Rough Water Landing


Some say during rough water landings, it is better to land in a “flatter” pitch to allow the floats to “slice” through the waves rather than beat against them with the bottom sections.  This is often debated, but mostly comes down to the type of floats you have and what airplane you are flying.  Discuss this with your instructor and other experience seaplane pilots familiar with the equipment you will be flying.

What is Rough?

Rough water is a very relative term.  A number of factors determine how “rough” waves will be:

  • Wave height
  • Wind (intensity)
  • Fetch (distance over which the wind acts on the water)
  • Wave period (time or distance between two wave crests)
  • Swell
  • Boat wakes
  • etc.

The more time you spend on the water the better you will understand it.  Spending time on paddle boards, kayaks, powerboats, sailboats, etc. all help you become a better seaplane pilot.  Simply understand that you absolutely must set your personal minimums according to your skill and experience level, and add a safe margin of error to those minimums.