Continuing the tour of floatplanes (yes, I remember it’s winter up north even while I tour the tropical south, but what a good time to think about warmer days to come)…we paid a visit to the home field of Sport Aircraft Works. SAW is the U.S. marketing arm for Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW) and their SportCruiser, Parrot, and Mermaid. SAW proprietor Danny Defelici aided CZAW in the development of all three LSA. *** A crowning achievement was completing work on the amphibious Mermaid. I was the lucky first U.S. journalist to fly Mermaid! With its 120-hp Jabiru 3300, Mermaid performs well on land or water. Hiking up or dropping the gear is done via an easily-reached, hand-pumped hydraulic lever in the center console. Taxiing up on a beach proved effortless. Danny has taken CZAW’s Mermaid and fashioned an enjoyable amphib, coincidentally the first such to gain an FAA exemption allowing a properly trained Sport Pilot to, ahem…reposition the gear.
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