Confined Area Operations

taking off in a small lake seaplane

A few notes about confined areas:

  • You can generally land shorter than you can takeoff
    • You might not be able to takeoff at all from a tiny lake you land on (don’t be that guy)
    • If you think you landed somewhere too tiny to takeoff, leave it to someone more skilled to get the plane out, or call the helicopter to lift it out of there.  Don’t be the guy that runs into the trees or shoreline.  Helicopter retrievals are still cheaper than most funerals.
  • Some big areas are actually “confined”, i.e. wind, obstacles, unusable water (shallow water or obstacles in the water), etc. can all make what looks like a large area actually a lot smaller in practicality.
  • Be VERY realistic (maybe even a little pessimistic) about your aircraft’s ability, your ability, and the overall environmental conditions.  Increasing your margin of error never hurts.
  • “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line”.  This is why we fly airplanes for transportation.  This is also why we do not try to make our takeoff path in a straight line, we curve it to “buy” ourselves more room and increase our safety margin.
  • Confined area operations are very much the same for float or hull airplanes.