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A seaplane is a powered fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing (alighting) on water.[1] Seaplanes are usually divided into two categories based on their technological characteristics: floatplanes and flying boats; the latter are generally far larger and can carry far more. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are in a subclass called amphibious aircraft, or amphibians. Seaplanes were sometimes called hydroplanes,[2] but currently this term applies instead to motor-powered watercraft that use the technique of hydrodynamic lift to skim the surface of water when running at speed.[1]

The use of seaplanes gradually tapered off after World War II, partially because of the investments in airports during the war. In the 21st century, seaplanes maintain a few niche uses, such as for dropping water on forest fires, air transport around archipelagos, and access to undeveloped or roadless areas, some of which have numerous lakes.

Planes in Vancouver

Seaplanes can only take off and land on water with little or no wave action and, like other aircraft, have trouble in extreme weather. The size of waves a given design can withstand depends on, among other factors, the aircraft's size, hull or float design, and its weight, all making for a much more unstable aircraft, limiting actual operational days. Flying boats can typically handle rougher water and are generally more stable than floatplanes while on the water.

Seaplanes are also used in remote areas such as the Alaskan and wave action and, like other aircraft, have trouble in extreme weather. The size of waves a given design can withstand depends on, among other factors, the aircraft's size, hull or float design, and its weight, all making for a much more unstable aircraft, limiting actual operational days. Flying boats can typically handle rougher water and are generally more stable than floatplanes while on the water.

Seaplanes are also used in remote areas such as the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness, especially in areas with a large number of lakes convenient for takeoff and landing. They may operate on a charter basis, provide scheduled service, or be operated by residents of the area for personal use. In the Western Hemisphere, there are numerous seaplane operators in the Caribbean Sea that offer services between islands.

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Seaplanes are also used in remote areas such as the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness, especially in areas with a large number of lakes convenient for takeoff and landing. They may operate on a charter basis, provide scheduled service, or be operated by residents of the area for personal use. In the Western Hemisphere, there are numerous seaplane operators in the Caribbean Sea that offer services between islands.