An Amphibious Float is a large, boat shaped device that takes the place of an aircraft’s landing gear, allowing the airplane to land and take-off on water. These types of aircraft are usually referred to as float planes of flying boats, and usually have retractable wheels within the float in case a ground landing is required.
While these aircraft are slower than most because of the increased drag caused by the large floats below the aircraft, they are very versatile and can be landed anywhere that has a large and relatively calm body of water. Float planes are common in “Bush” regions where there is a very low density of people per square mile, and therefore no established runways to land on.
Amphibious aircraft can have a variety of uses, from search and rescue missions in remote locations, fire-fighting aircraft, or recreational transportation for hunters or adventure seekers. A light plane with floats attached can carry a few hunters out into a wilderness region for a few days to go big-game hunting, or fly people out to their remote cabin on a lake to spend some time away from civilization. Fire-fighting aircraft can land in a bay and pump water into its tanks, then take off and dump the water onto a raging forest fire.
Amphibious Aircraft are a unique sight in aviation, and are just another example of the specialized role of aircraft in our society.