Seaplane
Overview
 
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

 capable of taking off
Takeoff
Takeoff is the phase of flight in which an aerospace vehicle goes from the ground to flying in the air.For horizontal takeoff aircraft this usually involves starting with a transition from moving along the ground on a runway. For balloons, helicopters and some specialized fixed-wing aircraft , no...

 and landing
Water landing
A water landing is, in the broadest sense, any landing on a body of water. All waterfowl, those seabirds capable of flight, and some human-built vehicles are capable of landing in water as a matter of course....

 (alighting) on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft. Seaplanes and amphibians are usually divided into two categories based on their technological characteristics: floatplane
Floatplane
A floatplane is a type of seaplane, with slender pontoons mounted under the fuselage; only the floats of a floatplane normally come into contact with water, with the fuselage remaining above water...

s and flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

s; the latter are generally far larger and can carry far more. These aircraft were sometimes called hydroplanes.
The word "seaplane" is used to describe two types of air/water vehicles: the floatplane and the flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

.
  • A floatplane
    Floatplane
    A floatplane is a type of seaplane, with slender pontoons mounted under the fuselage; only the floats of a floatplane normally come into contact with water, with the fuselage remaining above water...

     has slender pontoons, or floats, mounted under the fuselage
    Fuselage
    The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

    .
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

 capable of taking off
Takeoff
Takeoff is the phase of flight in which an aerospace vehicle goes from the ground to flying in the air.For horizontal takeoff aircraft this usually involves starting with a transition from moving along the ground on a runway. For balloons, helicopters and some specialized fixed-wing aircraft , no...

 and landing
Water landing
A water landing is, in the broadest sense, any landing on a body of water. All waterfowl, those seabirds capable of flight, and some human-built vehicles are capable of landing in water as a matter of course....

 (alighting) on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft. Seaplanes and amphibians are usually divided into two categories based on their technological characteristics: floatplane
Floatplane
A floatplane is a type of seaplane, with slender pontoons mounted under the fuselage; only the floats of a floatplane normally come into contact with water, with the fuselage remaining above water...

s and flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

s; the latter are generally far larger and can carry far more. These aircraft were sometimes called hydroplanes.

Types

The word "seaplane" is used to describe two types of air/water vehicles: the floatplane and the flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

.
  • A floatplane
    Floatplane
    A floatplane is a type of seaplane, with slender pontoons mounted under the fuselage; only the floats of a floatplane normally come into contact with water, with the fuselage remaining above water...

     has slender pontoons, or floats, mounted under the fuselage
    Fuselage
    The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

    . Two floats are common, but other configurations are possible. Only the floats of a floatplane normally come into contact with water. The fuselage remains above water. Some small land aircraft can be modified to become float planes, and in general floatplanes are small aircraft. Floatplanes are limited by their inability to handle wave heights typically greater than 12 inches (0.31 m). These floats add to the empty weight of the airplane, and to the drag coefficient
    Drag coefficient
    In fluid dynamics, the drag coefficient is a dimensionless quantity that is used to quantify the drag or resistance of an object in a fluid environment such as air or water. It is used in the drag equation, where a lower drag coefficient indicates the object will have less aerodynamic or...

    , resulting in reduced payload capacity, slower rate-of-climb, and slower cruise speed.

  • In a flying boat
    Flying boat
    A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

    , the main source of buoyancy
    Buoyancy
    In physics, buoyancy is a force exerted by a fluid that opposes an object's weight. In a column of fluid, pressure increases with depth as a result of the weight of the overlying fluid. Thus a column of fluid, or an object submerged in the fluid, experiences greater pressure at the bottom of the...

     is the fuselage, which acts like a ship's hull
    Hull (watercraft)
    A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. Above the hull is the superstructure and/or deckhouse, where present. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.The structure of the hull varies depending on the vessel type...

     in the water. Most flying boats have small floats mounted on their wings to keep them stable. Not all small seaplanes have been floatplanes, but most large seaplanes have been flying boats, their great weight supported by their hulls
    Hull (watercraft)
    A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. Above the hull is the superstructure and/or deckhouse, where present. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.The structure of the hull varies depending on the vessel type...

    .


The term "seaplane" is used by some instead of "floatplane". This is the standard British usage. This article treats both flying boats and floatplanes as types of seaplane, in the US fashion.

An amphibious aircraft
Amphibious aircraft
An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an aircraft that can take off and land on either land or water. Fixed-wing amphibious aircraft are seaplanes that are equipped with retractable wheels, at the expense of extra weight and complexity, plus diminished range and fuel economy compared to planes...

 can take off and land both on conventional runways and water. A true seaplane can only take off and land on water. There are amphibious flying boats and amphibious floatplanes, as well as some hybrid designs, e.g., floatplanes with retractable floats. Modern production seaplanes are typically light aircraft
Light aircraft
A light aircraft is an aircraft that has a maximum gross take-off weight of or less.Many aircraft used commercially for freight, sightseeing, photography and scheduled flights are light aircraft.Examples of light aircraft include:...

, amphibious, and of a floatplane design.

History

The first manned and controlled (though unpowered) hydroplane flight was established by French aircraft designer, builder and pilot Gabriel Voisin
Gabriel Voisin
Gabriel Voisin was an aviation pioneer and the creator of Europe's first manned, engine-powered, heavier-than-air aircraft capable of a sustained , circular, controlled flight, including take-off and landing. It was flown by Henry Farman on January 13, 1908 near Paris, France...

 in June 1905, on the river Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

; it was a towed flight, at 15 to 20 m altitude (50 to 66 ft), and 600 meters (2000 ft) long. The aircraft was a biplane
Biplane
A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two superimposed main wings. The Wright brothers' Wright Flyer used a biplane design, as did most aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage, it produces more drag than a similar monoplane wing...

 with an aft tail and a front elevator, supported at rest by 2 planing floats (catamaran).

The first autonomous flight by a hydroplane was made by the French engineer Henri Fabre
Henri Fabre
Henri Fabre was a French aviator and the inventor of Le Canard, the first seaplane in history.Henri Fabre was born into a prominent family of shipowners in the city of Marseilles. He was educated in the Jesuit College of Marseilles, where he undertook advanced studies in sciences. He then studied...

 on March 28, 1910. Also a floatplane, its name was Le Canard
Le Canard
|-See also:-References:* The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft , 1985, Orbis Publishing-External links:*...

('the duck'), and took off from the water to fly 1,650 feet on its first flight. These experiments were closely followed by Gabriel and Charles Voisin, who purchased several of the Fabre floats and fitted them to their Canard Voisin
Canard Voisin
The Voison Canard was an aircraft developed by Voisin brothers in 1910, named Canard after its duck-like shape. It was a successful land-based aircraft, that with the addition of floats became one of the first seaplanes of the French Navy....

 which flew in October 1910. In March 1912, it was used in military exercises from the first seaplane carrier, La Foudre
La Foudre
The Foudre was a French seaplane carrier, the first in history. Her development followed the invention of the seaplane in 1910 with the French Le Canard.-Torpedo boat tender:...

.

In the United States, early development was carried out at Hammondsport
Hammondsport, New York
Hammondsport is a village in Steuben County, New York, United States. The population was 731 at the 2000 census. The village is named after its founding father.The Village of Hammondsport is in the Town of Urbana and is northeast of Bath, New York....

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 by Glenn Curtiss
Glenn Curtiss
Glenn Hammond Curtiss was an American aviation pioneer and a founder of the U.S. aircraft industry. He began his career as a bicycle then motorcycle builder and racer, later also manufacturing engines for airships as early as 1906...

 who had beaten Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell was an eminent scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone....

 and others in the Aerial Experiment Association
Aerial Experiment Association
The Aerial Experiment Association was a Canadian aeronautical research group formed on 30 September 1907, under the tutelage of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell...

. The first American seaplane flight occurred on January 26, 1911 by Curtiss in his "hydroaeroplane" from the waters of San Diego Bay.

In June 1911, in co-operation with Edouard Perrot (Edouard Perrot & Cie), Emile Taddéoli
Emile Taddéoli
Emile Taddéoli was a Swiss aviation pioneer. He was active as a pilot, instructor, test pilot, and also the probably most prominent pioneer using seaplanes in Switzerland...

 started to design the seaplane "La Mouette" in Switzerland, and before, began tests with a Dufaux 4
Dufaux 4
-References:* *...

 biplane equipped with swimmers. On March 26, 1912, a first takeoff was not successful, and "La Mouette" was destroyed. In summer 1912, René Grandjean
René Grandjean
René Grandjean was a Swiss aviation pioneer. He designed and built the aircraft that was flown by Ernest Failloubaz for the first flight in Switzerland of an aircraft built and flown by Swiss citizen, was probably the first glacier pilot and was pioneering on seaplanes.- Life :In 1890 Grandjean's...

 replaced the skis of his aircraft by floats designed and engineered by himself, resulting in the first takeoff of a Swiss hydroplane (seaplane) on August 4, 1912.

Origins of Maritime Aviation in Britain - It is widely recognised that Orville Wright made the world’s first successful powered flight on 17 December 1903, though the first powered flight in Britain was not made until 1908. At an aviation meeting in Blackpool in 1909, two Westmorland-based men, Captain Edward Wakefield and Oscar Gnosspelius, discussed the feasibility of flight from water, as it was soon recognised that operating aircraft from water had the advantage of rendering accidents more survivable. They decided to make use of Windermere, England’s largest lake. Gnosspelius designed his own aircraft and persuaded Windermere boat-builder Arthur Borwick to build it for him. His first attempts to fly attracted large crowds, though the aircraft failed to take off and required a re-design of the floats incorporating features of Borwick’s successful speed-boat hulls. Meanwhile, Wakefield built a hanger on his land at Hill of Oaks on Windermere and, following the world’s first successful flight from water on 28 March 1910 ("Le Canard," designed and flown by Henri Fabre from Lac Berre near Marseille), Wakefield ordered a floatplane of similar design, subsequently named “Waterbird.” By November 1911, both Gnosspelier and Wakefield had aircraft capable of flight from water and awaited suitable weather conditions. At the same time, Commander Oliver Schwann, Royal Navy, was conducting similar experiments in Cavendish Dock, Barrow in Furness and, on 18 November, Schwann took off from the dock but soon crashed back onto the water. A week later, on 25 November 1911, Gnosspelier taxied into Windermere’s Bowness Bay and took off, though this flight was short-lived – a wing clipped the water, the aircraft flipped onto its back and crashed into the lake. Grosspelier was able to climb out unhurt and was rescued. Meanwhile, 6 Km. to the south at Hill of Oaks, Wakefield’s pilot, Stanley Adams, was unaware of the events in Bowness Bay. After an unsuccessful attempt to lift off from the lake, he took advantage of a light northerly wind and flew at a height of 50 feet to Ferry Nab, where he made a wide turn and returned to Hill of Oaks for a perfect landing on the lake’s surface, the first successful British flight from water.

The Lakes Flying Company Limited is, as of 2011, building a flying replica of “Waterbird,” which is expected to fly from Windermere during the British Floatplane Centenary year. (ABL, Sep. 2011).

The first in history combat missions of a seaplane was probably those of a Greek "Astra Hydravion" between December 1912 and January 1913, during the Balkan Wars. In one of them, on January 24, 1913, the seaplane with two Greek pilots flew at 1200 meters over the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 from the European to the Asian coast, did a reconnaissance of the Turkish fleet, dropped 4 bombs and after 2 hours flight landed at sea near the island of Imbros
Imbros
Imbros or Imroz, officially referred to as Gökçeada since July 29, 1970 , is an island in the Aegean Sea and the largest island of Turkey, part of Çanakkale Province. It is located at the entrance of Saros Bay and is also the westernmost point of Turkey...

. The plane was targeted by canons and rifles unsuccessfully.

Englishman John Cyril Porte
John Cyril Porte
Lieutenant Commander John Cyril Porte CMG, DSM, Royal Navy was a flying boat pioneer associated with the World War I Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe.-Biography:...

 joined with Curtiss to design a transatlantic flying boat, and developed a more practical hull for Curtiss' airframe and engines with the distinctive 'step' which enabled the hull and floats to cleanly break free of the water's surface at take-off.
In the UK the Curtiss flying boat was developed into the Felixstowe series
Felixstowe Porte Baby
-References:*Bruce, J.M. "". Flight, 2 December 1955. pp.842—846.*Bruce, J.M. "". Flight, 16 December 1955. pp.895—898.*Bruce, J.M. "". Flight, 23 December 1955. pp.929—932.* accessed 1 February 2007....

 of flying boats, which were used in the First World War to patrol for German submarines
U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

.
Curtiss N-9
Curtiss N-9
-References:NotesBibliography* Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft 1907–1947. London: Putnam, 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.*...

 seaplanes were used during World War I as primary trainers, and over 2,500 Navy pilots learned to fly in them. A handful of N-9s were used in the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane
Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane
The Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane was a project undertaken during World War I to develop an aerial torpedo, also called a flying bomb or pilotless aircraft, capable of carrying explosives to its target...

 project to develop an "aerial torpedo" or flying bomb
Flying bomb
A flying bomb is a manned or unmanned aerial vehicle or aircraft carrying a large explosive warhead, a precursor to contemporary cruise missiles...

, an early RPV.

On March 27, 1919, the first transatlantic flight
Transatlantic flight
Transatlantic flight is the flight of an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean. A transatlantic flight may proceed east-to-west, originating in Europe or Africa and terminating in North America or South America, or it may go in the reverse direction, west-to-east...

 was completed by a U.S. Navy NC
Curtiss NC
-References:NotesBibliography* Holmes, Tony. Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins, 2005. ISBN 0-0071-9292-4.* Steirman, Hy and Glenn D. Kittler. The First Transatlantic Flight, 1919, . New York: Richardson & Sterman, 1986. ISBN 0-931933-19-0.* Wagner, Ray. American...

 flying boat piloted by Albert Read, from Canada to Portugal via the Azores Islands.

The first flight over the south Atlantic
First aerial crossing of the South Atlantic
The first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic was made by the Portuguese naval aviators Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral in 1922, to mark the centennial of Brazil's independence...

 was made by Portuguese naval pilots Gago Coutinho
Gago Coutinho
Carlos Viegas Gago Coutinho, GCTE, GCC, generally known simply as Gago Coutinho was a Portuguese aviation pioneer who, together with Sacadura Cabral , was the first to cross the South Atlantic Ocean by air, from March to June 1922 , from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro.The Fairey IIIB seaplane used by...

 and Sacadura Cabral
Sacadura Cabral
Artur de Sacadura Freire Cabral, GCTE , known simply as Sacadura Cabral , was a Portuguese aviation pioneer who in 1922, together with Gago Coutinho , conducted the first flight across the South Atlantic Ocean, and also the first using astronomical navigation only, from Lisbon, Portugal, to Rio de...

 in 1922, from Lisbon, Portugal to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They used a Fairey III-D MkII
Fairey III
The Fairey Aviation Company Fairey III was a family of British reconnaissance biplanes that enjoyed a very long production and service history in both landplane and seaplane variants...

.

On May 12, 1930, Jean Mermoz
Jean Mermoz
Jean Mermoz was a French aviator, viewed as a hero by many in both Argentina and his native France, where many schools bear his name...

 made a flight across the South Atlantic Ocean from Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

 in French West Africa to Natal
Natal, Rio Grande do Norte
-History:The northeastern tip of South America, Cabo São Roque, to the north of Natal and the closest point to Europe from Latin America, was first visited by European navigators in 1501, in the 1501–1502 Portuguese expedition led by Amerigo Vespucci, who named the spot after the saint of the day...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, in a Latecoere 28
Latécoère 28
-See also:- External links :...

 floatplane.

Because of the lack of runways and the perceived safety factor over water, many commercial airlines including Imperial Airways
Imperial Airways
Imperial Airways was the early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939 and serving parts of Europe but especially the Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East...

 (fore-runner of BOAC
Boac
Boac may refer to:* Boac, Marinduque, a municipality in the Southern Philippines* Boac , an American rapper* British Overseas Airways Corporation, a former British state-owned airline...

), and Pan-American World Airways used large flying boats to provide service for long distance service across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

s. Aircraft specially built for these routes included some of the largest aircraft built between the wars.

Examples include:
  • Aeromarine 75
  • Boeing Clipper
  • Consolidated Commodore
  • Dornier Wal
  • HU-16 Albatross
    HU-16 Albatross
    The Grumman HU-16 Albatross is a large twin-radial engine amphibious flying boat that was utilized by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, primarily as a search and rescue and combat search and rescue aircraft...

  • Latécoère 631
    Latécoère 631
    -Air France Accident:On the night of July 31, 1948 Latécoère 631 number 06 owned by Air France was flying from Fort-de-France to Port-Etienne in Mauritania when it disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean with the loss of all 52 on board. It is believed to have gone down around 1200 miles from Dakar in...

  • Martin China Clipper
  • Sikorsky VS-44
    Sikorsky VS-44
    -References:NotesBibliography** early article on VS-44 with cutaway drawing of VS-44 on of three page article.* excellent photos...

  • Short Kent
    Short Kent
    The Short S.17 Kent was a British four-engined 15-seat biplane luxury flying boat airliner, designed and built by Shorts to meet a requirement from Imperial Airways for an aircraft with greater range than the Short Calcutta....

  • Short Empire
    Short Empire
    The Short Empire was a passenger and mail carrying flying boat, of the 1930s and 1940s, that flew between Britain and British colonies in Africa, Asia and Australia...



Smaller carriers found them useful as well for operating into areas without prepared runways.
Popular with bush operators, sportsmen and explorers, a huge variety of designs were built.
Examples include:

  • Sikorsky S-38
    Sikorsky S-38
    -See also:...

  • Sikorsky S-39
    Sikorsky S-39
    The Sikorsky S-39 was a smaller, single-engine version of the S-38 light amphibious aircraft, built in the USA by aviation firm Sikorsky Aircraft during the early 1930s.-Postwar usage:...

  • Grumman Goose
    Grumman Goose
    The Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious aircraft was designed as an eight-seat "commuter" plane for businessmen in the Long Island area. The Goose was Grumman’s first monoplane to fly, its first twin-engined aircraft, and its first aircraft to enter commercial airline service...

  • Grumman Mallard
    Grumman Mallard
    |-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Hotson, Fred W. Grumman Mallard: The Enduring Classic. Scarborough, Ontario: Robin Brass Studio, 2006. ISBN 978-1896941448....

  • Grumman Albatross
  • Douglas Dolphin
  • Dornier Delphin
    Dornier Delphin
    |-See also:-References:*The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft , 1985, Orbis Publishing...

  • Supermarine Sea Eagle
    Supermarine Sea Eagle
    -References:Bibliography*Andrews C.F. and Morgan, E.B. Supermarine Aircraft since 1914. London:Putnam, 1987. ISBN 0 85177 800 3.*Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft 1919-1972:Volume III. London:Putnam, 1988. ISBN 0 85177 818 6....

  • Vickers Viking
    Vickers Viking
    -References:NotesBibliography* Andrews, C.F. and E.B. Morgan. Vickers Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam, 1988. ISBN 0-85177-815-1.* London, Peter. British Flying Boats. Stroud, UK: Sutton Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7509-2695-3....

  • Canadian Vickers Vedette
    Canadian Vickers Vedette
    -References:NotesCitationsBibliography* Milberry, Larry. Aviation in Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-07-082778-8.* Molsen, Kenneth M. "The Canadian Vickers Vedette." Canadian Aeronautics and Space Journal, October 1964....

  • Beriev MBR-2
    Beriev MBR-2
    -External links:* at aeroflight.co.uk* * at Russian Aviation Museum* at Russian Aviation Museum* at Russian Aviation Museum...



Typical for the above types, the Grumman Goose
Grumman Goose
The Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious aircraft was designed as an eight-seat "commuter" plane for businessmen in the Long Island area. The Goose was Grumman’s first monoplane to fly, its first twin-engined aircraft, and its first aircraft to enter commercial airline service...

 came about in 1936, when a group of wealthy industrialists, including Henry Morgan, Marshall Field and E.R. Harriman, wanted an easier way to commute from their homes on Long Island, New York, to the financial district of Wall Street. They commissioned Roy Grumman to build ten airplanes that could take off from their private air strips and land on the water near the financial district. Grumman re-engineered their amphibians after the war and built a commercial version of their durable amphibians, called the Grumman Mallard
Grumman Mallard
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Hotson, Fred W. Grumman Mallard: The Enduring Classic. Scarborough, Ontario: Robin Brass Studio, 2006. ISBN 978-1896941448....

.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, most navies
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 used seaplanes for reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

, search and rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

, and anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

. Possibly the most commonly known was the Consolidated PBY Catalina which was flown by the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, and Canada, among many others. Similar aircraft were used by Japan, Germany, Italy.

The US Navy utilized a fleet of seaplanes for reconnaissance, rescue and had many fitted with machine guns and bombs. Most battleship
Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

s carried one or two (some cases as many as four) catapult-launched seaplanes to spot targets over the horizon for the big guns, or to fight off enemy reconnaissance planes.

Examples include:
  • Aichi E13A
    Aichi E13A
    -See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Dorr, Robert E. and Chris Bishop. Vietnam Air War Debrief. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-874023-78-6....

  • Arado 196
  • Blohm & Voss BV 222 Wiking
  • CANT Z.501
    CANT Z.501
    The CANT Z.501 Gabbiano was a single engine flying boat that served with the Italian Regia Aeronautica during World War II. It had a crew of four or five and was used mainly for reconnaissance. Initially a successful aircraft, it was obsolete by 1940, but was still used throughout World War II,...

  • Dornier Do 18
    Dornier Do 18
    The Dornier Do 18 was a development of the Do 16 flying boat. It was developed for the Luftwaffe, but Lufthansa got 5 aircraft and used these for tests between the Azores and the North American continent in 1936 and on their mail route over the South Atlantic from 1937 to 1939.27–29 March 1938 a...

  • Dornier Do 24
    Dornier Do 24
    -See also:-References:* -External links:* * * * * * * * *...

  • Kawanishi H8K "Emily"
    Kawanishi H8K
    |-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Bridgeman, Leonard. "The Kawanishi H8K2 “Emily”" Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London: Studio, 1946. ISBN 1-85170-493-0....

  • Mitsubishi F1M
    Mitsubishi F1M
    -See also:-Bibliography:* Francillon, R.J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London:Putnam, 1970. ISBN 370 00033 1.* Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War, Volume Six: Floatplanes. London: Macdonald & Co., Ltd., 1962....

  • Consolidated Catalina
    PBY Catalina
    The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an American flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. PBYs served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other...

  • Consolidated Coronado
    PB2Y Coronado
    |-See also:-Bibliography:* Andrews, Hal. "" Naval Aviation News, Vol. 72, Issue no. 1, November-December 1989. ISSN 0028-1417.* Bridgeman, Leonard. “The Consolidated Vultee Model 29 Coronado.” Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London: Studio, 1946. ISBN 1-85170-493-0.* Green, William. War...

  • Martin Mariner
    PBM Mariner
    The Martin PBM Mariner was a patrol bomber flying boat of World War II and the early Cold War period. It was designed to complement the PBY Catalina in service. A total of 1,366 were built, with the first example flying on 18 February 1939 and the type entering service in September 1940.-Design and...

  • Short Sunderland
    Short Sunderland
    The Short S.25 Sunderland was a British flying boat patrol bomber developed for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers. It took its service name from the town and port of Sunderland in northeast England....

  • Supermarine Sea Otter
    Supermarine Sea Otter
    |-Survivors:No museum holds a complete aircraft. Australia's Museum of Flight has the nose section of JN200, a Sea Otter which served with the Royal Australian Navy.-See also:-References:...

  • Supermarine Stranraer
    Supermarine Stranraer
    |-Surviving aircraft:A single intact Stranraer, 920/CF-BXO, survives in the collection of the Royal Air Force Museum London. This aircraft was built in 1940, one of 40 built by Canadian Vickers. In service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, it flew with several squadrons, on anti-submarine patrols,...

  • Supermarine Walrus
    Supermarine Walrus
    The Supermarine Walrus was a British single-engine amphibious biplane reconnaissance aircraft designed by R. J. Mitchell and operated by the Fleet Air Arm . It also served with the Royal Air Force , Royal Australian Air Force , Royal Canadian Air Force , Royal New Zealand Navy and Royal New...



In the post war period the availability of large paved runways and the greatly expanded performance of land-based planes meant that both commercial and military use of seaplanes was much reduced. Anti-Submarine Warfare
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

 was just as easily carried out with land based aircraft, which often had better performance, and Search and Rescue
Search and rescue
Search and rescue is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger.The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, mostly based upon terrain considerations...

 could more easily be carried out with helicopters, which had the advantages of being operated from smaller ships, and in higher sea states. The compromises that came from being able to float and rise again from the water caused excessive drag and added considerably to the weight of the aircraft. In commercial service this translated into increased costs, and for a military aircraft, into reduced warloads, speeds and ranges.

Only in specialized roles were they able to remain competitive, such as waterbombing, where their ability to quickly reload was a huge asset. A number of surplus WW2 seaplanes including the PBY and Martin Mars were initially used in this role but their advancing age has required a new specially designed aircraft in the form of the Canadair CL-215
Canadair CL-215
The Canadair CL-215 was the first model in a series of firefighting flying boat amphibious aircraft built by Canadair and later Bombardier. The CL-215 is a twin-engine, high-wing aircraft designed to operate well at low speed and in gust-loading circumstances, as are found over forest fires...

, which operates alongside second-hand land-based bombers and transports.

The only amphibian aircraft produced for post war commercial usage was the Grumman Mallard
Grumman Mallard
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Hotson, Fred W. Grumman Mallard: The Enduring Classic. Scarborough, Ontario: Robin Brass Studio, 2006. ISBN 978-1896941448....

 which was designed as a true airliner, with modern technology and longer ranges, greater passenger and cargo loads. The Mallard saw production from 1946-1951. Only 59 were delivered, used mostly by corporations and some regional commuter carriers.

The British and the US experimented with jet-powered seaplane fighters such as the Saunders-Roe SR.A/1
Saunders-Roe SR.A/1
|-See also:-References:*London, Peter. British Flying Boats. Stroud, UK:Sutton Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7509-2695-3.*Mason, Francis K.The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, Maryland, USA:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7....

 and the F2Y Sea Dart
F2Y Sea Dart
|-See also:-Bibliography:* Jones, Lloyd S. U.S. Fighters: Army-Air Force 1925 to 1980s. Fallbrook, California: Aero Publishers Inc., 1975. ISBN 0-8168-9200-0....

 but despite some successes (the US fighter became the only supersonic seaplane to date), these did not enter service. An attempt was made in the early to mid-1950s to develop a large jet-powered flying boat (the Martin P6M SeaMaster) for the U.S. Navy. Although several prototypes were built and tested, the project, like those of the fighters, was eventually terminated.

The U.S. Navy, however, continued to operate seaplanes and seaplane tenders, especially in the Far East, until the mid-1970s. Both Japan and Russia continued operating military seaplanes even later, including the ShinMaywa US-1 and Beriev Be-12
Beriev Be-12
|-See also:-Bibliography:* Yefim Gordon, Andrey Sal'nikov and Aleksandr Zablotskiy Beriev's Jet Flying Boats. Hinckley, UK: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-236-5...

, primarily for Anti-Submarine Warfare
Anti-submarine warfare
Anti-submarine warfare is a branch of naval warfare that uses surface warships, aircraft, or other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines....

, where they can take advantage of their range and speed over helicopters, while still able to land on water.

Seaplanes are still being used for firefighting and sightseeing, but have been replaced in nearly all military roles by helicopters.

Uses and operation

Numerous modern civilian aircraft have a floatplane variant, usually for light duty transportation to lakes and other remote areas. Most of these are offered as third-party modifications under a supplemental type certificate (STC), although there are several aircraft manufacturers that build floatplanes from scratch, and a few that continue to build flying boats. Many older flying boats remain in service for fire-fighting duty, and Chalk's Ocean Airways operated a fleet of Grumman Mallards in passenger service until service was suspended after a crash
Chalk's Ocean Airways flight 101
Chalk's Ocean Airways Flight 101 was an aircraft crash that occurred off Miami Beach, Florida, in the United States on December 19, 2005. All 20 passengers and crew on board the 1947 Grumman G-73T Turbine Mallard died in the crash, which was attributed to metal fatigue on the starboard wing...

 on December 19, 2005, which was linked to maintenance, not to design of the aircraft. Purely water-based seaplanes have largely been supplanted by amphibious aircraft.

Seaplanes can only take off and land on water with little or no wave
Ocean surface wave
In fluid dynamics, wind waves or, more precisely, wind-generated waves are surface waves that occur on the free surface of oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and canals or even on small puddles and ponds. They usually result from the wind blowing over a vast enough stretch of fluid surface. Waves in the...

 action and, like other aircraft, have trouble in extreme weather. The size of waves a given design can withstand depends on, among other factors, the aircraft's size, hull or float design, and its weight, all making for a much more unstable aircraft, limiting actual operational days.
Flying boats can typically handle rougher water and are generally more stable than floatplanes while on the water.

Rescue
Rescue
Rescue refers to responsive operations that usually involve the saving of life, or prevention of injury during an incident or dangerous situation....

 organizations, such as coast guard
Coast guard
A coast guard or coastguard is a national organization responsible for various services at sea. However the term implies widely different responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to being a volunteer organization tasked with...

s, are among the largest modern operators of seaplanes due to their efficiency and their ability to both spot and rescue survivors. Land-based aircraft cannot rescue survivors, and many helicopters are limited in their capacity to carry survivors and in their fuel efficiency
Fuel efficiency
Fuel efficiency is a form of thermal efficiency, meaning the efficiency of a process that converts chemical potential energy contained in a carrier fuel into kinetic energy or work. Overall fuel efficiency may vary per device, which in turn may vary per application, and this spectrum of variance is...

 compared to fixed-wing aircraft. (Helicopters may also be fitted with floats to facilitate their usage on water, though they are not referred to as seaplanes.) These are even more limited in range.

Water aircraft are also often used in remote areas such as the Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

n and Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 wilderness, especially in areas with a large number of lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s convenient for takeoff and landing. They may operate on a charter basis, provide scheduled service, or be operated by residents of the area for private, personal use. seaplanes are used in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 to connect the many islands to the mainland. In the Western Hemisphere, there are numerous seaplane operators in the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 that offer service within or between island groups.

See also

  • Amphibious aircraft
    Amphibious aircraft
    An amphibious aircraft or amphibian is an aircraft that can take off and land on either land or water. Fixed-wing amphibious aircraft are seaplanes that are equipped with retractable wheels, at the expense of extra weight and complexity, plus diminished range and fuel economy compared to planes...

  • Floatplane
    Floatplane
    A floatplane is a type of seaplane, with slender pontoons mounted under the fuselage; only the floats of a floatplane normally come into contact with water, with the fuselage remaining above water...

  • RAPT system
    RAPT system
    Tigerfish Aviation is an aerospace research and development company based in Norwood, South Australia. Since the late 1990s, the company has been developing a retractable pontoon system for the float plane industry, which has been patented as Retractable Amphibious Pontoon Technology or RAPT.-RAPT...

  • Flying boat
    Flying boat
    A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

  • List of flying boats and seaplanes
  • Auxiliary cruiser
  • Seaplane tender
    Seaplane tender
    A seaplane tender is a ship that provides facilities for operating seaplanes. These ships were the first aircraft carriers and appeared just before the First World War.-History:...

  • Ekranoplan
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