General comment about "Seaplanes"

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General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby Rajay » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:47 pm

I saw a recent ruckus in another thread (the "Roy Tassell Memorial" Flying Boat Quiz) about what constitutes a "seaplane" versus a "flying boat" etc. and I wanted to comment further. Especially since I kinda found it hard to believe there was any contention over that issue.

For the record, any aircraft capable of repeated operations off of, from, or in and out of the water is a "seaplane"
(even if it is really only capable of flying off of almost ripple-less lakes, rivers, or other protected "fresh water" waterways.)

"Flying boats" and "float planes" are both valid subsets of the larger entire set of "seaplanes" in general (they are all "seaplanes")
but those two basic subsets are each subdivided as well on the basis of whether the specific aircraft in question is also an "amphibian" or not.

There are amphibian flying boats that are fully equipped to "land" on either water or terra firma at the pilot's discretion - and not (i.e. "pure" flying boats that must "land" only in the water and which can be "beached" only after some kind of detachable or temporary "landing gear" is installed) and there are also both amphibious float planes and not - i.e. "straight" float planes - but ALL are "seaplanes".

Is that clear enough?
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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby seawings » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:16 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your interesting explanation, although the 'ruckus' to which you refer, wasn't anything to do with what constitutes a seaplane or flying boat per 'se. I must admit that over the years, I don't think I have ever seen a definition such as you have written, anywhere.

I wonder what we should call a W.I.G. ....?
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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby dogsbody » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:03 pm

If it flies and floats, it's all good.
"What young man could possibly be bored
with a uniform to wear,
a fast aeroplane to fly,
and something to shoot at?"
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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby MrWidgeon » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:19 pm

"I must admit that over the years, I don't think I have ever seen a definition such as you have written, anywhere.
I wonder what we should call a W.I.G. ....?"

Bryan, Dave nailed it, that has always been my definition as well.
As for W.I.G.'s, also seaplanes - a flying boats subset (with some altitude limitations). :D

Bill
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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby seawings » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:53 pm

Hi Bill,

Yes, I agree; that was/is as excellent a set of definitions as one will read, anywhere.

Nice one, Dave.
Best Regards,

Bryan Ribbans
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The Flying Boat Forum
SEAWINGS - The Website

"I put the sweat of my life into this project, and if it's a failure, I'll leave the country and never come back".
Howard Hughes, re: the HK-1 Hughes Flying Boat, aka the 'Spruce Goose,' 1946.
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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby Rajay » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:25 pm

Technically, a WIG meets the criteria of the FAA's official definitions not only of "aircraft" but of "airplane" as well - it is an engine-driven, heavier-than-air, fixed-wing aircraft that is supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of air against its wings.

However, my personal preference (if it were actually up to me) would be to keep it separated in its very own "category" as a rare and different form of "aircraft" but not really as an "airplane" because it doesn't really have the full freedom of movement in all three spatial axes as do "real" airplanes. After all, it can't really climb away from the ground-effect on which it depends to achieve "flight".
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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby MrWidgeon » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:46 am

Actually, some (not all) of them can climb out of ground effect and achieve altitude (to climb over obstacles etc.), but they're most efficient in ground effect.

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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby seawings » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:50 am

Hi All,

So, anyone know what happens to a WIG when it goes 'too high'? Then, how do they keep at such a close proximity to the ground/sea without nosing in ?

And, finally, what about wave height?

I must read up on this aspect as it fascinates me - I have recently placed some very good videos on the main site and they are spectacular to watch but, with the verbals in Russian, all I can do is look at the images.
Best Regards,

Bryan Ribbans
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The Flying Boat Forum
SEAWINGS - The Website

"I put the sweat of my life into this project, and if it's a failure, I'll leave the country and never come back".
Howard Hughes, re: the HK-1 Hughes Flying Boat, aka the 'Spruce Goose,' 1946.
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Re: General comment about "Seaplanes"

Postby MrWidgeon » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:54 pm

seawings wrote:Hi All,

So, anyone know what happens to a WIG when it goes 'too high'? Then, how do they keep at such a close proximity to the ground/sea without nosing in ?

And, finally, what about wave height?

I must read up on this aspect as it fascinates me - I have recently placed some very good videos on the main site and they are spectacular to watch but, with the verbals in Russian, all I can do is look at the images.


If one goes too high and it's not capable of free flight, it will simply settle back down into ground effect, you don't try to climb out of G.E in that type of W.I.G..

As far as the proximity question, like my signature says, it's all about attitude.
The machines are designed/trimmed to fly slightly nose up and as long as that attitude is maintained at at least the machines listed minimum control speed it can't fly into the water.

Normally these machines don't operate over dry land, in fact I don't think most of them can, with the exception of maybe a short stretch of low flat coastal beach of something along those lines that it would transit en-route to more water.
None of the larger ones that I'm aware of have any form of built in landing/beaching gear and have to be beached with special equipment.

Regarding your last "Q", all maritime vessels have wave height/sea condition restrictions, W.I.G.s are no different.

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