Flying an airplane equipped with floats or a flying boat design is perhaps the most rewarding experience a person can have. Float flying provides for the ultimate in freedom. Every reasonably sized body of water with adequate depth can be your airport. FAA minimum altitudes allow a pilot to fly just a few feet above the water and enjoy the thrill that provides.
A marriage of boating skills and knowledge with solid flying fundamentals will allow any pilot to be able to operate a float plane safely.
Although it is possible to learn to fly initially from a floatplane, it is rarely done as floatplanes have no suspension to absorb landing errors and touching down too fast will ensure an expensive rollover.
The seaplane rating then is an add-on rating to the sport pilot certificate. A pilot will obtain their sport pilot rating in a land plane first and then obtain the seaplane add-on. The seaplane rating can often be added to your sport license in as little as a long weekend. Completion requires a seaplane rated instructor recommendation and another seaplane instructor signoff after completing a proficiency check (aka. Practical).
The seaplane training focuses on handling the aircraft on the water in varying wind and wave conditions. Docking, sailing, idle and step (fast) taxi and confined area take-offs are few of the skills to be mastered. It is assumed that a person is a competent pilot and can make consistent landings before transitioning to the seaplane. The seaplane is less forgiving than the land plane of poor technique.
‘Glassy water’ landings require very specific technique as the water surface can not be detected visually, making these landings challenging until learned.
Your first goal is to obtain reasonable mastery of a light sport aircraft on wheels then add the seaplane rating to your sport pilot certificate.
We currently do not have a seaplane in our training aircraft fleet but would be happy to assist you in the transition in your LSA compliant seaplane or refer you to one of our partner seaplane schools.