Ignorant question

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Goatman, Jun 13, 2006.

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  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    'Scuse the intrusion skygods,

    Back in the 90's I had the pleasure of taking a Sri Lankan gent to look at an aircraft called the Edgely Optica, which, until Hants police dived one into Ringwood Forest, seemed to offer them a useful capability for airborne surveillance, being cheaper to keep airborne for longer than a thwocka.

    (The Sri Lankans main worry about this rather fragile looking bird was AK47 /.50 cal groundfire from a mate of theirs called Tam 'El Tiger' apparentely....)

    Scroll forward to the March 2006 edition of Jane's Defence Review . P36 pic captioned;

    ' The Seabird Seeker SB7L-360A pictured during the US convoy-protection assessment trial staged in Jordan in 2005.'

    In my groundy ignorance (which is profound) it reminded me a little of the old Optica (apart from being single spar with conventional pusher engine)....are they by any chance related ?

    Or did the Yanks take the concept and rebuild from scratch ?

    ( Edited to add: Hmmm - Flight eval here http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles/2005/11/15/202829/No+place+to+hide.html - Aussie ac apparentely]

    Ta esso,

    Don Cabra
  2. 1. Looks very like the Optica to me.....although it was a long time ago!

    2. Snip...


    1. The Authority reported to the Council in September, 1985 on the
    tragic deaths of two police officers who were acting as pilot and
    photographer in the Optica aircraft when it was undergoing
    evaluation trials and crashed near Ringwood on 15th May, 1985.
    Since then the Accident Investigation Branch of the Department of
    Transport have investigated the crash and published a detailed
    report on the accident.

    2. The Optica aircraft was the first production model and had been
    formally accepted by the Hampshire Constabulary on the day before
    the crash for the purpose of evaluating its suitability for
    police purposes. The crew had been previously trained in its
    use, and were engaged in the task of carrying out a photographic
    survey of traffic congestion in the Ringwood area. Despite
    considering a wealth of technical evidence, an exhaustive
    examination at the site of the crash and subsequent examination
    of aircraft components, the Accident Investigation Branch have
    concluded that it is impossible to identify the cause of the

    3. Whilst orbiting Ringwood, the aircraft descended slowly from
    about 800 to 150 - 100 feet, turned to the right and then
    suddenly spiralled to the ground. The impact destroyed the
    aircraft, killed the crew and was followed by a severe fire. The
    Accident Investigation Branch have been unable to do more than
    identify possible reasons. The Accident Investigation Branch
    concluded that the aircraft was serviceable and that the pilot
    was properly qualified. A copy of the AIB report on the accident
    has been placed in the Members Room. The Authority have
    considered their liability in the respect of the crash and have
    instructed the County Secretary in respect of claims from the
    defendant of the two police officers who lost their lives in the

    4. Despite the sad and discouraging event of the aircraft crashing
    whilst still under trials, the Authority have noted that the
    Chief Constable would like to continue the use of aircraft by the
    Police and will consider a report on this matter in due course.


    3. And that crash, IIRC, ended the Optica's career.

    4. Old Sarum's history includes a short comment on the Optica.

    Old Sarum

    5. I always thought that the Optica was way in advance of anything flying at that time. Having discussed the theory with a good friend and aircraft designer, we agreed that we were surprised at how slowly it could fly, and wondered whether that was the root of the problem. To fly it, you always had to think in terms of flying very slowly, almost on the stall, and most conventionally trained pilots did not fly like that. To me, the brief description of the accident reads like a stall and subsequent spin from which the pilot could not recover in the height available.

  3. Goatman, G-BLFC was re-marked G-TRAK and is now N130DP


    Registration: G-BLFC Current Reg. Date: 14/02/1984
    Previous ID: First Reg. Date: 14/02/1984
    Status: De-registered De-Reg. Date: 10/07/1987
    Reason: Transferred to another UK mark To: G-TRAK

    Type: OA7 OPTICA
    Serial No.: 003
    Mode S (hex):
    Popular Name: OPTICA
    Generic Name: OA7
    Aircraft Class: FIXED-WING LANDPLANE
    Engines: 1 - 1 x LYCOMING IO-540-V4A5D

    Ownership Status: Chartered
    Registered Owners: EDGLEY AIRCRAFT LIMITED

    MTOW: 1315kg Total Hours: Year Built: 1984
    CofA / Permit: C of A Expiry:

    Registration: G-TRAK Current Reg. Date: 24/03/1994
    Previous ID: G-BLFC First Reg. Date: 24/03/1994
    Status: De-registered De-Reg. Date: 21/01/1998
    Reason: Transferred to another country or authority To: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    Type: OA7 OPTICA
    Serial No.: 003
    Mode S (hex):
    Popular Name: OPTICA
    Generic Name: OA7
    Aircraft Class: FIXED-WING LANDPLANE
    Engines: 1 - 1 x LYCOMING IO-540-V4A5D

    Ownership Status: Owned
    BH23 6NW

    MTOW: 1315kg Total Hours: 602 at 31/12/1987 Year Built: 1984
    CofA / Permit: AWAITING REPLACEMENT C of A Expiry:

    and according to the FAA,
    'Last Action Taken'(what ever that means!): 2005-07-27

    registered to
    MN 55127 US


  4. Thats a blast from the past.. not seen that airframe for a while.... good to see its still flying, not that i would want to fly that though!!

    I am pretty sure i saw a "seeker" AC like the one in your article, but it was an amphibian/ float plane configuration but looks 95% similar to that one being trialed in that article... again, interesting to see it, but no way i would want to fly it
  5. IIRC the manufacturer went under some years ago. It's possible that a spam firm bought the license to produce the a/c- but I haven't seen any around for at least 10 years.
  6. It bears something of a resemblance to an old, late-40's Republic SeaBee flying boat, an outstanding aircraft that still enjoys a large following, with many examples still flying here in the states. Could that be what you're thinking of?
  7. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Thanks chaps...ahem....yes , Litotes I know the pic in my first post is an Optica....the beast I was seeking a comparison with is THIS:

    Article at http://www.spyflight.co.uk/seeker.htm

    See what I mean about the bloodline ?

    This critter is apparentely in service in Iraq.....and whilst it seems that all Iraqis are expendable ( which by extension means Iraqi pilots) I was musing on the ballistic protection offered....have Dupont incorporated Kevlar in a transparent lightweight material yet ?...hmmm, thought not....Plexiglass is good stuff, but kinda heavy....

    Le Chevre

  8. Yes they are . . . and they're KIN hard to see! However, they took over some of the more onerous jobs so that's got to be a good thing! :wink: