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The Wrong Way to Get Seaplane Training

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Hi, I am Adrian, you may know me from TikTok or Twitch as Cheesepilot/Cheezepilot.

I am an airline pilot with thousands of hours in over 20 different aircraft. I have type ratings in the A320, CL65, and the EMB-145. I have also flown some aircraft you may be familiar with like the C172 and the Piper Seminole just to name a few. My other ratings include flight instructor, instrument instructor, multi-engine instructor, and even my seaplane rating. That seaplane

rating and the story of how I got it is what I want to talk to you about today.

Many pilots get to a point in their career in which they stop training beyond their required yearly recurrent. I ended up finding myself in this exact position and saw that I was losing my passion for aviation and even started to get complacent which is obviously dangerous. I also noticed that Seaplane flying, especially in flying boats, were dying in aviation. This is my story about searching for and buying my own seaplane along with getting the training. It involves airplanes from as far as Alaska (I even looked in Australia a couple times). After countless calls, pre-buy inspections and even an engine failure I finally ended up back home with my very own seaplane.

At the time I was just a E145 First Officer for a regional airline, and it seemed like the majors were never going to call and my jet was being parked so getting an upgrade anytime soon was a distant dream. My followers across social media were pretty determined to fix that for me. Many people made the suggestion I start a Go Fund me to help with the down payment of an airplane. With the help of my followers, we raised around $15,000 towards the down payment of financing an airplane. I looked at Mooney and Cessna and a few Archers and even looked at a few experimental airplanes, but they all seemed limited to pavement for the most part and you would still need a form of transportation when you ended up getting out of the plane. I came up with the brilliant idea of a seaplane.

So, the decision was made to purchase an amphibious seaplane. If you go to Trade-a-Plane right now any amphibious airplane on floats that's worth looking into if you aren't an A&P is in the range of $200-300K or more when looking at traditional airplanes on amphibious floats. I was getting discouraged because these were obviously out of my price range, and I was starting to think airplanes were out of my budget and that I wasn't going to be able to get out there and help. Then I found in my opinion the holy grail of affordability and possibility when it comes to amphibious planes. You may be thinking about a C172 on floats given that over 40 thousand C172s have been made making them common and hopefully cheap,

or even thinking the Icon A5 it's a light sport aircraft requiring little training and only a sport pilot's certificate, but you'd be wrong again.

I found the Lake aircraft series by way of Joel on TikTok.

Pardon me for a moment while I geek out about the Lake aircraft. The original amphibious aircraft made by the Lake company was the C1 and C2 with only 2 seats only a little over 300 pounds of payload and had a max cruise of only 90 knots.

This was manufactured between the years 1948 and 1959, obviously this isn't the holy grail I was speaking of.

I found a Lake 200 EP with 200 horsepower a cruise of 110 knots, 4 seats, and 550 pounds of useful load while carrying 54 gallons of gas taking you just shy of 600 miles on a full tank.

By FlugKerl2 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The engine, a 200 hp Lycoming IO-360 A1B6, is mounted up top in a pusher configuration making it an interesting airplane to fly given the centerline of thrust is above the center of gravity.

Now the Lake wasn't my initial choice when it came to amphibious planes. Come back next week for the story of how I flew down to Texas to test fly an experimental that ended up with the fire department getting called.

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