Seaplanes are widely used around the world, but in India, it hasn’t been able to see much light. However, the government of India is planning to bring seaplanes to the spotlight. A few years back I read the news, “Modi govt plans over 100 routes for seaplane services: Civil aviation and waterways ministries have signed MoU to develop seaplane services. At least 28 routes awarded so far under UDAN scheme & bids are under evaluation for 78 more.”
At least 28 seaplane routes have been awarded so far under the Regional Connectivity Scheme-UDAN, and 14 water aerodromes based in Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep are at various stages of development, at a cost of Rs 450 crore, according to the government. Though this news was back in 2021, its still in its initial phases.
India’s first seaplane operations between Sabarmati river front and the Statue of Unity launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2020 is facing an uncertain future due to the rising cost in maintenance and operations.
In any rising industry there will be a few glitches initially, but i think seaplanes will grow in the future. The government is going to bring this industry up really soon as they plan to build 14 water aerodromes by 2024.
REQUIREMENTS to become a seaplane pilot
Listing out the requirements needed to become a seaplane pilot if you hold Indian nationality.
- The applicant must have a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) in the fixed airplane category.
- Applicant must have a rating for the type of airplane similar to that of the seaplane.
An applicant for a seaplane rating must have completed a total of 10 (ten) hours of seaplane training, including:.
- minimum of 5 (five) hours dual instruction, and
- minimum of 5 (five) take-offs and landings as sole occupant of the seaplane, except for 2 (two) crew aircraft, in which case the take- offs and landings must have been done as pilot-in-command (PIC).
Also the applicant must have carried out the following exercises during the seaplane training:
(C) docking, (action leading to mooring a seaplane safely on water)
(D) take-offs, and
(E) landings, and
(F) as conditions exist,operations on normal water, rough water and in crosswind conditions.
- Applicant must have attended ground training classes on the subject (as in para 3 of this CAR) at DGCA approved Training Institutes or approved Defence Training Establishments.
- Within the 12 months preceding the date of application for a seaplane rating, an applicant must have successfully completed a qualifying seaplane training programme under the supervision of a qualified instructor (as in para 3 of this CAR).
The applicant must have demonstrated compliance with relevant requirements of CAR Section 7 Series ‘C’ Part I.
Ground training program
An Indian applicant must have successfully attended a ground training programme under the supervision of a seaplane instructor and must have undergone class room training on the following aspects:-.
(i) Detailed description and salient features of seaplane (such as hulls, floats, their functions, etc.).
(ii) All possible operational aspects of seaplane.
(iii) Preflight briefing.
(iv) Passenger briefing content both in general and in case of eventualities (like positions of exits in case seaplane is inverted).
(v) Any other important instructions deemed necessary in the programme.
In addition to the ground training programme, pilots prior to being allowed, shall pass pilot familiarization orientation programme which shall include at least the following :.
(i) familiarization with water body conditions to include difference between landing on a calm lake and landing in lagoon/ river/ sea; difference between landings and takeoffs and awareness on optical illusions.
(ii) familiarization with wind conditions
(iii) familiarization with salinity levels in water and corrosion of floats
(iv) familiarization with mooring techniques
(v) familiarization with deployment of life rafts, steerage of life rafts,
survival techniques in water, dealing with hyperthermia etc.
Before being allowed to conduct seaplane operation for the first time as a flight crew, a check flight shall be conducted by a DGCA approved and nominated examiner pilot. During the check flight special emphasis shall be on preflight/ passenger briefing done by the seaplane pilot. The check shall be recorded in the pilot log book and training records.
If you have a CPL and you do not have a job, this would be a real good option to consider. In many other countries, seaplanes are being extensively operated. It’s just a matter of time, when the seaplane business will flourish in India. I hope you enjoyed reading.
For further information check out www.dgca.gov.in.