The Gweduck (the amphibious seaplane)
After seeing this odd looking plane in the southeast corner of the Renton Municipal airport every now and then for nearly two years, I finally did some research on it. I contacted one of the engineers and this morning I had the pleasure of seeing the Ellison-Mahon Aircraft's Gweduck up close in their hangar. While walking around the plane, I noticed the FAA aircraft identification plate on the tail that read "Experimental Amateur Built Aircraft." Although I'm well aware of the FAA's definition of "amateur," it was still hard for me to comprehend that they could use such a word to categorize this professionally built plane. According to an article in the January 2010 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine, the people behind the project have spent nearly 20 years designing and building the airplane. Unlike the Grumman Widgeon that it resembles, this is made of composites, which don't corrode in salt water environments like metal does. It also sports two 300hp Lycoming IO-540 engines, which at an economical cruise speed of 120 knots only use an impressive 19.5 GPH (74 LPH) of avgas. The Gweduck can seat six (including pilot) and has a maximum payload of nearly 2000 lbs (907 kg). All of these figures are impressive to this general aviation geek.
The Gweduck is currently in a hiatus period while they continue to fine tune the design. Their plan is start flying again in around six weeks time.
To learn more about the Gweduck, you can visit their website at www.gweduck.com/ or read the January 2010 EAA article. Both links include intriguing information and various pictures.