CHAPTER 2 —Principles of Seaplanes


In the air, seaplanes fly much like landplanes. The additional weight and drag of the floats decrease the airplane’s useful load and performance compared to the same airplane with wheels installed. On many airplanes, directional stability is affected to some extent by the installation of floats. This is caused by the length of the floats and the location of their vertical surface area in relation to the airplane’s CG. Because the floats present such a large vertical area ahead of the CG, they may tend to increase any yaw or sideslip. To help restore directional stability, an auxiliary fin is often added to the tail. Less aileron pressure is needed to hold the seaplane in a slip. Holding some rudder pressure may be required to maintain coordination in turns, since the cables and springs for the water rudders may tend to prevent the air rudder from streamlining in a turn.

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