Confined Area Landing

Confined area landings are pretty straight forward when you’re just talking about a small lake.  Landing in “confined” canyons or rivers is something we’ll cover in an advanced course.  Obviously, a half-mile long lake with no trees may be less confined than a 3/4 mile long lake with 100′ trees on either side.  Here are a few key items to think about when you’re landing in a smaller body of water:

  • Treat it like a short field landing in a land airplane, approaching full flaps, lower than normal approach speed, carrying in the airplane with a little bit of power
  • If you think it’s really tight to land in, most likely it will be even “tighter” to takeoff from.  It’s all too easy to land in a lake too small to takeoff from.
  • Have an abort point and stick to it
  • Make sure you have a go-around option.  Trying to land in a seaplane without an available go-around is NOT “stacking the deck in your favor”
  • Be aware of how the wind will flow around things like trees, large rocks, the shoreline, etc.  Landing in a confined area with no wind is unlikely as that would require a “glassy water” approach which is quite the opposite of a confined area approach