Dornier Seastar

A conventional seaplane is nothing more than a Cessna outfitted with floats. Exposed to seawater, metal seaplanes corrode quickly and require constant maintenance. And without landing gear, they’re as waterbound as a tuna.

The hull of the speedboat-looking Dornier Seastar, meanwhile, is made entirely of corrosion-proof composite material. For terrestrial destinations, landing gear lowers from the hull. The wide boat hull keeps the craft stable on the water, as does the in-line arrangement of the twin turboprop engines positioned directly over the cabin.

The push-pull action of the two propellers can see the Seastar take off – with up to 12 passengers – after just 760 metres (2,500 feet) and reach a maximum air speed of 180 knots (333 kilometres/207 miles per hour).

Short takeoffs and landings are aided by two sets of curved sponsons – side projections that add stability to a vessel’s hull – located near the middle of the Seastar.

What is the sound barrier?

Breaking the sound barrier means exceeding the speed of sound at 12,192 metres (40,000 feet), that’s about 1,062 kilometres per hour (660 miles per hour). When Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier with the Bell X-1 rocket plane in 1947, … Continued