I assume that flying boats have limits on the sea states they’re certificated to take off and/or land in (for instance, hitting a ten-meter wave head-on in a five-meter wooden plane is probably somewhat hard on the plane’s structure, not to mention its contents), the aircraft’s precise maximum sea state rating presumably depending primarily on its size and structural strength.

Which flying boat can legally take off and/or land in the roughest seas? Are there any flying boats certificated to operate in full hurricane conditions?


1 Answer 1


The Grumman Albatross was capable of open sea operations and could operate in as high as ten foot seas, possibly higher with JATO rockets installed.

The Albatross was capable of open-ocean landings (optimally in seas no higher than 10 feet) due to its deep-V hull cross-section and long keel length, although higher seas could be downright punishing on the aircraft and crew. HU-16s could utilize jet assisted takeoff (JATO) bottles to shorten takeoff runs in rougher seas.

This Albatross pilot offers some more specifics on the certifications and says

Its certified for class 6 seas, which can be swells up to 10 ft. or waves up to 6 ft.

Although he says he would not really want to do it as his operation has no need but has landed in 4ft seas.

According to this source a Boeing 314 Clipper was successfully landed in 30 ft. seas but thats by no means regular operations.

The weather was far from ideal, with a big storm blowing, and 30 foot seas running. But the big Boeing was successfully landed without damage. The seas were so high, it was almost impossible to transfer the occupants to the Cutter.

I don't think anything is certified for takeoff in hurricane conditions, seaplane or not.


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