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Multimedia - Wheels Down Water Landing

Worlds Safest Amphibian

Landing on water with your wheels down is a confirmed aviation no-no. Land planes that try it often get flipped over and upside down, when escaping the cabin becomes a real concern. Every seaplane pilot I know has a mantra he or she repeats, “I’m landing on water so the wheels must be up.”

Most simply don’t want to make this mistake. You can land a seaplane or floatplane on land with the wheels up. The penalty is not as great (and you’ll certainly stop fast). However, you violate the wheels-into-water rule at your peril.

Some airplanes, like the new CTLS on amphib floats, FPNA’s Capetown, or SeaRey have a light-alert system to help you, while some manufacturers offer an audio alarm. Others use mirrors or have other warning systems.

So why would someone land a SeaMax in water with the wheels down? Deliberately? And for the camera? To test the results — and a YouTube video shows what a non-event this is. (You also might enjoy hearing the camera audio continue working even when it gets dunked.)

While you still don’t want to repeat this if you can avoid it, the video proves that, done with experience, the maneuver may not upset the SeaMax. The amphibious LSA benefits from sitting low in the water, so the rotating action of gear hanging down well below the fuselage is less of a problem.A SeaMax launches from the water (gear up, of course).

As the trusty, always-working camera shows, the pilot raised the gear before takeoff. Trying to launch gear down would be a futile effort from all the in-water drag it would impart.

By Dan Johnson


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