How do you start designing a seaplane? Explanation: Machines of motion have always been a fascination for SeaMax America Founder and President Richard Rofé. Cars, boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV's, jet skis, and now airplanes.
The busy young entrepreneur started his first business at age 15: Rofé always found a way to make some time to acquire the training and licenses necessary to enjoy his "toys". However, the time and focus required to obtain his pilot's license remained elusive, due to school, work and later family. It was almost 30 years later, after a successful career founding and selling startup companies in a diverse variety of industries, that Rofé found the time to begin taking regularly scheduled flying lessons. It was in 2006, after an introductory flight in a 2-seat ultralight in Key Biscayne, Florida, that Rofé learned of the Light Sport Aircraft classification and its new relaxed approach to pilot certification.
Focusing on a seaplane
The entrepreneur spent the next year taking flying lessons at Mid Island Air Service in New York, and immediately began looking for a plane to purchase. His search criteria for an aircraft included one that was easy to fly, economical, stylish and safe, with the unique ability to take off and land on almost any surface. Rofé's 18 months of research turned up the Icon A5, the Mermaid, the Akoya and the SeaRey. According to Rofe, Icon's A5 was and continues to be in prototype stages.
Found the airplane design in Brazil
Rofe explains that the Mermaid and Akoya were also prototypes, and the SeaRey was an experimental, home-built aircraft. With unyielding tenacity to find and acquire a plane with his desired characteristics (i.e., LSA, amphibious, certified, economical, safe, and actually available for delivery), his quest continued. After almost giving up, Rofé tracked down the owner of AirMax Construcoes Aeronautica in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and was amazed at what he found.
North American Distributor for Airmax
The Airmax was the manufacturer of the world's first FAA approved amphibious, flying boat S-LSA. Not only was AirMax prepared to sell and deliver an M-22 to Rofé, but they would personally travel to New York and train him in it as well. Two months later, in October, 2011 as he was enjoying the sunset from the cockpit of his M-22 over the Long Island coast, he decided to change his career once again. After years of learning about LSA and GA flying, Rofé decided to sell his company and acquire the importation and distribution rights to North America from Airmax.
Providing sales, service and training
As the new aviation businessman explains, AirMax Construcoes Aeronautica, Ltda and SeaMax America, LLC are leading the charge in Amphibious Sport Flying in North America and abroad. The two companies are focused on providing sales, service and training for the M-22, while also developing new advanced designs for future introduction.