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Helicopters can land without fuel too...[edit]

Quote from "Seaplane uses and operation": "Seaplanes are much more fuel efficient than helicopters and, unlike helicopters, can land when they run out of fuel, weather permitting." Helicopters can land quite fine without fuel too, see the Autorotation article. I guess you meant "land in the sea", if so, that should be clarified. I didn't correct it since I'm a n00b, I can do it if you don't mind. --GunnsteinLye 22:58, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree. The whole paragraph is pretty unclear. I may take a shot at revising this if no one else steps up in the next week or two (and I don't forget).--chris.lawson 01:27, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
And helo's come with fixed and inflatable floats, so could well be considered seaplanes, too! Akradecki 20:19, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Alight vs Land[edit]

The FAA and AOPA may not call it alighting, but the CAA most certainly do. Think about it: how can it be landing if the stuff underneath's not land? I have, however, implemented a compromise that I think most people will accept. -Scott Wilson 22:22, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Hrm, I don't much care either way, but I prefer landing just because its commonly used and descriptive of the action. Also, planes "land" on aircraft carriers, which aren't really land either. I guess what it comes down to is I believe a word can outgrow its origins. I think a note on the differences is definitely appropriate in the article, and I think that its ok as it stands now. -Lommer | talk 23:01, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm pretty much OK with it now, although I think the wording itself is a little awkward. I might remember to get back to this and see if I can work out something a little more fluid (ha ha) sometime in the next couple of days. —chris.lawson (talk) 04:26, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
Done. If anyone has issues with the re-wording, let me know and I'll try something else.—chris.lawson (talk) 04:31, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Alight is a brightism. The compromise is fine, but calling it more correct when it is not more correct outside the authority of your local CAA (UK, Aus, NZ, whatev.) rankles a bit. You might want to NPOV that sentence a tad. OTOH, technical (or quasi-legal) terms that confuse should be avoided in a general-audience publication. Remember the "near-miss" controversy?
No. "Alight" is standard American. See Websters. Paul Beardsell 14:22, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe what was meant is that "alight", as applied to aircraft, is a Britishism. I've never once read or heard anyone in the US refer to a water landing as anything but a "landing".--chris.lawson 14:59, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
And I haven't heard anyone in the UK say "alight" either in relation to flying. That doesn't make me think the term is an Americanism. Why would anyone think it is a Britishism? Paul Beardsell 16:19, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Because of the first comment in this section, which states that the UK CAA refers to it as such? :) --chris.lawson 16:29, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
As for landing, we both agree: It means stopping flying in a (probably) intentional (sometimes semi-)controlled fashion! Snow, ice, water, land, swamp, aircraft carrier. Paul Beardsell 16:19, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
And of course you can land on water! Paul Beardsell 14:32, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Alighting is the original correct aeronautical term for 'landing' on land OR water. Sparrows alight on chimney pots, and seagulls alight on the water. That's where the original aviation term comes from. If you've never heard of the word get a decent English dictionary.
Incidently, if you read early (c 1900-1910) aviation-related publications you'll often find references to alighting gear as opposed to 'landing gear'. Language-used changes over time and 'alighting gear' was supplanted by 'undercarriage' (UK) and 'landing gear' (US) ,although some British aviation companies were still referring to the undercarriage as the chassis as late as WWII.
I suspect that the CAA still uses the term 'alight' because in UK English that is a more exact technical term which covers both 'landing' on water as well as on land.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:36, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

A parent article for floatplane and flying boat[edit]

I thought it was fairly well understood that floatplanes and flying boats are quite different types of aircraft. To design, build, maintain and fly. That they are both seaplanes is also indisputable! And the rules and regs support my view: Go look. A seaplane is _any_ aircraft which can land(sic) on water. There should be three articles. Seaplanes should mention there are two main categories and link to them and not say much more. And the other two articles should remain separate. Floatplane should not #redirect here. Paul Beardsell 14:30, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

The "rules and regs", as you say, don't differentiate between them in the US (I don't know JAA regs at all), but I agree that the two types are really their own distinct topics. Unfortunately, I don't think there's enough material for separate articles; what should probably be done instead is to rearrange this article somewhat to reflect the logical division of seaplanes into flying boats and floatplanes.--chris.lawson 14:59, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
You may not be aware that there is a separate flying boat article. Paul Beardsell 16:13, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Early use of seaplanes[edit]

I'm not an aviation historian, but I'm pretty sure that seaplanes were popular in the early days because of the absence of landing fields (airports). If that is the case, it ought to be in the article. Lou Sander 22:59, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Floatplanes vs. Flying boats[edit]

I believe the diferrences should be said more than the definition difference, such as what does that change in them, you know? As a complete noob to seaplanes, I know no sh*t about it, but it LOOKS like flying boats can go thru more wild waters, such as a stronger river or maybe even some calm beaches? Is this true? or both floatplanes and flying boats should only be used in rivers/lakes? Are there no major differences besides those? Could any crazy dude remove the lower fuselage of an floatplane (and pontoons and stufff) and convert it into a flying boat with little problems? Or reverse, add an aerodynamic lower fuselage to the flying boat and add pontoons without major worries (such as severe instabilty and the like)? 16:18, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Aborted move to "Water Aircraft"[edit]

A user moved this article to the title "Water Aircraft" without discussion, and it has been moved back by a subsequent editor. As a note about this was placed on the Project talk page, I came along and cleaned up the places where the word "seaplane" had been changed, as well as some other cleanups.

To the person who moved it: Please do not do this without a thorough discussion and consensus first. Thanks. Akradecki 03:26, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Contemporary Russian Seaplanes[edit]

There are some pretty impressive ones. I've seen 'em in pictures, but I don't know anything more about it. Seems like somebody knowledgeable should add them to this article. Lou Sander 22:49, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

See some pretty cool photos of these Russian giants HERE. Lou Sander 22:57, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Beriev A-40 is our article on one of them. [1] has a great crazy giant seaplane at the top. Tempshill (talk) 04:21, 9 March 2009 (UTC)


I've tried to clarify the difference in British and US usage of "seaplanes". It's definitions, fairly trivial really but needs spelling out so readers know to look out for regional linguistic differences. I worry more about the floats = pontoons equation; pontoons to me and to the link are flotation devices used statically, whereas floats here have to be used dynamically to allow an aircraft to leave the water. This took a while to find out, and many early float/seaplanes and indeed flying boats refused to unstick until hydrodynamic features like steps were built in. From memory, Fabre was one of the first to realise this and freely shared his insights (must check on the Curtis connection).TSRL (talk) 23:31, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

You have sources for the "US" definition, but not for the "British" usage. I assume these are coming? Also, from the use by Canadian writers on WP, "floatplane" seems to be standard Canadian usage also. I'm also going to ask for broader input at WT:AIR, as we have a number of British and Canadian contributors there. - BillCJ (talk) 01:10, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Hi Bill, I think the Oxford English Dictionary will do: "Seaplane: An aeroplane designed to be able to operate from water; spec. one with floats, in contrast to a flying boat." That was the definition I had in mind and I'll add the reference. It sounds as if we may need to say North American rather than US, but let's leave that until you have consulted.TSRL (talk) 17:18, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
The correct UK usage for the type is either 'seaplane' or 'floatplane' - the correct UK term for what the Americans refer-to as 'pontoons' on a waterborne aircraft is 'float' (hence 'floatplane') - these differ from 'proper' pontoons in that they have a shaped-hull to allow the least drag while travelling through the water on take-off. A pontoon is not really designed for movement, it's more for use as a moored means of support - hence the term Pontoon bridge. That's why helicopter's can have either floats OR pontoons - the pontoon-equipped helicopter is not really intended to be able to travel on the water surface, merely alight on it, thus the pontoons tend to be simple cylinders blunt or rounded at the ends, rather than proper boat-shaped with planing V-hull. Floats almost always have a 'step' (the 'notch' at the bottom around halfway back) and the float bottoms are shaped the same as the hull on a flying boat. - — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
Probably the simplest distinction between the two is that an aircraft 'float' is designed to be able to plane through the water at high speed, whilst a 'pontoon' is merely required to sit in it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
If you read the float article you linked to, you'll notice they're also called "pontoons". This again seems to be a British/US-Canadian distinction. Neither is more correct than the other, or less correct. - BilCat (talk) 12:04, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
That's your opinion. I was merely pointing out that the word 'Float' and 'Pontoon' have different meanings in the UK, and that whilst it may be OK in the US to call a seaplane's flotation devices 'pontoons' the word 'pontoon' actually has a more precise meaning in UK English and the UK aviation world. The term 'Float' arose because the type of flotation device fitted to aircraft that required high speeds for take-off was different to that supplied by the pontoon, which is only required to be able to support something. That's why in the UK a seaplane's flotation devices are called 'floats' and not pontoons. It's not for any reason of differences in trans-Atlantic fashion, but because it's a more technically accurate and precise term. This is also why in the UK a Flying boat would never be referred-to as a 'seaplane', except by the someone unfamiliar with the aviation world. As for these people, they're free to call them what they like. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:23, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
No, it's not merely my opinion. The UK usage may be more precise in the UK, but it's not more correct than US/Canadian usage on Wikipedia. Anyway I've added "float" to the definition of floatplane along with "pontoon", for clarity, and linked to the more appropriate article. For Wikipeida's policy onb handling differnet variants of English, see WP:ENGVAR. - BilCat (talk) 12:57, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
OK - that's fine by me. I was just trying to point out that due to regional variations in English the different words may have slightly differing meanings in other countries. The UK English terms are different because the words 'float' and 'pontoon' have slightly different 'precise' definitions in the UK, at least in the aviation world. See the discussion on 'landing/alighting' above. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:26, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Differences in landing them[edit]

I came to the article to look up what are the largest differences in performing takeoffs and landings in a seaplane as compared to a conventional GA aircraft that lands, you know, on a runway. Could a knowledgeable person provide a summary? Tempshill (talk) 04:15, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm not an expert, but I believe that seaplanes (flying boats in particular) need a longer take off run in order to get "on the plane" and then break free from the forces trying to hold it in the water (even with the step to "break up" the flow). But, as long as you choose a big enough piece of water, it's not a problem. I've read about how Catalinas and Sunderlands in WWII would basically ignore the weight limits on their planes, and just accept that it would take a bit longer to get airborne when over weight. I believe "if it floats, it'll fly" was the rule of thumb. But the hydrodynamic forces holding it down are the biggest difference; Sunderlands on flat water would need a launch to cross their path to break the water up enough for them to overcome the suction and take off. That and I believe there is something different you have to do with the elevators during take off...either you have to hold up elevator, or down elevator...I don't recall. Once you reach a good speed and are "on the plane" (planing on the water), you gently "rotate" (timing with a wave when possible....the suction is the big enemy) and hopefully break out of the water and you are flying. I believe landings tend to be shorter. From what I've read, it's taxiing and docking are the parts that a normal pilot would have the most trouble with. Handling a large plane like the Sunderland on the water, taxiing it to the appropriate place was not easy. It was like steering a large boat, only harder. You had to be a pilot and a seaman! Even with the smaller planes, there are no brakes, you can't steer unless you are moving through the water (depending on how good your water rudders are). You have to time your throttle cut so you coast gently to the dock or beach and don't "crunch", and you have to account for wind and currents pushing you around. .45Colt 02:24, 18 January 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by .45Colt (talkcontribs)

First flight over the south Atlantic[edit]

The first flight over the south Atlantic was made by Portuguese naval pilots Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral in 1922, from Lisbon (Portugal) to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)!! I've corrected the information on the article, but if there's anything wrong with it, please let me know in here. Thank You.

It would help if you could provide a reference or citation to add to the entry. And as this related to the history of seaplanes it would help if we knew what type of aircraft was used. MilborneOne (talk) 15:01, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Ok, thanks for the advice, will do that as soon as possible! Cheers ;D —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:09, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Done! Hope you like it. Cheers! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:53, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

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Duplicate article?[edit]

This is almost word for word the same as the Flying boat article. Would it not be best to merge them? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:56, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Probably not as they are not the same thing, a flying boat is just one type of seaplane. MilborneOne (talk) 15:03, 19 September 2016 (UTC)