I have seen floats under nearly all types of aviation. Under ultralights, trikes, gyro's, helicopters. And you can find seaplanes in all sizes. From FAR103 ultralights to something super huge like the legendary Hughes Hercules H-4, nicknamed "Spruce Goose".
A small one just above. The video below also shows a "small" one.
Clearly seaplanes are no longer bulky airplanes. The Icon A5 is a rather sexy little thing.
If you wondered why they are so many seaplanes, well, you better go see how many countries have multitude of lakes, wide rivers or beaches. No wonder that Burt Rutan wanted to make a seaplane for himself to make trips as retired guy.
I am not going to make a graph here, because seaplanes are in nearly ALL types of aviation. So, the variables would nearly always have all the dots light up.
We are only trying here to give you more info about seaplanes, so you will better understand what they are about.
With seaplanes you don't only need that the wind must be right. The waves must be right too. Not sure yet how that all happens. More info about this is a good help. A video that explains this would be suuuuuuper.
In my own common sense i see that there will be less trouble with cross wind situations on large lakes. You simply rotate till you are flying into the wind and land on that large lake. If flying from a river, you might still have to fly crosswinds.
Somebody from one of my FB groups (if you recall his name, please tell me, i want to give him credit for his advise) mentioned me that if the waves are rather high, it is better to avoid slamming into the tops of the waves if you land in wind. It is better to land crosswind and land between the waves tops. Sorry, lost track of the right quote.
Floats add weight to your airplane. Adding weight makes you fly faster at landing, which makes that you need more landing run. Which means that ...you actually still have no problem as long as the lake is long enough. So ...only warning here is to have enough water to start and land on.
Some floats are being used for storage. The Icon A-5 uses the central float as a fuselage. We call that a Flying Hull. Several bush pilots use their double retrofitted floats as fuel tanks. So, sometimes the floats are not dead weight.
Pictures by Lowry Marshall. His Piper J3L has double floats. Not sure if his floats serve as fuel tanks too.
Don't forget that if you plan to land on water in the USA, you need to have a special training for it. Without that special endorsement in your license, you are not allowed to land on water in the USA. In other countries, the rules might be different. Please, guide me to the sites for that extra info, so i can place a link here. It will be a help to other people from your country.
Burt Rutan is now retired. He had his many years of designing new concepts for general aviation. Now he wanted to design something that would also be his last adventure in airplane building too. He wanted something for himself, something that would take him places, a tool to travel, a tool for new adventures.
His SkiGull is again a innovative design. What else did you expect? Burt Rutan combined a few types of aviation, so he would get the benefit of the types. Some benefits were in paperwork, others in practicality. The choice to use it as a seaplane was a choice of practicality. The USA has lakes, beaches and river everywhere. Burt Rutan wanted to avoid very busy airports. He wanted peace and quiet. And i guess he made a right choice. Go experience it yourself. Go visit Airventure in Oshkosh. Go sit next to the main runway. After sitting there for a hour, go visit the seaplane departure area. It is not the same experience.
Yes, we are definitely going to see more and more seaplanes. Thanks, Mister Rutan for your help in getting us a nice tool for travelling.