Updated 9th September 2019
Westwind Aviation is me, Philip Seale, your ICP s.r.l. Savannah S and Ventura sales, spare parts, build and support New Zealand 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, saving up for and training for my private pilot licence and then a commercial flight and instrument training. In 1985, after various jobs starting from sweeping hangar floors to assisting licensed aircraft engineers maintaining General Aviation aircraft, I was rewarded with my first flying job piloting Cessna 206 and 210 aircraft.
Obtaining a Commercial Pilot Licence has enabled a life and career flying and I consider myself very fortunate. Initially flying in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia before flying all around the world. I hold a NZ ATPL and an RPL. I fly a Boeing 787, 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 light sport aircraft? In 2015 I happened to visit Norfolk Island. There I chanced to meet local engineer and a fellow aviator Haydn Bell, whom 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’, my immediate impression. 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 harboured a desire 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 Norfolk Island trip I contacted Reg Brost, the owner of AeroKits Pty Ltd the Australian and New Zealand Agent for ICP s.r.l. 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, back then I was surprised that not much interest had been generated in New Zealand, unlike Australia where there are hundreds of Savannah’s flying. I will put it down to a lack of marketing. I honestly believe the S model is 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 was returning to New Zealand from Norfolk and had offered to take me under his wing. 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 ZK MYN and the CAA certification process was undertaken. The aircraft received a Permit to Fly and was test flown by Evan Bellworthy..
There are numerous Savannah aircraft at various stages of build about New Zealand and two more have recently been completed, registered and issued a Permit to Fly by the CAA. They are ZK- SRT and JIM. Other Savannah S builds are expected to be completed and flying in the near future.
The latest kits from ICP incorporate new flush mounted and lockable fuel tank caps with a superior venting arrangement design. The previous change was a third fuel system inspection panel located under each wing. I believe the strongest selling point about ICP as a manufacturer is that they are constantly keeping abreast with technology and improving the quality and finish of their kits.
While on the subject of positives, below is an unsolicited comment received in an email from the owner of the first New Zealand Savannah S factory built aircraft (Imported from Australia in 2014). 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, factory assembled Savannah S or the event new Ventura aircraft, would like more information or just want to be put in touch with someone who is building a Savannah S kit or owns one. I invite you to either email, text or call.
For further interesting information, the ICP website is located at: www.icpaviazione.it