Is flying a seaplane on your aviation bucket list? The upcoming flying season is an ideal time to take advantage of warmer weather and train to become a seaplane pilot. Many pilots find that they can add a seaplane rating to their aviation skill set for a relatively small investment of time and money. Here are five great reasons to get your feet wet and pursue a seaplane rating.
Complete your training quickly
A seaplane rating is one of the easiest add-on ratings to obtain. If you already have your Private or Commercial certificate, you earn the seaplane add-on rating with just 5 to 10 hours of flying. The FAA also doesn’t require a written exam for an add-on seaplane rating, and many schools offer seaplane courses that can be completed over a long weekend. Not only will you learn a new skill, but getting your seaplane rating also counts for your biennial flight review requirement.
Develop new skills
When you earn your seaplane rating, you’ll also develop valuable skills that aren’t found in other types of ratings. You’ll learn how to read the water from the air, understand wind patterns, and practice takeoffs and landings from different types of water environments. You can also expect to learn some sailing skills, such as tying proper knots to secure the airplane to the dock. Depending on the flight school you choose, you may also have opportunities to try mountain flying or bush flying while obtaining your seaplane rating.
Improve your current flying skills
Some of the skills you learn while obtaining the seaplane rating may transfer to land-based aircraft. For example, seaplane pilots gain a better understanding of wind and its effects on their plane. Seaplane pilots must also develop advanced stick and rudder skills and be able to complete short field takeoffs and landings with ease. Mastering these skills will enhance your abilities to handle any type of aircraft.
Explore unique destinations
Perhaps the best part of earning a seaplane rating is the opportunity to travel to locations that are otherwise inaccessible. With your rating and a seaplane to fly, you’re no longer limited to locations with airports and runways. Enjoy the freedom to explore stunning backcountry destinations in Alaska, Canada, Washington, Wisconsin or Minnesota, to name just a few.
Join a close-knit community
According to the Seaplane Pilots Association, only about 3 percent of pilots are seaplane rated. By earning your seaplane rating, you’ll join a community of peers that share a passion for aviation and adventure!