I work for my State Department Of Transportation, & we get some transport-related books & magazines once in a while.

According to one, Hawaii has no public seaplane bases.


A seaplane base is a facility for seaplanes & amphibian aircraft.
It would seem a natural choice for transit in Hawaii.

Why no bases?

Well, an amphibian doesn’t need a seaplane base. Since there are seaplane tours in Hawaii, I’d guess there are private ones.

Just a guess, but I guess the floatplane pilots either have amphibious floats, or they rent space at a private base. There’s probably not enough demand for a public facility.

EDIT: Oh, and the prime locations probably have hotels on them :wink:

The main advantage of a seaplane is that you can fly into remote places that have water (must be of a certain size and relatively calm) but don’t get enough visitors to justify building and airport. Here’s a list of airports. It’s probably easy enough to fly to one of them and then just drive wherever you want to go.

Hawaii doesn’t even have an interisland ferry service, which would be a lot cheaper to run.

It seems odd that there aren’t any war-relic seaplane ramps on former military base sites there. Or maybe there are but they’re not public.

That’s a good question, but I’m guessing distance has something to do with it. It’s about 70 miles from Oahu to Maui, but even farther if you’re talking about city to city. That could turn into a 3 hour trip over the open ocean.

Cheaper? Don’t be too sure about that.

That article made me want to bang my head against the keyboard.

Make that “should be” cheaper. :wink:

Fixed link.

You can see the runway atKaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, where the PBY “Catalinas” used to run up onshore.

But as you can see, the Marines still use the base. Over in Seattle, Magnusen Park is the site of the former Sand Point Naval Air Station where Catalinas were too, but the only floatplanes I’ve ever saw in the metro area used nearby Lake Union

(while on the topic of old NAS’s that were home to PBY squadrons, here’s Cavite in Manila Bay, Phillippines)

While I’ve often seen old advertisements for Clipper-type seaplanes that carried passengers from the West Coast to Hawaii, I’m not sure Hawaii is really a good place for seaplanes in general.

Sure, Honolulu has a large, protected harbor, but the rest of the harbors on other islands are pretty small and not well protected from the ocean. There are no real lakes to speak of, and there’s only like one or two navigable rivers and both are on Kauai. There’s just not the consistently calm bodies of water that one finds in places where there are a lot of seaplanes.

Sand Point has quite a place in seaplane history. It was the beginning, and end, of the first round-the-world trip by aircraft. Four Douglas World Cruisers left Sand Point on April 4th, 1924, and the two surviving aircraft completed the trip 175 days later. They had massive logistical support from the U.S. military. I think they may have even taken the floats off and put on wheels for some of the overland parts of the trip.

I’ve been gone a while, but there used to be floatplanes at both ends of Lake Washington; Kenmore (a lot) and Renton (a few). There probably still are.

The Museum of Flying at Santa Monica Airport had the Douglas World Cruiser New Orleans on display. No idea where it is now.

And we all know what silly things can result from a 3-hour boat ride out of Hawaii.

Must… resist… meme flippancy.

I’ll just throw out here that developing a seaplane base on Hawaii must be prohibitively expensive.

The “easy” beaches are taken by resorts and hotels. The other ones are already taken by the military.

The vast majority of the islands are volcanic rock rising out of the ocean, which is not very conducive to beaching airplanes…

I’d bet that any suitable seaplane base that is also accessible by road from the interior has been claimed by someone by now, and that someone is using it to make a lot of money.