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Seaplane Rating TrainingThree Elements Of A Good Seaplane Rating Course
By Kyle Garrett
Seaplane rating training is some of most-enjoyable flight training available; in part thanks to the idyllic lakes that host the training, but also due to the cost-effectiveness of seaplane rating training. From private pilots to airline pilots, the rating is very popular as a way to build hours and add a little variety to their flying.
Look for seaplane rating training in aircraft you want to fly
Since most pilots travel somewhere to complete their seaplane rating training and considering that it only takes about 3 days, look for courses that offer training in the kind of aircraft you'd like to fly. For the average single engine pilot seeking an add-on rating, training in anything will be fun, a Lake Buccaneer or Super Cub are popular models. For enthusiasts of a particular type, this could mean looking for schools that specialize in an aircraft type, for example a Beaver or Grumman Goose. For multi-engine pilots seeking a multi-engine seaplane rating, find a school with multi-engine seaplanes, something like a Republic Seabee or Grumman Widgeon. Whatever your training goal, there is likely a school with a plane to match.
Look for seaplane rating training that is structured
Structure isn't something that sounds like fun, but a structured seaplane rating training program will ensure the successful completion of your training. It will still be fun, but you'll know exactly what you'll be doing and when. This allows you to prepare and keeps things on schedule, so that you do well on your check-ride. It also gives you a feel for how thorough the training is. Yes, there are test standards to be met, but if your training takes place on a single lake over two days, there isn't likely to be much variation in the conditions. Look for a structured program that provides plenty of variation. This shouldn't be too difficult, as most popular training destinations have hundreds of places to land only a short flight away.
Look for seaplane rating training at a school with a staff examiner
Regarding the check-ride, look for a school with an examiner on staff. This isn't an attempt to "guarantee a pass," but rather, to guarantee a check-ride on schedule. The trouble with quick training, like seaplane rating training, is that you'd likely need to schedule an independent check-ride well before you did the training to ensure that it happened on schedule. If the school has an examiner on staff, it is typically a planned part of the training; you can schedule the check-ride an hour before you take off. The examiner still reports to the FAA, but you don't have to be worked into their schedule.
There are plenty of good seaplane rating training programs all over the country. If you keep these things in mind while shopping around, you are sure to find yourself in a beautiful place for one of the most fun days of flying you can have.