Glassy Water Takeoff

A few tips on glassy water takeoffs and decreasing your takeoff distance:

  • Step taxi around the lake and rough up the surface
  • Use aileron to help “roll” a float off the water, reducing the water drag to just one float (be ready to control your direction with rudder as you introduce the yawing tendency from more drag on one float)
  • “tug” the flaps to a higher setting to help the aircraft break free of the water (this is much easier in manual flap aircraft, and may be more hazardous in electric flap aircraft)
  • Wait for wind
  • Unload weight from the aircraft
  • Maintain a positive rate of climb after leaving the water (think pitch and power).  Experience seaplane pilots have accidentally flown back into the water surface after making a clean glassy water takeoff (it often results in flipping the aircraft)