure that results in reduced maintenance keeping costs significantly down particularly in sea water operations.

The operational concept of the New Generation Seastar is to enhance short to medium haul trips with lower cost and flight time but higher safety and capacity. Dornier Seawings state preliminary performance figures as a maximum takeoff weight of 5100 kilograms, a maximum cruise speed of 180 KTAS (333 km/hr) and 900nm (1667 km) as a maximum range.

Possible customizable interiors include cargo, VIP, passenger and special mission configurations.