Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey LSA, N23GK: Incident occurred March 12, 2019

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miami, Florida

During landing roll out the tail wheel separated from the aircraft.

Aviation Transport Sales & Training LLC

Date: 12-MAR-19
Time: 14:58:00Z
Regis#: N23GK
Aircraft Model: SEARAY LSA
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)


  1. Progressive Aerodyne was a good kit company, but is in over their heads with LSAs.

    Since the departure of the previous owner/investor, they do not employee any engineers or competent quality control professionals and are under the direction of a very arrogant and clueless CEO.

    There are multiple, major known safety issues with the airplane without any appropriate publishing of safety bulletins to the owner community.

    Hopefully someone steps in before people get hurt.

  2. Agree with the above post. A&P mechanics will rarely touch them

  3. My name is Glenn Kautt, owner and pilot of N23GK. The report is incorrect.
    I'm sorry my comments didn't come our sooner, but I didn't see this report until the end of 2023. Who am I?
    Here's what really happened:

    I took off in Searey N23GK from Naples airport and heard a "bang" as I retracted the gear. I felt all the flight controls and engine indications, but nothing was out of order. I observed all three landing gear up (2 main and one tail wheel) using the small mirror mounted on the wing to observe the tailwheel. I flew to a local lake and made about a dozen water landings/takeoffs, all normal.

    I flew back to Naples. Winds were light out of the north-east, and I elected to land on the grass runway parallel to the longer paved runway (5-23). As I touched down, I noticed more vibration from the main gear and tail than normal because of the grass. I slowed rapidly and came to a stop. I was told by the tower to taxi to the left side onto taxiway Delta. I applied a substantial amount of power but the aircraft was not moving quickly, so I assumed I had a flat tire. I informed the tower. They told me I could not stay there, and to cross the active runway 5 and move to the grass area between runway 5 and taxiway Alpha

    I moved the aircraft across Runway 5 to the grass on the south side. I then shut down, got out and inspected the underside of the tail. I found the gear was retracted and had not extended. Why? The cable which raised and lowered the tailwheel slipped as it moved on the small pulley, got caught between two pieces of metal and snapped due to the tension on it from the gear motor.

    The result? The aircraft was strong enough to land without the tailwheel extended. We picked up the aft end of the aircraft, pulled the tailwheel out, zip-tied it into place, and taxied the aircraft back to the ramp. The damage? Some paint scraped off the tailwheel assembly extending out beyond the skin of the aircraft. That was it.

    The fix? A small guide put into place on all current and future production Seareys to keep the retract/extend cable from ping pinched as it moved. The guy who helped me over the phone was the final AP inspector.

    He subsequently left the company to form his own maintenance and service company for Seareys. He's a superb mechanic and the only guy I trust with my my plane.

  4. This is Glenn Kautt again. Who am I? Private ASEL January 1973. Yes, that's 50 years ago. I have current ATP MEL and ASELS CFI certificates, and maintain my day, night and instrument currency by flying a twin turbine (goes high/fast/far) and the Searey (goes slow/low/lands often). I'm a Navy veteran who was trained to run nuclear reactors on subs. I've also got an MBA from Harvard Business School. I've started and run six different businesses. The last one I helped found before I retired now has about 400 employees, 25 offices across the country and about 10,000 clients. I know a little bit about engineering and business.

    I've owned and flown dozens of aircraft, and carefully selected the Searey after learning (and reading) about Richard Bach's experiences (Flights with Puff) and Michael Smith's circumnavigation of the globe solo in a Searey-the only person to ever solo an amphibian aircraft around the world (Voyage of the Southern Sun).

    The Searey is a very well-engineered aircraft, more than many I've flown. The original designer and owner sold the company to the Chinese. The Chinese initially hired a Chinese American to run the plant, but he was not experienced enough. Then, they unwisely hired a guy with big-company experience, but who had never run a small company. He drove it into the ground and drove a lot of customers away.

    The factory built Searey is fine if it's maintained by professionals. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, it excels as an amphibian LSA. It's a good as it gets. Better by far than the Icon A5. The nuke engineer, successful businessman and lifetime pilot in me says so. Progressive Aerodyne just shut down, but the Searey will return.