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Flying Floats is Fun!


An RC pilot’s guide to flying off water

When most RC modelers decide to try flying off water the question arises, “So which is better: a floatplane or a flying boat?” A floatplane, where the fuselage is sitting up on two floats, is probably easier to control during takeoff, but a flying boat, where the lower section of the fuselage is shaped like a boat’s hull, seems more forgiving when it comes to landing and taxiing in windy or choppy conditions. Flying boats are less likely to tip over when flying in rough waters than floatplanes. It is especially important to turn around when landing in the wind. A flying boat is safe in the water in windy conditions, but when a floatplane turns out of the wind, it doesn’t take too much wind under a wing or the tail to flip it on its back, especially for light high-wing models. Flying boats have a single-hull design, so they need floats under their wings that extend outwards toward the wingtips. Some flying boats also use sponsons, which are attached to the sides and look like short lower wings near the waterline. For RC flying, however, sponsons don’t give sufficient buoyancy to keep the wingtips out of the water while taxiing crosswind.

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