Dornier Chooses Canadian Site for Seastar Production

Dornier Seastar Courtesy of Dornier

Dornier Seaplane Company has selected Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec (a Montreal suburb), as the final assembly site for its Seastar twin-engine flying boat. Company President Joe Walker said he holds 25 letters of intent that are currently in the process of "being matured into firm contracts." Among the factors in selecting the Canadian site are the skilled aviation labor force centered in the area; the proximity of engine-maker Pratt & Whitney Canada (which supplies the Seastar's PT6A-135A turboprop powerplants); international transportation connections associated with a major metropolitan area; high-quality educational institutions; and nearby Lake Champlain with its uncongested airspace and available takeoff and landing areas for flight test and demonstration activity. The decision portends a boom in hiring, with Dornier expecting to add more than 500 new jobs in the next five years, including 75 additional employees at P&WC to meet higher demand for engine production. The Seastar is an all-composite seaplane, already certified by FAA and Europe's EASA aviation authority. Supplier selection has accelerated, leading to anticipated first deliveries in 2012. The Quebec site was one of two finalists, winning out narrowly over North Bay, Ontario, which was also described by Walker as "an outstanding location for aviation projects." Dornier Seaplane Company is a Canadian corporation, built on a "three-generation Dornier aviation tradition that designs, develops and manufactures aircraft and flying boats." Click here to read J. Mac McClellan's pilot report of the Dornier Seastar.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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