Float Plane selection - new pilot

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by VoiceOfReason, Nov 24, 2022 at 8:43 AM.

  1. VoiceOfReason

    VoiceOfReason Filing Flight Plan

    Sep 27, 2022

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    Of course way ahead of myself and abilities. Cant help it. Half way into flight training and spending too much time on trade-a-plane and controller. I already know it's gonna need to be a float plane, as I live in two places and both are on or near water. Which are viable options as a new pilot ?

    Obv. need plenty of time flying rental planes first, but is it so bad to at least get informed on options ?

    172 on floats is clearly a 'simple' option, but small and really slow, which may get frustrating later.

    That brings us to the C 185 or maybe a more modern C 206. I am surprised by how expensive this option is. Also I cannot help but be attracted by the cool factor of a deHavilland beaver (sim. pricing to 206). Yesterday on a visit to jack Browns seaplane base, I saw a C195 on floats that was hard to look away from-- kinda similar to the old Beaver, without the pedigree- and a bit smaller. And certainly waaaay less $

    How important is plane 'age' in this process ? Are these old (assume fully renovated) planes hard to fly compared to a more modern (say, 1999-2004) Cessna 206 ?

    What am I not thinking of in this process ? Basically I need a plane that can do 200 mile trips to the cottage and be fun for exploring water-accessible places all year around
  2. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

    Jan 3, 2007
    Western Washington

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    "Age" is immaterial. It is ALL condition.
  3. Abram

    Abram Pre-takeoff checklist

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fort Lauderdale

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    I got my seaplane rating about three years ago and can honestly say that it was the most fun I have had flying an airplane in years. And I really have fun flying airplanes!!!! I did it low and slow in a Piper Cub and the experience was amazing. In fact, I think it is time for me to get back there and get current.

    I have a lake house and have considered getting a float plane to use there, but in all honesty, I do not think they are practical for travel, so I will just keep on renting.

    Enjoy every step of your journey.

    Abram Finkelstein
  4. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    May 7, 2016
    Central Florida

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    Half Fast


    It tends to be very expensive for a new pilot on floats, if you can get it at all.

    The seaplane pilot’s association is headquartered in the FBO at KGIF, next door to Jack Brown’s. Stop in, talk with them a bit, and join.
  5. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser!

    Jun 7, 2008

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    Light and Sporty Guy
    Given that a brand *** new Cessna 206 has pretty much the same aerodynamics as a 120 from the 1940's (except for flaps and gear), no. Not much harder to fly. Well, you may have to use the foot rests a bit, but not a big deal.
    Eric Pauley likes this.
  6. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach

    Apr 19, 2011
    Olympic Peninsula

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    The Beaver is the nicest flying airplane I have ever flown. If you have the means, you can’t go wrong with the Beaver.

    9514B801-8FA0-435B-8BBD-D1BB5A61D946.jpeg E767534F-5789-4931-AB21-BF7F455175EC.jpeg
    mandm likes this.
  7. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

    Nov 21, 2014
    Wasilla, AK

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    What’s the mission? The most fun float plane I’ve flown is a 160hp Cub. Not fast and only carries one passenger but a great performer. A Hawk XP is a good choice if you can find one. 180s and 185s are good, too, on the right floats.
  8. pilotrick

    pilotrick Pre-takeoff checklist

    Dec 7, 2016

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    Insurance will be very expensive if you can get it. I'd start with a husky (or similar) on floats and work your way up to a larger plane. A major advantage is you can buy the plane now and finish your training then slap on the floats.
  9. Rikochet

    Rikochet Filing Flight Plan

    Feb 22, 2015

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    What is your mission? Me personally is salmon fishing, economical flying, site seeing, having fun, getting in/out of tight spots. You have to think cost per hour and what you can live with and afford.
    8 years ago I bought my 172M on floats and fly it 100+ hours per season and it has been the best purchase in my life. I have friends with Murphy Rebels, Beavers, 182, 185, and amphibs. All awesome planes but none fit my mission as good as my 172.
    If you want to take more than 1 person then a 172 on floats isnt for you. But the cost goes up dramatically.
    I am happy with 90kts and 6 GPH of premium mogas. I have 5+ hours of range which fits my mission perfectly for my summer trip fishing up north.
    Performance on/off the water also with my 172 fits nicely. 1500' loaded with gear and full fuel is all I need. By myself its down 500-600 feet. I can do circuits easily under 30 seconds having a blast and honing my skills.
    Think about what you want,what you need and what you can afford and then write it down and it will narrow your search. I have flown in all the above airplanes and I wouldnt trade my 172 for any of them.
    Capngrog likes this.
  10. Kent Wien

    Kent Wien Pre-takeoff checklist

    Jul 9, 2019
    New York

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    Straight floats (without retractable gear) is far easier to insure. I know a high time pilot with a new Icon that is paying $38,000 a year to insure until he gets 100 hours in type. After that the premiums drop 50 percent.
    MountainDude likes this.