is a revolutionalty new amphibian being developed through the combined efforts of John A. Meekins and Bill Husa.
John is an entrepreneur whose dream is to improve the standards and safety of water-based aircraft. Bill Husa (deceased), original design/build engineer, had extensive experience with Boeing and as consultant on prototype aircraft and to the commercial aviation industry.
The innovative design of The PRIVATEER™ was developed to be the safest design possible for Water and Land Operations. The configuration is characterized by a low center of gravity, thus reducing the chance of flipping over in adverse conditions. PRIVATEER™ has a unique float layout that will provide unparalleled ease of operation during water-borne take-off and landings.
For runway operations, PRIVATEER™ employs Tricycle landing gear, allowing conventional landing and taxiing.
The aircraft is built of carbon fiber composites, making a light and strong airframe that is protected against the corrosion often associated with water-borne aircraft. Light structure, combined with the 724 HP Walter 601 series turbine engine, will deliver performance not seen by previous amphibians.
Construction is unique, yet simple, which makes for easier fabrication and simplifies maintenance.
The roomy six plus seat cabin (1 Pilot & 5-6 passengers) may have a three-place bench seat across the back of the cabin on production models.
The configuration of the PRIVATEER™ is scalable so variants will accommodate additional passengers.
PRIVATEER'S™ cockpit will be simple, making it easy to fly. The aircraft will have an empty weight of less than 3,600 lbs. and a range of 1,000 miles at Max Gross Weight, including a full passenger load.
The shroud design around the propeller significantly increases the propeller efficiency and thrust available for take-off and cruise. A secondary benefit is that the shroud also makes the already quiet turbine even quieter by damping much of the acoustic profile. Our goal, after safety, is to be environmentally friendly to both wildlife and neighboring communities.
Since General Electric has purchased Walter Engines, service and support will not be an issue.
As the PRIVATEER™ prototype is nearing completion, we are confident that the aircraft will meet or exceed design goals.
Updates from the President
March 26, 2019
In preparation for water testing of Privateer™ to be held at Leesburg Airport (LEE), Rob has "singled-up" the landing gear so that we can retract the gear into the hulls.
During the first week of March, the aircraft was making a final test of gear retraction at Melbourne (MLB) when an unexpected crosswind gust made for a "hard landing". The starboard main gear collapsed, causing Privateer™ to veer off the runway, which collapsed the remaining gear. A photo is available in the gallery ("Hard Landing MLB").
It should be noted that this was the second incident of the day. APRIVATEER™ Piper Seneca had a similar experience earlier, causing it to lose both props and necessitate a tear-down of both engines as well as destroying antennae and wiping out the landing gear.
I note that Privateer™ suffered very little damage from the incident. With the exception of the landing gear, which is being remanufactured, we will have completed “road rash” repairs to Privateer™ by the end of this week. Privateer is a tough nugget.
I will be at Sun-N-Fun from April 2nd through April 5th or 6th, even though I cannot exhibit Privateer™. I will be part of an Aviation Network interview at Sun-N-Fun on April 5th at 12:30 P.M., and will be available to discuss partnering/joint venture in order to manufacture/market the Privateer™ Aircraft with interested parties.
December 6, 2018
PRIVATEER™ amphibian has been moved from Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX) to Melbourne International Airport (MLB) after having achieved its first flight on August 6, 2018.
PRIVATEER™ will remain at Melbourne while completing water landings and testing. We will use the new ramp recently installed at Leesburg International Airport, (LEE) to access the water. The ramp will allow us to first enter the water from land to ensure that water variables are satisfactory before making the initial water landing.
Rob is having new rudders and associated brackets fabricated; they should be ready shortly.
We will use fly-by-wire technology to operate the rudders, in lieu of an intricate cable/pulley lash-up.
PRIVATEER™ has been selected as a "featured aircraft" at Sun-N-Fun, Lakeland, FL, April 2 - 7, 2019. Harvey Cleveland, test pilot, will fly every day.
October 19, 2018
Rob Lueck, President of Top Flight Services, and Harvey Cleveland, Test Pilot, have proven to be the "A-Team" in the development of the PRIVATEER™ Amphibian.
After ten years of effort in both Seattle, WA, and Titusville, FL, PRIVATEER™ completed its first flight on August 6, 2018.
PRIVATEER™ is now both the safest and fastest modern amphibian.
Harvey has reported that the new amphibian has good flight characteristics and has exceeded expectations in several areas. He noted that speed/power setting indications are that we will more than meet our expected range criteria. The aircraft has also flown at slower speeds than might be expected.
The PRIVATEER™ Amphibian now has more than twenty-three hours air time and Rob Lueck, President of Top Flight Services, has completed the initial discovery punch list.
Harvey and Rob are working together to "single up" the main landing gear and seal the floats in preparation for water landings.
On completion of the water work, we will begin to market the amphibian.