Have you always dreamed of island hopping to remote destinations? Or do you live on a lake and stare in awe every time your neighbor flies away from his dock? Whatever the case, flying a seaplane can be an incredible experience, and owning one can make dreams come true!
If you are already a pilot, you will need to get your seaplane rating, if you haven’t already. I would recommend getting your seaplane rating before you go purchase your first seaplane, so that you have more knowledge about the aircraft and their systems, and you will be able to do a better test flight. The Seaplane Pilot’s Association is a great resource for finding a flight school near you.
The next step will be deciding which type of seaplane is right for you. When you are getting your training, your instructor and the staff will be a great source of information. You will need to decide whether you will only be landing in water, or if you would like the option to land on both water and land. Having the option is nice, but the maintenance costs will be more.
To the left is a 1976 Lake LA 4/200 which can land both in the water and on the land. It has retractable landing gear for a hard surface landing, and a nice hull shape for landing in the water.
The photo to the left here is the same airplane parked in the water. What’s great about these aircraft is you have many more choices about where you can go. You can land in remote areas to explore wildlife or go fishing, yet still use your favorite mechanic at the local airport with ease.
When looking at seaplanes for sale, one of the biggest differences you’ll want to check on from buying a regular aircraft is water damage and corrosion. The aircraft’s history is very important in buying a seaplane. Was it flown in saltwater? If so, corrosion could be a major issue. You’ll want to make sure the owner/pilot was meticulous about taking care of any problems and doing preventative maintenance.
When you find the aircraft that you love, make sure that you get a pre-buy done from a mechanic who is experienced in the type of aircraft you plan on buying. The Seaplane Pilot’s Association forums can connect you with other seaplane pilots to get a referral for a mechanic in your area.
So remember, while buying a seaplane might require a little more work, the airplane of your dreams sitting in your backyard will be worth it!