little side-by-side amphibian is called Paturi
in Brazil and Seastar in Canada. The design began
as a single-place ultralight amphibian called
Hydroplum that is powered by a 40-hp Hirth engine.
Hydroplum first flew in 1983. The airplane was
designed and built by Claude Tisserand of Corisca,
and he went on to design a more advanced side-by-side
two-seater with a 65-hp Rotax 532. This was designated
Hydroplum II. It made is initial flight in November
Tisserand sold plants for both airplanes, but
Societe Morbinannaise d'Aero Navigation (SMAN)
acquired the rights to the airplane and produced
kits for the two-seater, renaming it Le Petrel.
Ohio-based Seabird Aviation next obtained North
American rights for manufacturer and sale of kits.
Andre de Reynier, president of Edra Helicentro
at Ipeúna, Brazil, did the same in 1989
for South America and then produced more than
In the interim, Seabird ran into a snag with its
prototype, serial No. 14, built in the French
According to Reynier, Seabird's Petrel had been
siting in the water all night, secured by a line
around its tailboom, and water had seeped into
its hull through the landing gear area. It sank
up to is engine, and the following morning, it
was pulled our of the water by a tractor tugging
on the securing line. That move may have caused
undetected damage to the boom, which failed during
flight; the airplane crashed, killing the two
Reynier acquired all rights to the Petrel from
SMAN, now defunct, more than three years ago,
and the new company has produced more than 135
kits of the modified Paturi version. Seventy of
them were factory-built fly always. Edra amphibians
have gone to customers throughout Brazil and other
South American countries and also in Norway, South
Africa and Hawaii. All are said to have been accident-free.
Current production is five kits and one fly-away
per month. The Paturi is kitted to U.S. Experimental
amateur-built rules and is quite different from
the original Petrel.
Reynier has owned and flown numerous airplanes
and helicopters. He operates Brazil's largest
helicopter training school with five Schweizer/Hughes
helicopters. Since 1989, more than 1000 pilots
have graduated from the helicopter training. Two
hundred people are employed in the Paturi facility.
When Reynier acquired the Paturi program, his
25-years-old son Rodrigo and some of Rodrigo's
engineering school classmates looked at ways of
improving the design.
All of this resulted in the following modifications:
The original shorter-span lower wing was increased
to upper-wing span, and all four wingtips were
The upper wing leading edge was made rigid, upper-wing
ailerons were slotted, and hinge points changed
for smoother operation. The lower wing received
a carbon spar, and fiberglass replaced the plywood
originally employed. Tip floats on the lower wing
were moved inboard 6.5 inches and attached to
the spar. The hull width was also increased by
8 inches to provide more flotation to accommodate
larger people and heavier engines.
The fuselage was lengthened 1 foot for more legroom
and to improve c. g. as fuel was moved from behind
the seats to the wing leading edge. There is also
an optional 20-gallon tank for the lower wing,
which doubles the fuel capacity.
Customers also have a choice of tank material.
Some South Americans auto gas has 25% alcohol,
which necessitates use of a polyurethane tank,
and should avgas be the choice, a fiberglass tank
must be employed. All are retrofittable.
Edra built three prototypes. No. 1 employed Petrel
wings on the new fuselage; No. 2 had a Subaru
engine; and No.3 our subject - which is also the
company demonstrator - is production configured
and flying with a 100-hp Rotax 912S. "I believe
the 912S is the best engine for the airplane,"
The kitted fuselage was originally molded in three
pieces - two sides and the bottom - but that was
changed to two sections, with the sides already
epoxied together, plus the bottom. Now the fuselage
is delivered as a one-piece section. "We
developed a special epoxy, " Reynier notes.
"We have added cotton fiber to the epoxy,
which results in a much stronger bond."
The fuselage is made with a foam core: Swiss Irex
or the slightly heavier Coremat. Three fuselage
bulkheads are epoxied in place. The tailboom is
carbon fiber and tapered, measuring 7 inches forward
and 4.5 inches at the aft end. It is also strengthened
with three foam bulkheads and longerons.
The wings employ 3 3/16 - inch diameter carbon
fiber tubular spars placed 10 inches from the
leading edge, and the rear spars at the trailing
edge are U-shaped. A fiberglass leading edge extends
back to the forward spar.
Ribs, 12 per panel, are sandwiched PVC foam/unidirectional
fiberglass. The wing is entirely covered with
1.8-ounce Dracon. Ailerons have a leading-edge
carbon tubular spar but not ribs, and the skins
are a foam/fiberglass sandwich. Each aileron spans
7 feet 9.5 inches and has a 11.5-inch chord.
Wings are braced by aluminum struts. All of the
hinges and similar hardware are stainless steel.
The molded fiberglass underwing floats are 47
inches long. Leading-edge tubular carbon spars
of 1 5/8-inch diameter are used in all of the
tail feathers. All surfaces are fabric covered
but contain internal fiberglass strengtheners.
Push-pull tubes are used on all control surfaces
on the rudder. Control surfaces are also all lead-weight
The cockpit is 45 inches wide, and its recessed
seat arrangement accommodates 6 foot 6 inch passengers
with headroom to spare. Seat backs are also adjustable,
and there is a 66-pound-capacity baggage compartment
behind the seats on the c.g. To permit the Paturi
be flown with or without its enclosures, the windshield
and door frames are made of carbon fiber.
The main landing gear has fiberglass legs but
employs double-action nitrogen/oil shock absorbers.
Wheels and brakes are by Matco, and tires are
11x4 Cheng Shin. The nosegear uses a stainless
steel strut with a 2.80/2.50 McCreary tire on
a Matco wheel.
Gear retraction is mechanical with pneumatic boost,
like that on the Mooney. Gear has a tread of 5
feet 10 inches, and wheelbase is 6 feet 11 inches.
The airplane's empty weight is 704 pounds, and
gross weight is 1300 pounds.
The takeoff run is just under 400 feet on land
and 512 feet on water with a liftoff speed of
50 mph followed by a 70-mph climb of 750 fpm.
Paturi's never-exceed speed is 115 mph, and cruise
is 95 mph on 75% power with a claimed fuel consumption
near 2 gph. The service ceiling is 9000 feet.
For landing, downwind approach is made at 75-80
mph, dropping to 75 mph on base, then 65-70 mph
on final. Touchdown is near 45 mph followed by
a rollout of 265 feet.
In Brazil, the fly-away Paturi sells for U.S.$43.000,
which includes a 100-hp Rotax 912S and a ground-adjustable
Arplast propeller. Edra is producing the carbon
fiber/foam core French-designed Arplast unit under
license. A variable pitch version is an option
Reynier has also established a North American
organization - Amphibian Airplanes of Canada Ltd.
(AAC) in British Columbia - with a view to marketing
kits of the Paturi in Canada, the United States
and other countries the follow the FAA's criteria
for homebuilts and ultralights. Canada has just
changed its homebuilding regulations to a 44/56%
requirement, but AAC is working toward the less
stringent 49/51% kit for south of the Canadian
Presently, Brazilian-built kits are being sent
to Canada for assembly, but there is a planned
step-by-step move for the Canadian branch to fabricate
kits in house. A U.S. customer will pay $26.000
for a basic kit, less engine, prop and instruments,
but it is a quick-build 500-hour kit. The Paturi/Seastar
is also quick-trailerable.
Two people can disassemble
the airplane for trailering in 20 minutes. Each
of the four wing panels attach to the fuselage
by three simple locking pins; the upper wing panels
have an extra one for the aileron rods. Release
of two pins in the horizontal tail surfaces allows
them to fold upward against the verticals.
The Paturi assembly hangar also currently houses
two Seawind 3000s that are being put together.
"We purchased two kits, one for a former
Petrel customer, and the other for myself,"
Reynier explained. You can be sure that the finished
articles will be top grade, like all of Edra's
projects. One of his Petrels now has 1500 trouble-free