Cruising Heights
TOUGH LANDINGS FOR SEAPLANES Image Credit: Cruising Heights
TOUGH LANDINGS FOR SEAPLANES Image Credit: Cruising Heights

Tough Landings For Seaplanes

Even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi capped his Gujarat campaign with an eye-catching takeoff from the Sabarmati river to a touchdown in the Dharoi dam, seaplane services were being discussed by the government. But are the conditions conducive enough for air journeys via water?

The go-ahead for the construction of water aerodromes in various states across the country was recently given by the Civil Aviation Ministry. The very first ones in the country are slated to come up on Chilika Lake in Odisha, Sardar Sarovar Dam and Sabarmati River Front in Gujarat. Simply put, an area of open water that can be used by seaplanes or amphibious planes for landing and takeoff is called a water aerodrome. These waterdromes might have a connected terminal building on land where the plane can choose to dock like a ship.

Setting up water aerodromes for future seaplane operations is indeed a good idea but the question that arises is: Where will these seaplanes fly to? Will, for example, a seaplane taking off from the Sabarmati waterfront fly out to the Mumbai port? Or, for that matter, will a flight taking off from the Chilika Lake land on the Brahmaputra in Assam?

Even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi capped his Gujarat campaign with an eye-catching takeoff from the Sabarmati river to a touchdown in the Dharoi dam, seaplane services were being discussed by the government. A few days before that, on December 9, 2017, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and the then Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had gone to Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai to watch the trial touchdown of a SpiceJet seaplane that had taken off from Mumbai airport 10 minutes earlier. SpiceJet has ambitious plans to buy 100 seaplanes from Japanese company, Setouchi Holdings, at a cost of $4

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