Ways To Make Flying Boats Commercially Feasible Again.
I have always loved float planes and amphibious aircraft. But flying boats take that love affair to new heights. While it is unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity to pilot such a wondrous craft, what an adventure it would be to again being winging off as a passenger on a journey to the unknown and undiscovered in that perfect embodiment of freedom and adventure, the flying boat.
1. Identify areas that are currently underserved by traditional air passenger or transport service.
Is there a suitable body of water nearby that could serve as a runway, taxiway, and have docking facilities?
2. Tours into pristine lakes and rivers that can't be reached by more traditional means.
A niche market for the smaller craft.
3. Design a 21st century hull/airframe using modern materials and construction costs.
In the long term, it should be more economical than keeping the current boats air certified. In addition, new craft could offer amenities and comforts not possible on older designs.
4. Make air travel glamourous again.
Air travel today is hectic, fast paced, cramped, efficient and generally unenjoyable. Even premium seats offer only a small slice of the comfort possible by these luxury airliners of the skies. Yes, it would be expensive. But if there is a market for private jets and private rail cars, I believe there is a market for glamourous relaxed international air travel too. Taking the slow plane to China may be the best way to fly.
5. A network of suitable landing, docking, launching, and servicing facilities would have to be created.
While most of the planet is covered by water, suitable shore facilities or the space to build them is at a premium. A network of suitable bases would have to be built. But this could happen naturally as the service becomes more known and in demand.
6. Existing airports could add water runways.
The easiest way is to simply dig a straight canal of suitable depth with a turning basin at each end.
7. A floating flying boat base linked to a large metro area could provide a new form of travel and open up more landing slots for air travel and air lines.
What if LaGuardia was able to service Pan Am Clipper service flying off the East River?
8. Marketing the unique advantages of flying boats would be a key to success.
9. While likely never able to match the speed of traditional modern airliners, perhaps a 21st. century seaplane could be made much more fuel efficient and use green technologies from its inception.
10. Make flying fun for the public again.
And do it with the flying boat.