Tower Hobbies Seawind 1.4m PNP

Fly from almost any surface, including snow
the seawind is easy to fly
The Seawind is easy to fly. Just be aware of the effects from its highmounted engine.
the seawind is capable of performing mild aerobatics
The Seawind is capable of performing mild aerobatics.

WITH ITS HIGH-MOUNTED engine and curvy profile, the Seawind is certainly a unique-looking aircraft. I happen to find it attractive. Although the full-scale Seawind never gained much traction with buyers, this amphibious design has seen wide popularity in RC circles.

Numerous Seawind kits have been produced in various sizes, including the recent 1.4-meter wingspan variant from Tower Hobbies that is the subject of this review.

The Tower Hobbies Seawind is a molded-foam model that is sold as a PNP kit. The power system and all of the servos are factory installed. You will have to provide a three-cell, 2,200 mAh flight battery and a transmitter/receiver with at least six channels.

In addition to the standard four-channel flight controls, this Seawind has slotted flaps. It also features functional lights on each wingtip. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this model is that it has retractable tricycle landing gear and a retractable water rudder. These features make the Tower Hobbies Seawind a true amphibian that can operate off of paved runways, grass, water, snow, or any combination of these!

If you are thinking to yourself that this particular Seawind model looks familiar, you are quite astute. It is an updated version of the Seawind that was introduced in 2016 under the Flyzone brand. The changes appear to be mostly cosmetic. The Tower Hobbies model features a new color scheme with plenty of bright red paint.

both flaps are actuated by a single servo
Both flaps are actuated by a single servo in the fuselage. This system functions well, but impedes wing removal.
the seawind is a pnp
The Seawind is a PNP kit that requires only a few assembly and setup steps to be airworthy.
although it is not specifically designed
Although it is not specifically designed to fly off of snow, the Seawind does it well.

Assembling the Seawind

The Seawind goes together using only basic hand tools. The included manual does a good job of describing and illustrating each step. The fit and finish of the parts in my example are quite good.

A hinged canopy covers the radio compartment and battery mount. The canopy does not fully open, which limits access to some of the radio components. It is fine when swapping batteries while at the field. I suggest temporarily removing the canopy while assembling the model to make things easier.

With a wingspan exceeding 56 inches and a length of more than 44 inches, the Seawind is a substantial airplane. The wings are designed to be removable for storage and transport. The wing panels slide over a carbon-fiber spar and are secured into place with built-in locks that require no tools.

Each aileron has a dedicated 9-gram servo mounted in the wing. The aileron servos and wingtip lights are connected to the radio system with standard servo extensions that emerge from the wing root. Both flaps are actuated by a single 9-gram servo in the fuselage. Pushrods from each flap fasten to a single, setscrew-style EZ connector on the servo arm.

Although the flap setup functions well, it offsets the convenience of having removable wings. You have to disconnect the flap pushrods from the servo whenever you want to remove the wing panels. You then have to reconnect the pushrods when installing the wings. It is cumbersome and I suspect that most Seawind owners will choose to keep the wings installed most of the time.

A 36-gram servo buried in the fuselage controls the main landing gear retract mechanism. The nose wheel and rudder retracts are driven by a 17-gram servo in the nose. When the landing gear goes down, the water rudder comes up, and vice versa. An included module slows the speed of the retract servos to move them at a scalelike rate. It’s all very clever.

Radio Setup and Balance

I installed a Spektrum AR637T receiver in the Seawind and paired it with my trusty Spektrum iX12 transmitter. The AR637T is capable of providing AS3X and SAFE stabilization. It can also provide telemetry data to the pilot.

None of these features are required for the Seawind. In fact, I am using the AR637T as though it were a standard "dumb" receiver. If you want to enable stabilization or telemetry with your Seawind, just follow the receiver’s instructions for doing so.

the seawind works well on paved runways
The Seawind works well on paved runways, even when they are slightly icy.

With seven servos, an ESC, a light controller, and the retract speed module, there is a large number of wires to be dealt with in the radio compartment. I urge you to approach this task carefully to avert having a tangled bird’s nest of wiring. I experimented with a few different strategies for routing and bundling the wires before I was satisfied. My task was made considerably easier by the fact that all of the factory-installed wires are labeled with their functions.

I followed the manual’s recommendations for control throws. I then centered the control surfaces using subtrim on my transmitter. Nearly all of the pushrods utilize EZ connectors on at least one end. It is a good idea to verify that all of the setscrews in those EZ connectors are tight. You might even want to add a drop of threadlocker to the setscrews.

This model is propelled by a 900 Kv outrunner brushless motor. Neither the motor nor the 40-amp ESC are accessible without a little bit of prodding, but that’s okay. You should not need to get to those components unless there is a problem.

The embossed writing on the included propeller says "12 × 6." The actual diameter of the propeller is 11.5 inches. Keep this in mind in case you ever need to replace it.

My primary flight battery for the Seawind is a three-cell 2,200 mAh Spektrum Smart G2 LiPo with a 50C discharge rate. The power system pulls slightly less than 29 amps and generates more than 320 watts of power. With a flying weight just shy of 4 pounds, the Seawind has a respectable power loading of 82 watts per pound.

The manual lists the recommended center of gravity range for the Seawind in two places, but the values do not exactly match. With the flight battery installed and no additional ballast added, my Seawind balances 2-3/8 inches behind the wing’s leading edge. This falls within both ranges shown in the manual and has proven to be a good balance point for my taste.

Flying the Seawind

My initial flights of the Seawind utilized a paved runway. The model does have nosewheel steering, so taxiing is no problem. Using gradual throttle inputs, very little rudder correction is needed for wheeled takeoffs. The Seawind accelerates to flying speed quickly. Slight back pressure on the elevator will get it airborne.

I am sure that many of you also want to know what it’s like to perform a water takeoff with the Seawind. I would love to know that too, but all of my local lakes are currently frozen over! I guess that’s what happens when you write a review during winter in Wisconsin. My water takeoffs will have to wait until after the spring thaw. That’s okay because I have been having lots of fun flying the Seawind off of snow.

with some experimentation and a few zip ties
With some experimentation and a few zip ties, the wires can be neatly tucked away. Note the Spektrum AR637T receiver.
having lots of features means you also
Having lots of features means you also have lots of wires to deal with. Invest the necessary time to make this area neat.
the author added stripes to the underside
The author added stripes to the underside of the wing to improve visibility on those gray winter days. Photo by Ehren Graf.
retractable tricycle landing gear
Retractable tricycle landing gear and a retractable water rudder make the Seawind a true amphibian.

When operating off of snow, I keep the landing gear retracted. The water rudder does not seem to have much effect when taxiing off of the white stuff. The aero rudder has a mild effect here, but it does gain authority and becomes more effective as the airplane builds speed. Your best bet is to physically point the Seawind directly into the prevailing breeze before takeoff.

On anything but wet, mushy snow, the hull of the Seawind slides easily. The wing will usually level itself during the takeoff run. The airplane’s tracks in the snow will end as it takes to the sky.

I will summarize the Seawind’s flight performance up front by saying that it is an easy-to-fly model, yet challenging to master. Most sport-level pilots should have no trouble handling this airplane while having a lot of fun doing it. It responds smoothly to control inputs and is capable of basic aerobatics.

The challenges of mastering the Seawind are because of the effects of its high-mounted engine. You will find that the airplane’s pitch trim changes with throttle inputs. For instance, the nose will pitch up slightly when you throttle back on the final approach. Likewise, you will need to hold a little up-elevator when you power up for a high-speed pass.

One way to mitigate these effects is by ensuring that your throttle changes are smooth. This makes the pitch changes less drastic. Being ham-fisted with the throttle is likely to have you "chasing" the elevator as you oscillate through the sky. Jam the throttle forward to depart after a touch-and-go on the snow and you’ll see what I mean.

I became comfortable with the Seawind’s throttle-pitch coupling after a few flights. It wasn’t long before I discovered that you can also use the coupling for fun maneuvers. If you slam the throttle at the top of a vertical climb, the model will swiftly pitch over to point back toward the ground.

The Seawind has adequate power and control authority for many aerobatic moves. Loops and inverted flight are fun to do. Aileron rolls are a little slow and require a touch of elevator correction to maintain altitude.

Rudder authority is inadequate for yaw-heavy maneuvers such as Hammerheads or knife-edge flight; however, I do recommend using the rudder while cruising with the Seawind. This model looks best when making coordinated turns rather than rudderless bank-and-yank flying.

Flying in the winter often means flying in a gray sky. I was pleasantly surprised by the added visibility provided by the wingtip lights. They really pop! I applied several red stripes on the bottom of the wing to further improve in-flight orientation when flying on sunless days.

I typically set my flight timer for 6 minutes and set up for landing when it has expired. Flaps are not mandatory for landing, but they do slow down the model nicely. I prefer to hold a few clicks of throttle on final approach. All control surfaces remain effective through the touchdown. The model will flare gracefully for a gentle arrival on wheels or the hull.


The Tower Hobbies Seawind is a unique-looking airplane, with equally unique capabilities. Take it to the lake or take it to your flying field. You will have a good time either way!


Spektrum RC

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