Our fascination with float planes comes from time spent in Washington and Canada. We have used them repeatedly to start some of our favorite adventures, and plan to use them a lot more in the future.
“Float planes allow you to land in areas that are otherwise too rugged,” said pilot Ken Faught. “In mountain ranges, it’s usually too difficult to find a spot large enough to land a small plan. Even a small bush plane like a Super Cub can be challenging, so a smooth lake has become a very attractive option for a lot of pilots since the beginning of aviation history.”
Float planes come in all shapes and sizes and many of them are amphibious and allow both traditional tarmac landings as well as water landings. “The first time I was in a float plane I was riding in the front right seat,” said Faught. “I couldn’t believe how smooth it landed and how quickly the plane decelerated. I remember approaching the end of the lake and seeing a forest full of 100-foot-tall trees. I was thinking that we wouldn’t be able to stop in time, and boy was I wrong. The pilot was very skilled and explained that had he landed in the center of the lake, it would have taken him 20 minutes or so to taxi to the dock. I understood it, but it was a different experience than I had anticipated.”
Interestingly enough, a lot of adventurers use float planes to reach exotic locations in islands or in mountainous terrains. In the Pacific Northwest portion of the United States, float planes are an extremely popular mode of transportation and are commonly used to deliver supplies to people who live off the grid.
“I have actually strapped a dirt bike to the side of a float plane in Canada,” said Ken Faught. “I was up there doing a story for Dirt Rider magazine and a TV show for Outdoor Life Network, and the pilot said that he regularly straps refrigerators and stoves to the side of his Beaver floatplane.”
If you ever get a chance, you have to experience this thrill at least once in your life.