Captain Todd Lang received his Seamax, SN 158, Exclusive Dual, with Folding Wings, Rotax 912iS engine, and IFR capabilities this week at DeLand Municipal Airport.
We asked him to share WHY he chose the SEAMAX, and WHY an IFR. Read the story below.
Lieutenant Colonel Todd Lang is a combat veteran fighter pilot with 40 years of aviation experience. He has logged more than 11,000 flight hours including combat time over Iraq during Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch. He is a CFI, CFII, MEI, and has been an instructor pilot in the F-16, OV-10, T-38, and the Boeing-727. Currently, he is an international Boeing-767 Captain for Delta Air Lines.
He entered the Air Force in 1984 after earning an aviation management bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University where he was the Corps Commander of the Air Force ROTC Program. Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Lang also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He was the Overall Top Gun of the 8th Fighter Wing, the 35th Fighter Squadron and the 309th Fighter Squadron. He was a finalist for the USAF Thunderbirds and accompanied the team on the “Thunder over the Pacific” tour.
His combat-mission ready F-16 assignments included Homestead Air Force Base, Florida; Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea; Luke AFB, Arizona; and Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma. He served as an OV-10 Forward Air Controller (Airborne) at Osan AB, Republic of Korea, and Wheeler AFB, Hawaii. During this time he also served as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (previously known as a Ground Forward Attack Controller) and Battalion Air Liaison Officer at Camp Red Cloud, Republic of Korea; Camp Casey, Republic of Korea and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster and the Aerial Achievement Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster. He retired from the Air Force as the commander of Detachment 1, 138th Operations Group at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In this position, he was the senior U.S. Air Force Representative at Fort Sill leading the cooperative efforts of Air Force Integration training to the U.S. Army’s Fires Center. He was awarded the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara Medal for his leadership at Fort Sill and won the Golden Quill Award for the article “JFO Sustainment: A Critical Requirement” published in the Fires Journal, Joint Fires Today and Maneuver Support Magazine.
SEAMAX - Captain Todd, why did you choose to buy the SEAMAX M-22?
Todd - I have been flying for 40 years and I’ve always wanted to own my own airplane. Over the years I have looked at a lot of airplanes, but I never reached a motivation level to actually write a check. The older airplanes and flying from A to B just never inspired me and with a family of four, I was always looking at four-seaters. I had a paradigm shift when I saw a light sport seaplane with nice new avionics. With adult children, I really don’t need four seats anymore. In fact, some one-on-one time with my family members sounds nice.
There are several very nice amphibious airplanes available in the US market. But for me, the SEAMAX stood out. It has a clean, polished look and it is very lightweight depending on the options you choose--the useful load is very good. The SEAMAX team was also more accepting of customization requests—for me IFR (my daughter wants to get her IFR rating and I’m a CFII). We also wanted the folding wing option and that eliminated the Super Petrel. The Searey’s folding wing is a bit cumbersome. The SEAMAX folding wings are really nice, I would say second only to the Icon but the Icon was never a consideration for me because of the price, useful load and its infamous purchase agreement.
We plan to do most of our operations on freshwater lakes but occasionally take a trip to the Bahamas or the Keys and the SEAMAX seems like it would stand up to the saltwater a little better with very few metal parts exposed. I’m embracing the whole “low and slow” concept. Going to the lake is a blast. But as a history fan, I’m thinking about following Lewis and Clark’s trail, or the Oregon trail. I like ancestry so, I may go find some more of my ancestors graves or follow some of their Oklahoma land run routes. There are so many things I’m looking forward to doing. It may have taken me 40 years but I think I have found my dream plane—the SEAMAX!
SEAMAX - Why did you ask for an IFR version?
Todd - I know the LSA concept is to lower the entry requirements for new pilots—day, VFR only makes this possible. But as these pilots gain experience, don’t we want them to keep learning? In my case, I’m a CFII and my daughter has her private pilot’s license. She would like to have an instrument rating, but she doesn’t want to go rent an airplane if we are going to purchase an airplane. When I made the decision to purchase the SEAMAX, I probably would not have spent the money strictly for water fun.
With the IFR option, we can go to the lake and have fun then shoot an approach when we come back. Have fun and grow as a pilot—not only learning seaplane skills but instrument skills also. Garmin’s G3X is becoming really popular and it’s really not that much more to add an external navigator like the GPS-175.