Seaplane project in Clark gets off the ground

December 20, 2010

By Tonette Orejas

CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines—A team of 50 Filipino mechanics and engineers has started building seaplanes inside this freeport.

The amphibious aircraft is called “S-Ray 007,” said Iren Dornier, who designed the latest project of the South East Asian Airlines (Seair), the airline he chairs and co-founded with Nickos Gitsis in 1995.

“That’s a little bit of a James Bond,” he said, when asked on the famous three numbers. It is actually derived from 2007, the year Dornier first flew and landed the S-Ray prototype somewhere in the Philippines. The first five units were produced in Europe.

The Philippines, he said, is the “right environment for such an airplane,” he said, noting that the country, although with 7,100 islands, has no seaplanes at all.

He said the S-Ray 007 was designed for government, civilian, border patrol, search-and-rescue missions.

This aircraft is a “modern and bigger version” of Libelle, a flying boat that his grandfather, Claude Dornier, flew in 1921, Dornier said.

The basic version of S-Ray 007 costs $300,000. The Clark manufacturing facility targets to make 300 units. The seaplane, which weighs 825 kilograms, can carry two persons. Its wing span is 9 meters.

Among the features include a hydraulic-driven tricycle landing gear that “can be lowered inside the water to move up or down a ramp.”

“I got a few orders. The acceptance is quite high,” Dornier told the Inquirer.

To set up the manufacturing plant here, Dornier first sent to Germany at least 10 Filipinos who worked with the Clark-based Seair in the last 15 years.

In 2004, Dornier held a World Tour using the same Dornier-24 that his grandfather flew in 1944 and which had saved over 11,000 people during World War II.

The eight-month tour, done through the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), aimed to motivate the youth to follow their dreams. It raised $61,000 for Filipino children.

Dornier’s grandfather had built several flying boats such as the Rs I in 1915, Wal in 1922, Do X in 1929, Do.24 V/K in 1938, Do 26 in 1938 and Do 18 E in 1935. The elder Dornier also built the light fighter bomber and trainer Alpha Jet in 1973.


  1. This is a great way to push our aviation industry in pursuing seaplane operations here in the Philippines. Hopefully soon, seaplane operations will be active here and I'm surely going to fly in one!

  2. In our "Jetwings educational & Charitable trust" We have proposal to operate seaplane based in Karaikal- Puducherry, India., We need proper guidance and support if anybody interested please send a email to,