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Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 3:52 am

Does anyone have experience adding float training to a flying club’s curriculum? A well established lower mainland (Canada) school needs convincing that this is a good idea. Maybe I’m crazy.

I have an ulterior motive. It is that I want to instruct on floatplanes...


Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 12:21 pm

In terms of making float training available to the members? We looked at this for a club that I was in prior to purchasing the Force with some partners. In short, the insurance is very expensive and the hourly cost becomes prohibitive for the members. I remember the guy that owned our club talking about it and saying the hourly "rental" would have to go up to around $250/hr to make it pay for itself. Not to mention you basically take another plane away from the club's greater population all summer, so it can't produce money for the club there, either.

I think it's really tough for a larger membership to justify it simply due to the insurance, which tends to distinguish between partnerships and "flying clubs" at around 5+ members. Smaller partnerships seem to do better, though I did run into a group this past weekend that has 11 members in on a 172XP. If you could get a group of existing seaplane pilots into the club, that might help, though I would still think it'd need to remain a "club within a club" to get any sort of break on the insurance premiums...

Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 1:16 pm

The Boeing affiliated flying club in the Seattle/Renton area had/has a 172XP on floats the last I knew. When I checked I think it was a 25 hour requirement to solo in it, which is probably what kept it airworthy for years. I'd give them a call and get details.

Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 4:13 pm

My experience, especially trying to set up Seaplane Partnerships, which would be similar to a Small Club, is the cost of insurance and the Make and Model time requirements. Then with a club add to it the income verses the cost of getting an aircraft, putting it on floats and getting enough rental hours to justify. There are more places to go for that old $100.00 Burger on wheels than on floats. But, good luck.


Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 5:05 pm

RKittine wrote:There are more places to go for that old $100.00 Burger on wheels than on floats.

Actually, there are probably more restaurants on lakes in MN than on airports (or close to them). :D

All true points. Our partnership works only because it's under 6 people. I think the insurance increases exponentially after that, as do the state regulatory requirements (club reporting, etc.). 4-5 people on a seaplane isn't bad, though - it's working out really nicely for us so far.

Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 6:20 pm

Hi Tri Pacer,
Thanks. Students and rental pilots alike join the club as members and pay very low (in my opinion) membership fees. With a fleet of 25(?) aircraft, and options from PPL through to ATPL with all the additional ratings, I would call this a “large membership”.

Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 6:36 pm

Hello CFII,
Thanks for the contact. I will give the Boeing club a shout and see how they make it work. It is good to be reminded about minimum hour requirements for solo flight...

Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 7:04 pm

G’day RKittine,
The cost of insurance is definitely a recurring theme on seaplaneforum. I will take this information and forward it to the “powers that be”. BTW, I do miss a good burger!

Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 19, 2014 8:06 pm

Do owners of float equiped aircraft put their machines on "flight lines" (leasing to a school/club)? I think I can already guess the answer...

Re: Expertise Needed

Tue May 20, 2014 6:58 am

I have seen some leaseback seaplanes. Cost are the same plus then the owner gets some money, but most leasebacks are down to reduce the cost of ownership rather than to make a profit. That being said, it does of course depend on the use. I bought a brand new C-172 in 1985 for $74,500.00 and put it on the line at Ramapo Valley Airport, where I taught. Knowing all the instructors there and being a new plane with some features not yet common on rental airplanes it averaged over 100 hours of use a month and made a tidy profit. If a seaplane is seasonal and has restrictions on rental, I would think the use times would be low. Have also had 4 twins on leaseback that used as trainers returned a profit, but again back in the 80s and early 90s when flying had not declined to the point it has today.


Re: Expertise Needed

Tue May 20, 2014 12:05 pm

Every lake with more the 100 boat owners has a place to eat on the water.


Re: Expertise Needed

Mon May 26, 2014 6:59 pm

Not to crap on your parade;but if you mean the lower mainland as in British Columbia we have 3 float training facilities here on my home airport of Pitt Meadows.Pacific Rim had a very highly experienced instructor that still had trouble on the Frazer River & ended up perishing in their 172 on Pitt Lake.Fort Langley rents a cessna 180 for instruction & solo adventures but even they have had mishaps.Insurance costs are high & you need to have experience to teach float as common sense isn't all that common.Not sure what time you have on floats but it is very rare for low time float instructors to get insurance & get work.

Not trying to be mean,just trying to give you a head's up.



Re: Expertise Needed

Wed May 28, 2014 2:05 am


Honest, straight forward answers are what I am asking for (that is why I posted on this forum). I suspect the person I spoke with recognizes the reality of float training (in BC) and maybe that is why it isn’t on offer. I just said I would ask around for the club.

As for myself, I am a newbie on the water (10 hrs in an amphibious Beaver). Instructing on floats is a longer term goal, and since water flying is so much fun, I hope to consolidate some passions.

I wonder how the accident rates compare...single engine on wheels vs. straight floats??

Re: Expertise Needed

Wed May 28, 2014 2:15 am

Rated !!.JPG
No shoes required! Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia.

Re: Expertise Needed

Wed May 28, 2014 9:10 am

Wind in his Hair wrote:.....As for myself, I am a newbie on the water (10 hrs in an amphibious Beaver).

Start at the top and work down. :lol:

Re: Expertise Needed

Wed May 28, 2014 6:54 pm

Everyone I have ever met(insurance brokers) tells me that low time pilots on floatplanes kill people,I always conter with I didn't kill anyone when I started flying my 185 with a grand total of 7 hours on floats.I ended up buying my own floatplane to fly because I couldn't get anyone to rent anything to me without 500 hours on floats in type.
If you're near Piit Meadows I'll buy ya a coffee & chat float flying -definitely a beautiful way to make a living.
Flying wheels is safest for insurance companies,next up the risk ladder is straight floats & ringing the fire bell is the amphib.You can reduce your costs &their risk by limiting seats until you get some time under your belt.


Re: Expertise Needed

Wed May 28, 2014 7:54 pm

Every added 50 hours on floats I logged, my insurance would drop slightly and the In Motion Deductible would drop.

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