By Land or By Sea: A History of Pontoon Planes

Watson’s Kaby Lodge offers outstanding hunting, fishing and ecotourism packages at our resort on Kabinakagami Lake (Big Kaby Lake) in northern Ontario. Kaby Lodge is a true wilderness resort, and is accessible only by air. Seaplanes, also known as pontoon planes, transport our guests to and from the resort, so let’s take a minute to appreciate these unique planes by taking a brief look at their history.

Float PlaneSeaplanes date back more than 100 years, with the first known model built by the French in 1910, according to a history reported by Aero Dynamix. The Americans quickly followed suit with the development of a seaplane the following year. These planes were used by military services during both World Wars because of their versatility. Private usage of seaplanes also became common because landing strips were not widely available during the early days of air transport.

Two main styles of water-capable planes were developed in the early 1900s as Schweiss notes. The first style, and perhaps the more commonly seen style, was designated a floatplane and features floats or pontoons in place of typical landing gear. This allows the plane to float while the fuselage remains above the water. Modern versions include wheels in the floats, as well, to give seaplanes the ability to land on a conventional strip. The second style that was popular during the 1920s and 1930s was described as a flying boat. These vessels featured a waterproof fuselage that would float directly on the water, with additional floats added at the undersides of the wings to provide stability on water. Today, these flying boats are still available and will often include retractable wheels for landing on conventional airstrips.

The usage of seaplanes by the military gradually declined following World War II, but these planes have remained popular for transport in civilian applications, especially in regions where runways are not available. Seaplanes remain a popular and essential means of transportation in many rural and wilderness areas because of the lack of roads and developed runways. A seaplane is able to land on any body of water that offers enough space to act as an airway, making these planes ideal for transporting cargo and passengers to and from remote areas.

When you book a getaway package with Watson’s Kaby Lodge, you’ll have the chance to see a seaplane inside and out as you travel to and from our wilderness resort. Packages can be tailored to meet your needs and interests, whether that’s hunting, fishing or just simple some R&R and ecotourism trips. Contact Kaby Lodge today by calling 877-484-1672 to learn more or to make your reservation.

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