We love seaplanes. Below are some seaplane facts and other information about seaplanes in aviation.
- In 1876, Alphonse Pénaud filed the first patent for a flying machine with a boat hull and retractable landing gear.
- In 1898, the Austrian Wilhelm Kress is credited with building the first seaplane. Called the Drachenflieger, the seaplane was underpowered and did not take off. The seaplane later sank when one of its two floats collapsed.
- In 1905, Gabriel Voisin successfully took off and landed a towed kite glider with floats on the on the River Seine.
- In 1910, the first successful powered seaplane flight was completed by Frenchman Henri Fabre in the Gnome Omega-powered hydravion, a trimaran floatplane.
- In 1911, American Glenn Curtiss made the first amphibious seaplane flight in a Curtiss Model D. Other models of seaplanes included the Model E and Model F.
- In 1913, a Greek “Astra Hydravion” seaplane did a reconnaissance of the Turkish fleet and dropped four bombs during the Balkan Wars.
- In 1919, a a Curtiss NC-4 seaplane became the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
- In the 1930s, flying boats were used for air travel between the United States and Europe, including routes to South America, Africa and others.
- In the 1940s the Martin Company Mars transport seaplane. Versions of the Mars seaplane are still used today in aerial firefighting. The Coulson Group is currently operating the Martin Mars. Learn more about the Martin Mars.
- In 1947, was the successful flight of the largest seaplane ever built, the Hughes H-4 Hercules. The seaplane is more commonly known as the Spruce Goose. View a video of the Spruce Goose from 1947.
- From 1947-1967 over 1600 de Havilland DHC-2 Beavers were built. The Beaver is one of the most successful seaplanes as it is still used today my many seaplane operators.
- In 1961 the Cessna 185 began production. Over 4,400 Cessna 185s were built. The Cessna 180 and 185 are widely used in bush flying, including seaplane variants. Learn more about our Cessna 185.
Carbon Cub Amphibian Seaplane
Martin Mars Firefighting Seaplane
Classic Cessna 180 Seaplane on Floats