July 2007

When Boats Fly

Are You ‘Up’ For A Seaplane License?

By Margie Anderson

If you've ever been on the water when a seaplane lands, you know the excitement it generates. Seaplanes are common in places like Alaska, but here in Arizona there are only a couple dozen of them, so seeing one is a fairly rare experience.

Arizona bass pro Brett Hite saw one land on Roosevelt a few weeks ago, and he said it was “pretty cool.” He stopped to watch, as did the boaters around him.

Tod Dickey is a seaplane pilot who would like to see Lake Pleasant and some of our other lakes opened to seaplanes. Dickey says that the Forest Service recently closed the Tonto National Forest lakes (except for Roosevelt) to seaplanes, so now they are only allowed to land on Roosevelt, Lake Mary, Mormon Lake, and the Colorado River lakes.

Dickey says that seaplane pilots would like to be able to use Lake Pleasant during the winter and on weekdays in the summer. “Wind is a major factor with seaplanes, so you'd probably only see them in the early morning on Pleasant,” says Dickey. After that, the wind that makes Pleasant so good for sailboats would make it not so good for the seaplanes.

It takes about 300 to 500 feet for a seaplane to stop once it touches down, and about 1,000 feet to take off, says Dickey. Seaplane pilots cruise around on the water or sometimes pull up to shore.

Arizonans who might be interested in earning a seaplane license can visit www.shebleaviation.com for more information.