Seaplanes and flying boats

There are planes capable of landing on water. If we want something to float on the water it must be constructed to float – simple logic. This can be achieved by constructing a boat-shaped floating airplane airframe or by adding floats. The most recognizable seaplane look is probably a plane with two “bananas” (pontoons/floats)

Most of these flying boats have retractable landing gear in the hull or in the pontoons, so they can land both on water and on land. It’s a big problem when someone forgets to hide wheeled gear into the floats and approach to landing on water. The plane then nose-dives into ground and under water.

Seaplanes are often used in places where there are many lakes and where to build standard airport is hardly possible due to the type of terrain. A lot of seaplanes flies in Alaska. Take-offs and landings on water are generally considered to be more difficult than on land. You should also note that these two large floats greatly increase air resistance which has a negative impact on the speed and range of the airplane with floats versus the same airplane without them.

There are also helicopters capable of landing on water. We can float a helicopter by using special construction of the entire helicopter fuselage in the shape of a boat or by additional compressed air inflatable rubber floats attached to the skids. Some helicopters flying over water also have the emergency floats (special floats jackets) which are hidden during the flight and that can be rapid inflated in case of an emergency landing on the water, but that is another topic.

Floats can also help in landing in the snow, because they increases the contact area with the ground.

Seaplane can easier land in powder type of snow than aircraft equipped with a wheel landing gear which will collapse immediately and cause the airplane to nose-dive after touchdown.

When landing on the snow we use special snow skids.