by Victoria Neuville
I don’t think I’ve met a pilot who doesn’t have an aviation bucket list and I’m sure they all include a seaplane rating. There’s something magical about landing an airplane in uncharted territory, let alone on water! The new skills acquired from a seaplane rating introduces many new experiences for an adventurous pilot.
I was lucky enough to check off that box this April at Jones Brothers Air & Sea Adventures in Tavares, FL, also known as America’s Seaplane City. This particular weekend was a special one. It was Seaplane-A-Palooza, an annual seaplane fly-in leading up to the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In Expo. Tavares Seaplane Base (FA1) was bustling with activity! Vendors, visitors, boaters and pilots swarmed around, watching Seaplane Bingo, a watermelon drop, and take-off and landing contests. All the while, I was learning to land a seaplane while dodging boats and in front of quite an audience!
My seaplane rating was probably the most fun rating I have achieved. With over 1,000 lakes in Lake County, FL alone, I had many options to practice my normal, rough water, crosswind, and glassy water take-offs and landings! While I was focusing hard on the new challenges landing on water brings, the flight instructors and examiner at Jones Brothers made it a very enjoyable experience. I even had the opportunity for my first $100 Seaplane Hamburger, stopping my training for a quick trip over to another lake to enjoy a beachfront dinner. I ended the weekend with around 5 hours of sea time, almost 50 seaplane landings, and most importantly, my freshly printed temporary commercial seaplane pilot certificate!
For nine years, I have been an insurance agent at Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR). All our agents are pilots, it’s a requirement to work there. It is important to our clients that we have a strong aviation background to properly fulfill their aircraft insurance needs. I believe my seaplane rating furthers my ability to relate to my many seaplane insureds. Just as I congratulate a client on their first solo or earning their private certificate, I know understand the challenges of landing on a mirror-like lake or in a crosswind on choppy water. I know how those floats make the airplane feel and recognize the unique territory flying with floats brings.
You probably have heard; the insurance market is hardening. This means that rates are on the rise and carriers are getting strict about training and who and what they’ll insure. The seaplane market has been substantially impacted by this change. Luckily, you have a group of experienced agents and seaplane pilots at AIR who have access to ALL the major aviation insurance markets. This means we shop all the markets to find you the broadest coverage at the best available rate. No matter your experience, a veteran or new seaplane pilot, we have the seaplane insurance solution for you-including non-owner insurance for seaplanes.
While I am back in the office now, my head is still in the sky…and on the water. What is the next place I can explore with this newly found skillset? Island hopping in the Caribbean or landing on a river in the remote wilderness? I’d love to hear about your seaplane adventures!
To see more of Victoria’s aviation experiences visit her Instagram at www.instagram.com/victoria.at.air or call 301-682-6200 for your seaplane insurance quote today!