General Information
Type Be-103
Role Multi-role amphibian
First Flight 1997
Production 2002
Crew 1
Production powerplant (2)
Type "Teledyne Continental" TCM IO-360ES4
Power 210hp
Production powerplant (2)
Type VAZ-4326
Power ?hp
Prototype powerplant (2)
Type M-17
Power 175hp
Size (m)
Length 10.65m
Height 3.72m
Wingspan 12.72m
Tailspan 3.90m
Wing area 25.1m2
Weights (kg) and loads
Empty 1760kg
Max. Takeoff 2270kg
Max. Landing 2270kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 81.7
Power load (kg/hp) 4.88
Speed (km/h)
Maximum 250km/h
Cruise 220km/h
Takeoff (land) 134km/h
Takeoff (water) 144km/h
Landing 130km/h
Stall 109km/h
Takeoff (m) H=0, MCA
Land 300
Water 555
Landing (m) H=0, MCA
Land 450
Water 315
Range (km)
Ferry 1280km
With 5 passengers 590km
Ceiling (m)
Operational 500 to 3000
One engine 1000
at 0m, 2 engines 5.2m/sec
at 0m, 1 engine 1.09m/sec
3000m 11min
Fuel (normal) 149kg
Fuel (Max.) ~300kg
Fuel + Load 510kg
Cabin size LxWxH 3.65x1.25x1.23 m3
Seats and Load
5 passengers (no cargo)
400kg in cabin + 2 passengers
1 stretcher, 2 seated and 1 med. personnel
patrol group of 3
Sea worthiness 0.5m
Airframe resource 15,000h
Price 600,000 to 700,000 USD
Service cost $150/h
Fuel consumption
Cruise 44kg/h
Max.Speed 58kg/h
Takeoff 90kg/h

Be-103, Beriev KB

80k photo from Roy Cochrun's Archive;

The amphibious Be-103 is intended for autonomous operation in the unmarked areas of Russia's Far North or Siberia, where it may be most useful. Be-103 was designed in conformity with AP-23 and FAR-23 standards for short-haul routes in regions that have rivers, lakes, streams and are otherwise unaccessible.

Possible tasks for the aircraft:

  • Passengers transportations;
  • Administrative and liaison duties;
  • Small cargos of freight and mail delivery;
  • Urgent medical aid;
  • Prompt ecological monitoring of water areas;
  • SAR operations on water;
  • Patrol missions over woodlands, sea borders and economic zones;
  • Aerial photography
  • Agricultural jobs
  • Training duties with second set of controls installed;
  • Drug smuggling (oh, this got here by mistake...);
  • The Be-103 is a low-wing monoplane, with water-displacing wings fitted with wing extensions. It features an all-moving slab tail and tricycle landing gear with nose undercarriage unit. Its hallmarks are the water-displacing wing with three aquaplaning implements (planing step, starboard and port wing trailing edges) which substantially enhance the aircraft on-the-water stability and seaworthiness. Takeoff and landing may be performed on lower speed due to wing-in-ground effect of the low wing.

    Engines are well protected from water during taxi by the wing. Engine start may be performed from the on-board accumulators (3 attempts) or from the ground service outlet.

    Intended for daytime operation, Be-103 has provision of blind flight equipment and night operations. De-icing equipment is optional. Cabin interior may be easily reconfigured from comfortable passenger compartment to 2x0.7m2 cargo bay. Navigation and flight control system may be ether Russia-made or imported or mixed, following customer's demand. Large doors provide easy access for crew and passengers. Safety features - life jackets with appropriate light, smoke and sound devices.

    First 20min flight was performed on July 15, 1997 with Vladimir Uliyanov on controls. Total flight time accumulated by the first Be-103 was over 14 hours.

    First public appearance was planned for MAKS-97 airshow. Just before the show (August 18) it was crashed on the Zhukovsky airfield during familiarization flights. 35 years old Vladimir Uliyanov was killed in the accident.

    40k The second Be-103 in flight; Courtesy of Andrew I. Salnikov.

    The second Be-103 was flown on September 24, 1998 at Taganrog Bay, the G.M.Beriev Taganrog Aviation Scientific Engineering Complex test grounds (or test waters?). First water-water flight (pilot V.P.Doubenskij) lasted 12min, no abnormalities revealed. Third Be-103 was at the time under construction at Komsomolsk-Na-Amure. During trials, nose section was redesigned and the central wing section was equipped with fixed slats.

    Cheaper single-engined passenger variant with Voronezh OKBM built 360hp M-14 engine on the vertical pylon is considered. Development of this aircraft (SA-20P) was launched in the started in 2001 at KnAAPO.

    Estimations for domestic and international market demands (until 2015) are estimated as 520 and 250-330 units, respectively. Originally powered with domestic M-17 engines. But at the bottom of the Russian economic crisis was re-engined with "Teledyne Continental" TCM IO-360ES4. Growing interest to the aircraft on the domestic market and appearance of acceptable domestic light engines (VAZ-Lada) may inspire designers to build a cheaper version with Russian engines.

    Certification program (near 300 flights) was fulfilled in January 2002. According to Izvestia (via, intentions to buy Be-103 were expressed by few American, French, Greek and Israeli carriers. Aircraft will be manufactured in Russia (KnAAPO), but in case of large demand production may be organised abroad as well. One of the obstacles at Russian market - luck of legal regulations for private aircraft in Be-103 class.

    96k Be-103 at the MAKS-2001 airshow.

    At the MAKS-2001 airshow Be-103 was presented with weather radar in the nose radome.

    Some sources openly criticize Be-103 as a "not entirely successful". All problems of the project are blamed on the wrong purpose: keeping designers and manufacturers busy instead of creating effective, reliable and affordable aircraft. Well, well... time will show. So far, such a criticism (both founded and unfounded) is not new in the high-tech world. Not only in aviation, not only in Russia.

    More practical criticism of the design:

    Picture used for the background

  • Article at Military Parade Magazine
  • G.M.Beriev Taganrog Aviation Scientific Engineering Complex Press-Release N°8, April 24, 1998.
  • Links
  • Light amphibian Be-103 (Most detailed info, Russian)
  • Instrument panel photos;
  • Article at Military Parade Magazine
  • Another Article at Military Parade Magazine
  • KnAAPO stared series production of the Be-103
  • On the edge between sky and sea
  • AON article
  • Be-103
  • Another Article at Military Parade Magazine
  • Article from Business World;

  • Created August 20, 1998
    with help of Sergei Mochtchenkov
    Updated on February 11, 2002
    Back to
    Main Gate