Spencer & Dent Trident

spenc-trident


P. H. Spencer and Bob Dent decided the world needs is a new and better Seabee, so they dreamed up the Trident. That was back in the 1960s. Spencer and Dent started their work, in Los Angeles, with only $125,000 which soon ran out. Hazelwood bought the project, took it to Vancouver where the idea for it had been born. He has been at it for six years. After a brief romance with the Canadian Federal Government, which loaned Hazelwood's company money through the prototype stages, the project by 1976 had moved under the wing of Canadian Aircraft Products, a manufacturer of aircraft floats and subassemblies in Vancouver. That company's president, D. C. Cameron, says that the airplane is "on the back burner, and we're not doing too well in our attempts to find a backer for production." Cameron says certification of the initial prototype is within a few percent of completion. The airplane has flown about 275 hours and needs to fly another 40 or so. A second conformity prototype is 75-percent complete, he says, and will have to fly off its own approval program un-der the regulations of Canada's Ministry of Transport.

Hazelwood is an indefatigible supporter of the airplane, and although each year seems to bring only the minimally sustaining increments for progress toward his goal of a full production airplane, his enthusiasm is unflagging or at least he must be very good at hiding any discouragement he may feel. All specs are being met or exceeded, and the abandonment of the Tiara 320 engine at the insistence of the government backers in favor of the certificated 285 (the 320 wasn't certificated) has resulted in little loss of performance. He is delighted with the progress of the certification flights, he says. The production prototype is coming nicely, with engineering changes incorporated to cut the number of parts in half, eliminate many machined parts, use fiberglass instead of aluminum for the cabin enclosure (which is nonstructural) and add some beading in the skin. "Technically and physically, the airplane is just great. What we need is 'trigger' money to kick us off; we have plenty of follow-on funds once we get past. . . . There is little chance of finding that kind of funding in the commercial loan market in Canada; they are mostly keyed to mortgages and are no help at all. It will take government help, and we feel we're entitled to part of the support that's being given the airframe industries right now."