Ever wish you could fly to your next fishing campsite, land on the river, and pitch your tent nearby on the bank? How about flying your family right to the lake where you want to spend your summer vacation? The thought of earning a seaplane rating probably has crossed your mind, but you may have dismissed the idea because you don't live on the coast or near the Great Lakes.
But you don't have to live near a large body of water to make obtaining a seaplane rating useful. More than 179 public-use seaplane bases dot the United States, showing up on rivers, lakes, and other waterways. And AOPA has updated its "Seaplane Flying" subject report to provide members with more information about adding the rating. Also included are articles from AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training magazines on the types of aircraft that can be equipped with floats, like a Piper J-3 Cub, and numerous ways to put that new rating to use.
Use AOPA's Airport Directory Online to search for seaplane bases located near you. Typing "SPB" into the "airport name" search field returns results for public-use seaplane bases in 26 states. The 2005-2006 print edition of the directory includes a listing of private seaplane bases, airports, and heliports.
The subject report includes first-hand experiences about the training from AOPA President Phil Boyer along with AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training contributors. It also includes the " Practical Test Standards for Private Pilot Airplane SES" to give you a better idea of everything you will need to know and perform for the checkride.
A link to the Seaplane Pilots Association connects you to seaplane training material, government documents, and a forum to talk to other seaplane pilots.
If you have questions about the training required to earn a seaplane rating or the feasibility of adding it, contact AOPA's Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA). Specialists are available weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time to talk with you one on one.
April 29, 2005