Its Fun... Most people that earn a seaplane rating will tell you that it was the most fun they have ever had both flying and earning a pilot rating.
Expand your horizons... Earning your seaplane rating will open new horizons teaching pilots greater skills flying low and slow close to the ground and water. Each landing and you takeoff that you do in a seaplane will be different, unlike land flying where most pilots operate on paved surfaces that are smooth, long and obstruction free, landing on water is challenging. The water's surface condition must be read, boat and marine traffic must be accounted for an avoided, water depth must be read, in water and out of water obstructions must be identified, and boating skills must be mastered to dock ramp and beach a seaplane.
Set yourself apart... Less than with less than 3% of pilots are seaplane rated, and those that have earned a seaplane rating and have seaplane flight experience are highly regarded by not only fellow peer pilots, but also employees of professional pilots.
Adventure.... Seaplanes do not require runways and 80% of the earth is covered in water. So while land flying requires humans to build a runway whether it is a dirt runway or a paved runway. Seaplanes are the truest form of back country flying, and require no surface preparation. This means that they are more remote and even non-remote lakes, rivers, and even oceans become destinations and accessible to those that have gone the extra mile to earn a seaplane rating. This means there will never be as many runways as there are bodies of water for seaplanes to operate from.
As with any activity or skill, some people will find earning a seaplane easier and more natural than others. Overall, most will tell you developing the skills needed to earn the rating were not that hard. This will be especially true of those that are used to flying tailwheel, stick or aerobatic aircraft and that have sharp stick and rudder skills.
Most pilots will choose to obtain a single engine land pilots license before, seeking a single engine seaplane license as an add on rating. To earn a seaplane rating, you must demonstrate proficiency. There is no set level of experience for the rating. Six to eight flight hours is enough time for most pilots to become proficient, but this will vary with each seaplane pilot student and the expectations set by their flight instructor and examiner.
If one chooses to receive their initial single engine private license in a seaplane, they will have to not only meet the requirements of the single engine private pilots license, but they will also have to demonstrate the proficiency required to obtain the single engine seaplane rating.
Sport Pilot Sea Endorsement
Sport pilots can fly LSA intended for water operations with training and an endorsement from a seaplane-rated CFI. (Note, for amphibs with conventional gear for land use, SeaRey and Aventura, for example, you’ll have to add the tailwheel endorsement if you don’t have it already.)
To get the single-engine sea class rating, you must:
• Receive a logbook endorsement from an authorized CFI certifying aeronautical knowledge and flight proficiency;
• Successfully complete a proficiency check from an authorized CFI other than the one you trained with;
• Complete FAA Form 8710-11 for the new privilege and present this application to the authorized CFI who conducted the proficiency check;
The Sport Pilot certificate was created in September 2004 after years of work by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). The intent of the new rule was to lower the barriers of entry into aviation and make flying more affordable and accessible.
The new rule also created the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category of aircraft, which are smaller, lower-powered aircraft. The sport pilot certificate offers limited privileges mainly for recreational use. It is the only powered aircraft certificate that does not require a medical certificate; a valid vehicle driver's license can be used as proof of medical competence provided the prospective pilot was not rejected for their last Airman Medical Certificate.
Before a trainee can start the solo phase of flight training, a Student Sport Pilot Certificate must be issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These may be obtained from an FAA Flight Standards District Office or FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.
To qualify for the Sport Pilot Certificate, an applicant must:
• Be at least 16 years of age (14 for glider or balloon)
• Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
• Log at least 20 hours of flight time, of which at least 15 hours must be dual instruction with a qualified flight instructor, 2 hours must be cross-country dual instruction and 5 hours must be solo flight
• Fly one solo cross-country flight over a total distance of 75 or more nautical miles to two different destinations to a full-stop landing. At least one leg of this cross-country must be over a total distance of at least 25 nautical miles (46 km).
• Have received 2 hours of dual instruction in the preceding 60 days, in preparation for the Practical Test
• Pass a Knowledge (written) test
• Pass a Practical (oral and flight) test
• Have a valid US State drivers license or a current 3rd class or higher Airman Medical Certificate
Sport Pilots are only eligible to fly aircraft that are either certified specifically as light-sport aircraft (LSA) or were certified prior to the LSA regulations and are within the maximum weight and performance limitations of light-sport aircraft.
The restrictions placed on a pilot exercising the privileges of a Sport pilot certificate are:
• No more than one passenger
• Daytime flight only (civil twilight is used to define day/night)
The Sport pilot certificate is also ineligible for additional ratings (such as an Instrument rating), although time in light-sport aircraft can be used towards the experience requirement of other ratings on higher certificate types.