This operational handbook introduces the basic skills necessary for piloting seaplanes, skiplanes, and helicopters equipped with floats or skis. It is developed by the Flight Standards Service, Airman Testing Standards Branch, in cooperation with various aviation educators and industry.

This handbook is primarily intended to assist pilots who already hold private or commercial certificates and who are learning to fly seaplanes, skiplanes, or helicopters equipped for water or ski operations. It is also beneficial to rated seaplane pilots who wish to improve their proficiency, pilots preparing for flights using ski equipped aircraft, and flight instructors engaged in the instruction of both student and transitioning pilots. It introduces the future seaplane or skiplane pilot to the realm of water operations and cold weather operations, and provides information on the performance of procedures required for the addition of a sea class rating in airplanes. Information on general piloting skills, aeronautical knowledge, or flying techniques not directly related to water or cold weather operations are beyond the scope of this book, but are available in other Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications. This handbook conforms to pilot training and certification concepts established by the FAA. There are different ways of teaching, as well as performing specific operating procedures, and many variations in the explanations of operating from water, snow, and ice. This handbook is not comprehensive, but provides a basic knowledge that can serve as a foundation on which to build further knowledge. The discussion and explanations reflect commonly used practices and principles. Occasionally the word “must" or similar language is used where the desired action is deemed critical. The use of such language is not intended to add to, interpret, or relieve a duty imposed by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).

It is essential for persons using this handbook to also become familiar with and apply the pertinent parts of 14 CFR and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). The AIM is available online at Performance standards for demonstrating competence required for the seaplane rating are prescribed in the appropriate practical test standard.

The current Flight Standards Service airman training and testing material and subject matter knowledge codes for all airman certificates and ratings can be obtained from the Flight Standards Service web site at

The FAA greatly appreciates the valuable assistance provided by many individuals and organizations throughout the aviation community whose expertise contributed to the preparation of this handbook.

This handbook supercedes Chapters 16 and 17 of FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook, dated 1999. This handbook is available for download from the Flight Standards Service Web site at This Web site also provides information about availability of printed copies.

This handbook is published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Airman Testing Standards Branch, AFS-630, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. Comments regarding this handbook should be sent in e-mail form to

AC 00-2, Advisory Circular Checklist, transmits the current status of FAA advisory circulars and other flight information and publications. This checklist is available via the Internet at

 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                                                                                                      Contact Us              Return To Books

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator