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Amphibians

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Amphibians

Old 29th Nov 2019, 14:12
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Amphibians

I was recently watching a Youtube clip of a De Havilland Beaver amhibian. Is such an aircraft capable of landing/takeoff from either runway or water or does the amphibian part refer simply to its ability to taxi from the water having landed there. I ask because the clip showed the aircraft taxying out of the water up a ramp onto an airfield from which a small twin was taking off.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 04:13
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If the airplane is designated as an amphibian, it can takeoff and land on land or water. There are a few airplanes (DHC-3 Otter, and some PBY Catalinas) which are water only planes, yet can be fitted with beaching gear, which once fitted while floating in the water, allows them to taxi or be towed out. Beaching gear is not suitable for landing and takeoff (no suspension). There are some airports which are both floatplane bases, and have runways. These airports are valuable for seasonal change over of floatplane to be wheel planes. Though amphibians do ramp in and out of the water, it would be common for an amphibian pilot to choose the use of the runway over the water, unless they are simply having water fun. A common reason to land an amphibian at an airport is for fuel, which is more easily put in with the plane on the ground than in the water.

Amphibians are typically heavier than the floatplane equivilent, as well as being more expensive to buy, maintain and insure. However, it is nice to be able to not leave the plane floating in the water for long periods, accumulating gunk on the float bottoms, and risk of sinking. It is common for city dwelling pilots to own an amphibian, which lives at the local airport, and provides weekend transportation to water destinations. A few small airlines use them this way too, a Toronto operator, for example:

Muskoka, Toronto | Float Plane Services | Cameron Air Service Ltd.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 07:05
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What a serendipitous topic. Today, a group of us went to our gliding club’s AME in High River Alberta to discuss our options for a new towplane.

When we got there, we discovered a U-Haul truck in the hangar and a group from Ontario loading a crashed L-19 into the truck. So we helped with the loading.

Once the truck left for the three-day drive home, we helped put the aircraft that had been displaced, back in the hangar - a Thrush 510P, a DA20, a C180 and this C185 amphib:



It was very odd to see an amphib taxiing on a snow covered field, 300 miles from the nearest open water. The temperature was -23°. We didn’t keep the hangar door open for long!
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 10:53
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Ta!!

Many thanks, there's always an answer if you ask the right chap.

Just out of interest I used to fly the Sikorsky S61N on the North Sea. When I first started flying it, it was rated as an amphibian and base checks required landing and rejected takeoffs onto water. A few years later they decided it was not suitable - it leaked a lot - and it lost its amphibian rating! Single engine rejects onto water were very flattering.
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Old 30th Nov 2019, 14:57
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It's surprisingly reassuring to fly amphibians in the winter. In the case of a forced landing, floats onto snow have a hope. We flew across the ice cap in Norway a few summers back, and most of the way, I could pick out a forced landing site had I needed it. I have landed an amphibious floatplane twice onto ice when one main wheel would not extend. Ironically, though they were two different planes, more than twenty years apart, it was exactly the same set of floats! I should have learned the first time!
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