Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


A seaplane is an aircraft designed to take off and land on water.

Seaplanes can only take off and land on water in good weather and little or no wave action. An amphibious aircraft can take off and land on both conventional runways and on water, where a true seaplane can only take off and land on water.

Some light aircraft can be modified into seaplanes by the addition of large pontoons instead of skids or wheels.

One of the largest users of seaplanes are rescue organizations such as coast guards because the same aircraft can be used for spotting and rescuing survivors. Seaplanes are much more fuel-efficient than helicopters and unlike helicopters, can land when they run out of fuel, weather permitting.

Seaplanes are often used in remote areas such as Alaska and the Canadian outback, especially in areas with a large number of lakes convenient for takeoff and landing.

During World War I and II, many navies used seaplanes for reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare. Most battleships carried one or two seaplanes to spot targets over the horizon for the big guns. However, seaplanes are mostly considered obsolete for military purposes.

See: Flying boat

This is a stub article. Help Wikipedia by improving it.