is a revolutionary new amphibian being developed by John A. Meekins, an entrepreneur whose dream is to improve the standards of safety of water-based aircraft.
In addition to being an Industrial Real Estate developer, Pilot, Entrepreneur and Inventor, John Meekins wanted to purchase a seaplane that he could safely use to carry his family and friends to and from his waterfront property. After test flying several seaplanes, John decided they each had their own safety or performance issues. John wanted to have a proof of concept prototype built but needed to find someone to build it.
Frank Leventhal, a long time friend and 14,000-hour Professional Pilot was tasked to find a builder. Frank found an article about Bill Husa, a retired Boeing Configuration and Structures Engineer who was looking to build a custom aircraft. After a 2-hour conference call with Bill, John was so impressed that he retained Bill for the prototype.
Bill and John worked together to design Privateer™, resulting in the amphibian aircraft you see today.
The innovative design of the Privateer™ was developed to be the safest design possible for water and land operations. The configuration is characterized by a low center of gravity, thus reducing the chance of flipping over in adverse conditions. Privateer™ has a unique float layout that will provide unparalleled ease of operation during water-borne take-off and landings.
As the Privateer™ prototype is nearing completion, we are confident that the aircraft will meet or exceed design goals.
John Meekins, President
Privateer Industries LLC
Updates from the President
January 22, 2020
It has been a while and much has happened to relate.
Kudos to Jim Janicki, Vice President of Quality at LAUNCH Technical Workforce Solutions, for arranging an airworthiness certificate which has allowed us to get 27.5 hours of flight time for Privateer™. I should note that Privateer™ has performed better than expected in a number of areas.
Thanks also to the Oklahoma FAA who sent us an updated registration after we sent them a photo of the registration plate on the Privateer™ aircraft.
Rob added a rebuilt Fuel Control Unit, at considerable expense, in an effort to improve engine characteristics and resume testing of Privateer™ prior to expiration of the initial airworthiness certificate on October 4, 2019.
We are fortunate to add Dave Jobe, Aviation Industry Consultant, Principal and Owner at ACCS, LLC, to our team as a consultant. Dave has experience with the U.S. Air Force as a jet engine mechanic and aircraft crew chief. He was a "hands on guy" at Boeing overseeing mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, and flight control on pneumatic systems. He spent eight years as an FAA aviation safety inspector at the Kansas City MIDO.
The Orlando MIDO has opted to work with us directly, independent of a DAR. We have submitted all paperwork which they requested in order to continue flight testing of the Privateer™ aircraft. Clem Figueroa, Senior Aviation Safety Inspector, and Rick Piper, Aviation Safety Inspector, of the Orlando MIDO have visited the Privateer™ aircraft at our hangar at Melbourne (MLB) Rob and Dave are working with the FAA MIDO and will supply them with what they need for us to continue flight testing.
March 26, 2019
In preparation for water testing of Privateer™ to be held at Leesburg Airport (LEE), Rob has "singled-up" the landing gear so that we can retract the gear into the hulls.
During the first week of March, the aircraft was making a final test of gear retraction at Melbourne (MLB) when an unexpected crosswind gust made for a "hard landing". The starboard main gear collapsed, causing Privateer™ to veer off the runway, which collapsed the remaining gear. A photo is available in the gallery ("Hard Landing MLB").
It should be noted that this was the second incident of the day. A Piper Seneca had a similar experience earlier, causing it to lose both props and necessitate a tear-down of both engines as well as destroying antennae and wiping out the landing gear.
I note that Privateer™ suffered very little damage from the incident. With the exception of the landing gear, which is being remanufactured, we will have completed “road rash” repairs to Privateer™ by the end of this week. Privateer™ is a tough nugget.
I will be at Sun-N-Fun from April 2nd through April 5th or 6th, even though I cannot exhibit Privateer™. I will be part of an Aviation Network interview at Sun-N-Fun on April 5th at 12:30 P.M., and will be available to discuss partnering/joint venture in order to manufacture/market the Privateer™ Aircraft with interested parties.
December 6, 2018
Privateer™ amphibian has been moved from Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX) to Melbourne International Airport (MLB) after having achieved its first flight on August 6, 2018.
Privateer™ will remain at Melbourne while completing water landings and testing. We will use the new ramp recently installed at Leesburg International Airport, (LEE) to access the water. The ramp will allow us to first enter the water from land to ensure that water variables are satisfactory before making the initial water landing.
Rob is having new rudders and associated brackets fabricated; they should be ready shortly.
We will use fly-by-wire technology to operate the rudders, in lieu of an intricate cable/pulley lash-up.
Privateer™ has been selected as a "featured aircraft" at Sun-N-Fun, Lakeland, FL, April 2 - 7, 2019. Harvey Cleveland, test pilot, will fly every day.
October 19, 2018
Rob Lueck, President of Top Flight Services, and Harvey Cleveland, Test Pilot, have proven to be the "A-Team" in the development of the Privateer™ Amphibian.
After ten years of effort in both Seattle, WA, and Titusville, FL, Privateer™ completed its first flight on August 6, 2018.
Privateer™ is now both the safest and fastest modern amphibian.
Harvey has reported that the new amphibian has good flight characteristics and has exceeded expectations in several areas. He noted that speed/power setting indications are that we will more than meet our expected range criteria. The aircraft has also flown at slower speeds than might be expected.
The Privateer™ Amphibian now has more than twenty-three hours air time and Rob Lueck, President of Top Flight Services, has completed the initial discovery punch list.
Harvey and Rob are working together to "single up" the main landing gear and seal the floats in preparation for water landings.
On completion of the water work, we will begin to market the amphibian.