On Tuesday, The News Tribune reported on an incident involving a floatplane crashing into the driveway of a Lakewood home. What exactly is a floatplane?
The News Tribune explains what’s up with this particular type of aircraft, according to vehicle publication Lemon Bin.
What is a floatplane?
A floatplane is a subcategory of aircraft of one known as a seaplane, which are vehicles designed to land and take off on bodies of water. It stays afloat on its hull, which is shaped much like a boat’s belly. The seaplane was invented in the early 1900s and went on to play a significant role in World War II.
The other two categories of seaplanes are called flying boats and amphibious aircrafts, but technical advancements and improved aircraft designs have for the most part made flying boats and amphibious aircrafts outdated forms of aviation.
The floatplane, also called the pontoon plane, contains features that aren’t present in all seaplanes. For instance, this vehicle is capable of landing on both land and water.
Difference between seaplane and floatplane
What separates a floatplane from any other kind of aircraft are the tube-shaped pontoons fixed in place of the wheels. A pontoon is similar to a float and is shaped like a boat to reduce water drag. Pontoons are what grant the plane buoyancy while on bodies of water.
What are seaplanes used for?
Typically, pilots will want to fly a floatplane when they’re traveling to more remote locations where bodies of water are abundant. Washington serves as a great gateway site for flying in Canada, Idaho, Montana and return points for pilots who fly to Alaska, according to the Seaplane Pilots Association.