Updated 7th January 2018
Westwind Aviation is me, Philip Seale. I am your New Zealand ICP Aviazione S.R.L. Savannah Sales, Build and Support Agent.
I had my first introduction to flying at the Bunbury Aero Club in Western Australia in 1979, however my career as a pilot commenced after a few years of theory study and saving for my private pilot licence and then the commercial flight and instrument training. In 1985, after various job including sweeping hangar floors and assisting licensed aircraft engineers maintaining General Aviation aircraft, I was rewarded with my first flying job piloting a Cessna 206 and 210 aircraft.
Obtaining a Commercial Pilot Licence enabled a life and career flying based initially in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia flying about the world. I hold an ATPL, RPL and a New Zealand D Cat Flight Instructors Rating. In addition to flying for an Airline, I also fly Westwind Aviation’s Cessna 185 and the ‘New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society’s’ historic PBY5A Catalina, ZK-PBY.
I am a member of the EAA (US), Cessna Pilots Association (US), AOPA (US), AOPA (NZ), SAA (NZ), RAA (NZ), NZ 185 Group, Air NZ Flying Club, Catalina Preservation Society, Canterbury Recreational Aircraft Club (CRAC) and the Marlborough Aero Club. I am passionate about all facets of aviation..
How did I get involved in the light aircraft fraternity? In 2015 I happened to visit Norfolk Island. There I chanced to meet local engineer and a fellow aviator Haydn Bell, who I discovered had built an aircraft on the Island with two friends. The aircraft was an ICP Savannah S. An invitation for a flight in it followed and I was hooked. What a fantastic aircraft. Docile and strong with remarkable short take off and landing performance but yet capable of such an incredible range.
Like many fellow aviators, I had always wanted to be involved in building an aircraft. While a member of the EAA (US) for over 20 years, I had not found an opportunity to do so, but that was about to change.
Following my visit to Norfolk Island, I contacted Reg Brost the owner of AeroKits Pty Ltd the Australian and New Zealand Agent for ICP to discuss the aircraft. Later after reviewing the aircraft build process and having formed a business plan, I negotiated to become his sub agent for New Zealand.
To be honest I was (and still am) surprised that not much interest had been generated in New Zealand, unlike Australia where there are hundreds of Savannah’s flying. I believe the S model is just a perfect aircraft for both North and South Island aviators when considering its amazing short field capability, sturdy design, quality materials, strength, flight visibility and the amazing + 7.5 hour range capability.
Haydn meanwhile had offered to take me under his wing and together we set about the build of a Savannah S model in my hangar at Forest Field (NZFF). Our engineering mentor was Evan Bellworthy from the Sports Aircraft Association of New Zealand (SAANZ).
When the aircraft was finished in March 2016, it was registered as ZK MYN and the CAA certification process was undertaken. The aircraft received a Permit to Fly, was test flown by Evan Bellworthy and then completed a 25 hour flight test period. It had been a very enjoyable build.
I am delighted to report that at the Great Plains Fly-in ZK-MYN was awarded the Robbie Robson Memorial Trophy for the Best Kit-Built Aircraft for 2017 by the SAANZ.
There are numerous Savannah aircraft at various stages of build about New Zealand. The latest kits that arrived from ICP incorporate new flush mounted and lockable fuel tank caps. The previous change was another (a third) fuel system inspection panel under each wing. I believe the best thing about ICP is that they are constantly improving the quality and finish of their kits.
On the subject of positives, earlier this year I received an email from the owner of a New Zealand Savannah S factory built aircraft. I want to share it because I believe it reflects the ICP Savannah S attributes.
“As far as I am concerned, the Savannah is the best all round aircraft of all available. Fantastic for sight seeing, with clear doors and high wing. Amazing STOL performance. Fantastic cruising aircraft – 90 kts. Great range – 600NM +1/2 hour reserve.”
Should you be considering a kit, partially built option, factory built aircraft, would like more information or want to be put in touch with someone who is building a Savannah S kit please email, text or call me.