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Get Your Floats Ready for the Season

Rachel Norman

Preventing flying issues ensures happy flying moments and is key to a great time on the waterways. At the beginning of the float flying season, airplane owners need to run a check on their airplane to ensure all is well with their floatplane.

Top things to check every float season:

  • Check the overall appearance of float hulls and rigging. Inspect for any obvious damage or signs of corrosion to any
    components or attachment points and fittings.
  • Check that all pump out plugs are installed.
  • Inspect pump out cups and tubes.   Make sure they are attached and are free from debris. Pump out any liquid in your float compartments. When storing floats for long periods of time, leaving inspection covers and baggage compartments open or removing them completely will allow the compartments to dry. If floats are to be stored outdoors, this may not be possible, however the compartment should be as dry as possible prior to storage and in the spring they should be opened for inspection as well.
  • Check float covers for fit and seal. Make sure gaskets or caulking still provide a watertight seal and all of the screws are installed.

Additional items to inspect on amphibious floats:

  • Check tires for wear, tire pressure, and overall condition.
  • Check wheel bearings and make sure they are still functional. The beginning of the season is the perfect time to repack them, if necessary.
  • Inspect the brake system. Check that the discs and pads are within tolerances and the brakes operate evenly and correctly.
  • Inspect your hydraulic system. Check for leaks at connections or around the pump and reservoir, and check the fluid level in the sight glass.
  • Check that all of the bulbs on your gear advisory system are working and the indication system is working correctly.

These items are not meant to replace a thorough annual performed by licensed maintenance personnel on your floats. The owner or operator is many times the first step in finding an issue, and an inspection of these items both allows the pilot to be familiar with their equipment, and can be the first step in determining whether there is a problem before something breaks.

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