Float Nose Protrusion–The nose of the floats needs to protrude beyond the propeller anywhere from one-half to one-third the diameter of the propeller. Thus, if you are swinging an 11-inch propeller, the nose should jut out about four inches. This ensures that there is enough flotation up front so that when you apply throttle you don’t get into RC submarine operations.
Flaps–If ever there was a time to put flaps on a plane, it is for flying off water. Flaps make takeoffs and landings so much easier that it is hard not to sing their praises loudly enough.
Flying Technique–When flying off water you must be very aware of the wind. It affects taxiing as well as takeoff and landing. Left alone, an airplane on water will always weathervane into the wind, which you can use to your advantage. To line up for a takeoff, taxi out and then drop to a very low idle. The wind will line you up automatically! Taxiing can be a little like sailing; you must judge your turns according to the strength and direction of the wind.
Flat bottom, high-wing machines are notorious for flipping over if you let the wind get under the wing when turning down wind. You must learn to use aileron to lean into the wind. With the engine off, the wind can be used to “sail” the airplane back to shore. Always take off and land into the wind. On water, the floats cause a lot of drag and the extra weight makes it tricky to take-off in a crosswind. It can be done, but the tendency is for the airplane to lift off and cartwheel into the water on the downwind side.
Takeoff–When taking off, taxi to position using the rudder. When lined up, apply up-elevator and gradually increase throttle. As soon as you see the airplane up on the step and an increase in speed, relax the elevator . As you approach full speed, try not to use rudder at all. If you have to, use it sparingly. Too much rudder and the float tip on the inside of the turrn will dig in and you will flip before you know what happened. Close to full throttle, gently apply up-elevator until the floats leave the water. Then level out to gain airspeed before completing the climb out.
Landing–Landing a floatplane is easier than a wheeled airplane–the runway is very long and very flat. Just line up and ease back on the throttle to set up a shallow, sinking approach that is a bit faster than the land version. The extra weight of the floats will make it stall earlier and the increased drag will cause the airplane to slow down much more quickly. When over the threshold, ease back on throttle and hold it off about three inches above the water. It will land itself. Taxi back using aileron and elevator to balance a strong wind.
Crashing–Your craft will usually be floating upside down on its wing, with the engine submerged. A small amount of water often leaks into the upper wing saddle cavity. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER turn the craft right side up. The water will drop down inside and dampen all that is still dry. Turn off the receiver and get the airplane back to land upside down, take off the wing and let all the water drain out.