My first post to this great forum. I am a sport pilot student of, shall we say, a certain age (OK, late 40's). I've been traveling 1 and 1/2 hours each way to do my primary training in a J3 Cub. I've always been interested in seaplane flying, and thought the tailwheel training would serve me well, not only as a land based pilot, but also in transitioning to seaplanes.
The travel, along with the issues with scheduling and weather, have made my progress slow and frustrating. I have about 23 hours since Spring of 2014 and have progressed through my dual cross-country, so getting close. I have 'only' my solo cross country, some focused cross-wind and hard surface runway work, and some polishing hours to go to prep for the checkride. But, as they say in the building world, '90% done, 90% to go'. This has led me to seriously consider purchasing my own airplane so that I can either train closer to home, get an endorsement to fly back and forth to my instructor, or to just use the transition training during the purchase process to complete my training at the same time.
Long story short, my focus has come down to a number of airplanes, but most serious of those, is the SuperPetrel LS. That is from a number of perspectives--side by side seating vs. tandem, true amphib vs. floats (I don't want to start any arguments over which is 'better'--just seems to offer some level of margin for a newbie like me), combination of good cruise as well as slow stall, availability of BRS (again, please no arguments about whether BRS is really just bunch of 'B_S'). Other airplanes high on the list--CubCrafters (either the SS or the Sport (they should really replace those 's's' with dollar signs!)), Kitfox S-LSA, the Icon (talk about $$$$$!), and the RANS Raven S20 (if they would ever come around to getting the S-LSA out the door).
Looking for any and all knowledge, opinions and experience with the above, especially the SuperPetrel. Keeping in mind my own background and experience. To me, the Icon, aside from being out of reach money-wise, is a little hard to quantify, and not sure why they continue to withhold specs even though they have moved to production. Also, the hipster attitude in dealing with them is a bit much for someone of my age. The CubCrafters is really impressive, but the tandem seating is a downside for me, especially after doing my dual cross-country in the Cub--it was nearly impossible to keep things organized in there, especially with any airflow going through the cabin (ie, window open). The Kitfox and Raven really look attractive, but wonder if they are 'too much' airplane for me--they really have a lot of get up and go, and although I haven't flown them (yet), they sound as though 'docile' is not really their forte--more like aggressive and "high performance". That's great for someone looking for a true bush plane, I am more attracted to the margins--they are built tough, have available tundra tires, etc.--kind of like driving an SUV but rarely if ever doing any true off-road driving.
Since the Cub just isn't the long-term airplane for me, not something I want to purchase to finish my training in, though it could be an option. The bigger picture is that there are no LSA's in my area to rent when I'm done with my training, so getting something of my own that I could fly longer term, is attractive.
Thanks and looking forward to the discussion!