News splash: Welcome back seaplanes

March 27, 2008

News splash: Welcome back seaplanes

By AOPA ePublishing staff

Good news for seaplane pilots. The Bureau of Reclamation intends to return seaplane access to more than 400 lakes in 17 western states.

Thanks to the efforts of AOPA, the Seaplane Pilots Association, and local pilot groups and state aviation agencies, the bureau has agreed to change a rule that should eliminate the seaplane prohibition on its lakes. The issue arose when the bureau in 2006 revised a federal rule, which had unintended consequences. The bureau was asking for documentation that seaplanes had used the lakes in the past or else they wouldn’t be allowed to use them in the future.

AOPA pushed to reverse the rule on the grounds that there was no documentation requirement in the past; the bureau did not conduct proper or thorough outreach to the local agencies prior to the rule being enacted; and there was no safety issue to protect the public from.

The bureau intends to issue a revised rule within the next two months, which will allow seaplanes to operate the same as they did prior to 2006.

March 27, 2008