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5th of August 1973

The amphibious Trident TR-1 Trigull is the subject of today's look at aviation history. It made its first flight on this day in 1973,


The Trident TR-1 Trigull was developed by Trident Aircraft out of British Columbia, Canada. It was designed as an improved and updated Republic RC-3 Seabee.

The aircraft was of aluminium construction with the forward cabin made with fibreglass. It had a cantilever wing, retractable landing gear (a nose gear and wing-mounted main gear) and was powered by a single-engine driving a pusher propellor. Several engine types were considered offered;

  • Continental Tiara 6-285 285 hp (213 kW)

  • Continental Tiara 6-320 320 hp (239 kW)

  • Lycoming IO-540-M1A5D 300 hp (224 kW) Lycoming TIO-540-J2BD turbocharged 340 hp (254 kW)


The aircraft had some nice features, the (retractable) nose landing gear tire served as a bumper when retracted and the aircraft was being moored on water. The floats, when retracted increased the effective wing area. And the ailerons were of the drooping types (Drooping ailerons deflect down when flaps are selected down and thus increase the lift)


Three airframes were built for the test program;

1st prototype, s/n 1, (CF-TRI / C-FTRI), which first flew on this day in 1973 2nd prototype, s/n 2, (non-registered), was a static test frame.

3rd prototype, s/n 3, (C-GATE), which first flew on 2nd of July 1976

The cockpit of the 1st prototype


The aircraft was being offered in two variants.

  1. TR-1 Trigull 285 A four-seat version powered by the Continental Tiara 6-285 285 hp (213 kW) engine

  2. TR-1 Trigull 320 A six-seat version powered by the Continental Tiara 6-320 320 hp (239 kW) engine

The aircraft was issued its type certificate Transport Canada on the 28th of October 1976 and the FAA in December of that year. Production was scheduled to start in 1980, however, the company ran into financial difficulties and the company closed down in 1980 without any production aircraft being built. This with 43 confirmed orders and 23 options in its order book.


In 2006 the type certificate was obtained by Viking Air out of Sidney, BC, Canada. They published plans to fit the aircraft with a turbine engine but these plans apparently didn’t materialise. A great site with lots of info on this aircraft is www.seabee.info, a dedicated site to this amphibious aircraft.

Some specifications for the TR-1 Trigull 285

  • Crew: one

  • Capacity: three passengers

  • Length: 29 ft 4 in (8.94 m)

  • Wingspan: 41 ft 9 in (12.73 m) with tip floats up

  • Height: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) on land

  • Wing area: 245.2 sq ft (22.78 m2) with tip floats up

  • Aspect ratio: 7.11:1 with tip floats up

  • Airfoil: NACA 23015R-4 (modified)

  • Empty weight: 2,400 lb (1,089 kg)

  • Gross weight: 3,800 lb (1,724 kg)

  • Fuel capacity: 103 U.S. gallons (390 L; 86 imp gal)

  • Powerplant: 1 × Continental Tiara 6-285 six cylinder, air-cooled, four stroke aircraft engine, 285 hp (213 kW)

  • Propellers: 3-bladed Hartzell Propeller, 7 ft (2.1 m) diameter reversible pitch

  • Maximum speed: 157 mph (253 km/h, 136 kn)

  • Cruise speed: 148 mph (238 km/h, 129 kn)

  • Stall speed: 52 mph (84 km/h, 45 kn)

  • Vmo: 211 mph (340 km/h, 183 kn)

  • Range: 520 mi (840 km, 450 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 16,000 ft (4,900 m)

  • Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)

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