Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-30-2015, 01:58 AM   #81
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Better to land in glass seas or on four-foot-high waves? What is the maximum wave height considered safe for the typical float plane?


They can both destroy your plane and kill you. And no floatplane pilot would attempt a landing in four foot waves unless it was an emergency and there was no other choice. And he or she would do it knowing the plane would most likely come apart on touchdown.

(Big and consistently spaced swells, I should add, are another matter and there is a technique for landing and taking off in them that has a very good chance of working.)

The maximum wave height a floatplane can handle is dependent upon the size of the plane. A de Havilland Otter can handle rougher water than a Piper Super Cub. Floatplanes, unlike wheel planes and skiplanes, don't have shock absorbers. The float system is rigid to the airframe. Touchdown speed varies with the type of plane of course, but they can run from 40 to 60 mph. Imagine running across the water in a ski-boat at that speed and that's what you're dealing with.

So it's not just the size of the waves but the distance between them and their steepness that are critical factors in deciding whether to attempt a landing on rough water.

The bottom line is that a floatplane is far more susceptible to damage on rough water than one might expect just looking at one. The floats that look so large and heavy duty to the eye are actually quite fragile.

I landed a Beaver once in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to deliver a part to a boat and while the water looked pretty decent to me, when I got on it I found there was a low swell pattern that had not been apparent from the air. It's the only time I've ever thought an airplane was actually going to come apart under me. Once down and stopped I realized what the water was doing and so could plan my takeoff run and technique to minimize the pounding to a fair degree.

To a boater in a typical recreational cruiser like most of us here have, the water I landed in would probably have been considered fairly calm. There were no whitecaps, just fairly small wind ripples, probably less than a foot. This I could see. The gentle rolling swell pattern I couldn't.

Flying boats, by the way, can handle rougher water than a floatplane.
__________________
Advertisement

Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2015, 03:40 PM   #82
Ted
Guru
 
Ted's Avatar
 
City: Campbell River
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Okisollo
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 582
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post

Flying boats, by the way, can handle rougher water than a floatplane.
I've been enjoying this thread and wondered when this point would be
posted.
Ted
__________________

Ted is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2015, 03:57 PM   #83
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted View Post
I've been enjoying this thread and wondered when this point would be
posted.
Ted
This is really getting close to Off Topic, but FWIW and for those who don't know and might be interested......

The "family" name for all these aircraft is "seaplane." Seaplanes are divided into two categories: floatplanes and flying boats. Each of these categories is divided into two types, "straight" and "amphibious."

The rating to fly these planes is called "Sea." This rating has two qualifiers, Single Engine and Multi-Engine. My rating is Single Engine Sea. This permits me to fly single engine floatplanes and flying boats, assuming the required checkouts.

"Straight" flying boats include some pretty big ones, like the Boeing 314 Clipper, various Sikorsky models, the Martin Mars, and so on

"Amphibious" flying boats include small ones, like the single-engine Seabee, Lake, and Teal, and larger multi-engine planes like the Gumman Widgeon, Goose, Mallard, and Albatross and the famous Consolidated PBY Catalina, which was also made as a straight flying boat.

The PBY in particular was used in some very rough water in the Pacific theatre in the open ocean during WWII rescuing downed pilots and survivors from torpedoed ships. The Albatross was used by the Air Forcer and USCG for rescue work as well, and their pilots worked them in open water conditions that were extremely challenging to say the least.
__________________

Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012