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.