It’s all about family and a passion for aviation
TAKING THE SEABEE FROM CERTIFIED TO AMATEUR-BUILT
When Brian Robinson faced an expensive engine overhaul to his 1946 Republic Seabee, his engineering talents and creativity led him to explore alternative options. Tired of 1930s technology with poor fuel efficiency and reliability, he devised a plan to develop a new power plant for his aircraft, moving it into Transport Canada’s flexible Amateur-Built category.
Extensive research led to selection of the famous V8 GM Corvette LS-series engine. This automobile engine offered the advantage of modern systems such as air conditioning, exceptional power-to-weight ratio, and high reliability. To this configuration he added a custom gear reduction drive alongside many additional safety features such as dual fuel pumps, dual batteries to meet aviation needs. Engine power was increased from 215 HP to over 450 HP with significantly improved fuel efficiency, reliability, and safety.
THE EXPERIMENTAL SEABEE TO THE X3
As popular as the V8 Seabee engine conversion was, Brian fostered a deep-seated idea that had taken root long before the V8 Seabee ever flew. Simply, he wanted to build a new Seabee. Not a replica of the 1946 design; Brian wanted to design a new all-season amphibious aircraft with advanced safety systems that would be the modern reflection of an aircraft that many had grown to love.
It wasn’t long before Brian had convinced a visionary financier to join him in the quest to design a modern amphibious aircraft. Design efforts soon began in earnest. Fortunately Brian had a ready-made experimental aircraft on which to test many of advanced systems that would be used on the new design. And so began the formal developmental work on the X3 prototype design on the Seabee, a fitting way to begin at the beginning.
THE X3 AS THE FUTURE OF AVIATION
As the X3 prototype design took place, there was always room for more. A beautiful design, elegant in its simplicity but ultimately falling short of its incredible potential. When fortune led the Horizon Aircraft team to explore the engineering behind hybrid electric power systems, something clicked. Initial investigation revealed that the X3 was perfectly suited for hybrid power with ample room in its hull for batteries and a spacious cabin that could be modified to accommodate slightly more complex systems.
Everything seemed to fall into alignment. Aside from the perfect engineering fit, the steady increase in noise and hydrocarbon pollution regulations around the globe are calling for such designs. More practical than immature full electric designs that are confined to optimal conditions, short flights, and single passenger loads, the X3 will offer the performance of modern aircraft with dramatically reduced noise, 50% less hydrocarbon emissions, and 50% less fuel consumption.
Almost a Century of Experience Building Aircraft. 25,000+ Hours of Flying Time. Integrated Within Industry.
E. Brandon Robinson, B.Eng, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Long before Brandon became a CF-18 fighter pilot and a Canadian Fighter Weapons Instructor, he always had a passion for aviation. Lucky enough to have had the opportunity to fly the family’s 1946 Republic Seabee from a very young age, aviation is in his DNA. He graduated with honours in mechanical engineering from Royal Military College and went on the fly the CF-18. After eight straight years of flying and achieving the highest tactical proficiency level possible, Brandon went to work in Ottawa where he was eventually placed as Acting Director of Air Requirements 5, overseeing the direction of major capital projects for the fighter force.
Brandon is also a graduate from the Joint Command and Staff Program that trains the future leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces and holds an MBA degree from Royal Roads University. With an extensive aviation network built through a lifetime of flying everything from Seabees to CF-18s, Brandon is well positioned to lead the Horizon Aircraft team as their CEO.
E. Brian Robinson, B.Eng
Founder, Chief Technical Officer
Brian grew up with aviation in his blood. He started flying when he was fourteen years old and started building his first airplane when he was only eighteen. Brian received his private pilot’s license through the Air Cadet program and has amassed 3500 hours since, with most of the flying time in his famous v8 powered Republic Seabee.
Adept with mechanical systems at an early age, Brian received his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Waterloo and is accredited as a professional engineer. Brian’s engineering career began with Baxter Travenol, maintaining and designing complex custom equipment for the production of intravenous solutions. He later joined Ethicon, the division of Johnson and Johnson that produced medical instruments, where he eventually was promoted to plant manager. Throughout his tenure as plant manager at Johnson and Johnson, his production facility received many cost reduction and quality awards, with Brian personally receiving leadership and manufacturing awards.
With unparalleled technical skill, and experience building aircraft for almost 50 years Brian is perfectly positioned to lead the technical team at Horizon Aircraft.
Director Composite Design
With over 35 years in experience in Composite construction and amphibious aircraft design, Kirk has personally led all phases of aircraft design, construction, testing, and production. Kirk first designed and built the iconic Seawind amphibious aircraft after which he moved on to the Aerocat which is now in full production. Kirk also regularly consults on composite design for the geophysical survey industry in high speed flight dynamics of towed structures as well as slung loads for helicopter operations. Kirk is very well versed in CFD flow analysis and has published paper exploring the dynamics of ice particle shattering on flight measurement probes. Recent consulting projects have included companies such as Environment Canada, Found Aircraft Canada, and NASA.
With a lifetime of experience in all stages of aircraft design, production, and testing, as well as leading edge composite expertise, the Horizon Aircraft team is very fortunate to call Kirk a member as we move forward into production of the X3.
Chief Communications Officer
Mike grew up in Oakville, Ontario and studied mechanical engineering at Ryerson University. His love for aviation soon saw him working for several northern operators and eventually working with Austin Airways, where he enjoyed flying a vast multitude of different aircraft. Mike then decided to join Canadian Pacific Airlines where he flew for 31 years, progressing from flight engineer to Captain on many types, including the DC-8, DC-10, Boeing 737, and Boeing 767. He eventually finished his career with Air Canada and has accumulated over 20,000 flying hours.
Mike also has extensive experience building many aircraft, including a V6-powered Seawind 300C as well as a V8-powered Seabee. Mike’s extensive network, technical skill in aircraft construction, and outstanding enthusiasm position him perfectly to lead the Communication of exciting Horizon Aircraft team progress.
Stewart Lee, MBA
Chief Human Resource Officer
The son of a Fighter Pilot, Stewart has lived in numerous cities worldwide affording him a unique perspective on people and culture. Following a six year engagement in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Logistics Officer were his talents afforded him many prestigious executive assistant roles, he pursued his interest in Operations and Human Resources in the private sector where he eventually reached the position of National HR manager for a large Canadian manufacturing company.
Stewart has a passion for business and earned his MBA from Royal Roads University alongside Brandon where he further developed his extensive network and was inspired by the Horizon Aircraft X3 idea. With over 15 years experience, he currently holds the position of Chief Human Resources Officer where he is positioning Horizon Aircraft for the rapid growth ahead.
Marc Hiemstra, B.Sc.
Founder, Board Member
Marc has been privileged to have traveled the world while working as an educator, artist and humanitarian. This has taken him to many various locations around the world, including Nigeria and Sierra Leone where his philanthropic spirit thrived.
Throughout his travels, he has always had a passion for aviation that began with a simple introductory flight lesson in 1975 while a student at Western Michigan University. His passion and vision inspired him to become involved in supporting high potential aviation companies and was an early backer of ICON Aircraft, helping them achieve their initial financing goals. Marc is also the president and founder of Trillium Aviation, a company pursuing diverse aviation interests, such as infrastructure construction and investment.
In early 2009 Marc met Brian Robinson at the Lindsay Airport and the two of them began discussing the concept of designing a Seabee for the modern era. Brian’s vision for a new high performance amphibious aircraft was contagious. Marc’s official backing was instrumental in igniting the Horizon Aircraft vision and he continues to support the project as it moves forward to make aviation history.
With over $2M already invested, the Horizon Aircraft team is on track to finish its working prototype within 2 years. Join our Series A round and be a part of a team that is creating a better future.