Sat, Jul 28, 2012
Seaplanes Put The Adventure Back In Flying
By David Juwel
In celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Seaplane Pilots Association, Executive Director Steve McCaughey, announced that the SPA is awarding two fully paid seaplane rating scholarships. The first scholarship recipient was selected prior to AirVenture, and the second will be chosen from applications received at AirVenture.
The scholarship program is limited to applicants between the ages of 17-25, with a PPL, who are members of the SPA. Their goal is to have 12 scholarships a year, and then 24 scholarships a year, and even more as the scholarship program develops. The purpose is to stimulate young pilots into becoming seaplane advocates and devotees. There is no deadline and pilots not initially chosen can stay in the pool.
Seaplane flying gives you safety, adventure and additional skills. The safety comes from the fact that an amphibious plane has hundreds of thousands of more places across the US that can function as a landing spot in an emergency. There are also numerous seaplane bases. You have an additional safety factor in the fact that you can now cross bodies of water without incurring additional risk. The adventure comes from flying, exploring and camping in remote areas; areas that you previously avoided. What could be more romantic than having a picnic on a small uninhabited island with your sweetheart, and then flying home with the moon reflecting off the water, with city lights in the near distance. The increase in skills come not only from mastering water landings, but also in mastering the stick & rudder skills which are rarely taught in flight schools anymore.
And then there is the shear uniqueness of it. I can remember my first amphibious instruction flight. It was the first time I had ever landed without having to line up within the narrow confines of a runway. It was the first time I took off in a semi-circle (on purpose anyways). It was the first time I routinely lifted a landing gear (float) off the runway (water) each time to get airborne. Seaplane flying is the only opportunity you’ll ever have to land in water without getting wet! It’s a blast to do. I recommend you swim (run) as fast as you can to your nearest seaplane instructor.
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