I know that both land and sea planes require pilot ratings in order to act as pilot-in-command.

What is the requirement to act as pilot-in-command of an amphibian?

Is there a third rating or just seaplane and land ratings?

What about flights taking off and landing exclusively on either water or land but not both?

  • $\begingroup$ I can't quote the regs (or I would answer instead of comment) but my understanding is you can fly it as long as your flight (landing) is consistent with your certificate. I know someone who owns an amphibian (lakeamphib.com/lakeamphib.htm) and only has an ASEL, currently working on his ASES, and while it's possible he's flying it illegally, neither his CFI nor the Lake factory have raised an issue with him and both are aware of the situation. $\endgroup$
    – mah
    Apr 25, 2014 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ To the best of my understanding, frogs are not allowed to fly planes. Newts, I'm less sure about. *rimshot* $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2014 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ Just to update your terminology: A pilot has a Pilot Certificate, not a license. Right now it contains an endorsement for ASEL. After seaplane training the same Certificate will contain an additional endorsement: ASES. So no need for a separate "license", just multiple endorsements on his certificate. And if he is only using the Lake Amphib to land on runways, he is legal (I think. Not sure of this last statement). $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2014 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ Actially @SkipMiller, those are ratings $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Feb 20, 2015 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you @rbp this questions nomenclature is completely wrong. Sea operations do not get granted by endorsements in the FAA system. Those would be ratings. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2016 at 16:22

2 Answers 2


According to the Seaplane Pilots Association you can operate an amphibious airplane on hard-surface runways with a land class rating but need a seaplane class rating to take off or land on water, and vice versa.

As far as the regs, it seems that the airplane can simply be considered either land or seaplane class depending on how you are operating it.

  • $\begingroup$ any regulations about taking off? $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2014 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ I was gonna answer, but this is correct, so no need! $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Apr 25, 2014 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak I would assume you need the appropriate rating (Land or Sea) for either takeoff or landings. (Or two pilots - one qualified for Land and the other for Sea...) $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Apr 25, 2014 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ so to move a plane from hard to water (or vice versa) you need both types of ratings in the cockpit, (either in one pilot or in 2)? $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2014 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth that only works if there is a runway next to the seaplane base. Like, right next to. The procedure is used when swapping out floats for wheels - so in some locations, like Renton, WA (KRNT) what you suggest is the best option. In others, you do what you can. $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Apr 28, 2014 at 15:26

An amphibian may be flown as a land only aircraft without the sea endorsement. A pilot must not have the intention to land or take-off from water.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi! It would be great if you could give a link to the regulations or some other authoritative source. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Oct 28, 2015 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ Not authoritative, but from a seaplane association: FAQ ~ Airman Issues $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 29, 2015 at 14:16

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