Basic Floatplane Skills

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Preflight Inspection

Preflight inspection of a floatplane is generally similar to that of a landplane. The major difference is the inspection of the floats. Floats, wires, attachment gear and ropes must be thoroughly checked for holes, buckling, damaged fittings and extensive wear.

The floats themselves should be inspected before each flight for possible leakage. Water in the float compartments can adversely affect water handling and flight characteristics including a shift in the aircraft’s center of gravity.

Individual compartments should be pumped out through the built-in bilge pump-outs by a hand-operated bilge pump. Always count the number of “strokes” in order to estimate the amount of water present. The step compartment will typically contain the most water because it is constructed with the most seams and rivets.

The water rudders are located at the rear of the floats and should be inspected for movement and connection to the air rudder and for their ability to be raised for flight. Thoroughly inspect the cables, pulleys and connectors for freedom of movement and signs of wear.

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