Amphibious aircraft have captured the attention of young and old alike for...
Amphibious Aircraft Are Versatile, Powerful, and Work Hard Amphibious aircraft have captured the attention of young and old alike for decades. The ability to fly is one thing, but the ability to touch down on land or on water is a versatile feature that has set these airplanes apart from the rest for decades. Amphibious aircraft do just as their name implies - they can take off and land from either solid land or from a body of water. With a variety of unique characteristics that enable this, from a hull-shaped main fuselage to outriggers, to special wing designs and hull strakes, these airplanes find use in some of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on Earth. Alaskan bush pilots love amphibious aircraft for their ability to touch down just about anywhere - a feature important when contending with the rough conditions and unpredictable weather patterns of the North. Those that live in remote areas and have quick access to a lake or calm body of water can use these types of airplanes as personal taxis, ferrying them to and from town with ease. Many have retractable wheels and permanent floats, which allow for takeoff and landing on multiple surfaces, during the same flight.
Who Are The Significant Manufacturers of This Type of Aircraft? Perhaps the most iconic of the amphibious aircraft makers is De Havilland Canada. The DHC Otter is a rugged, powerful, and dependable airplane designed to go places lesser craft would not dare. With a WASP radial engine delivering between 450 and 750 horsepower, seating for up to a dozen passengers, and a propeller geared to enhance the prodigious torque of the 1,340 cubic inch motor, the Otter is truly adept at the Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) needs of those that patrol the Northern Territories. The Otter is in use by almost every military and domestic patrol agency across the world - a testament to the effectiveness of this design.
Cessna, no stranger to the small aircraft market, has enjoyed immense success around its 185A airplane. A six seat, single engine airplane, the 185A is frequently seen outfitted with floats or skis - enabling it to go from three wheeled traditional airplane, to an amphibious Cessna aircraft. The 185A is powered by a 300 hp motor and drives that power through a 6'10" 2-blade prop. With generous seating capacity and a reputation for getting into and out of places that require STOL capabilities, the Cessna 185A is a fantastic choice for those seeking amphibious capability.
While De Havilland and Cessna are unarguably the two most popular manufacturers of amphibious airplanes, there are several other makes that are equally adept at STOL maneuvers in a variety of environments.
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