How to Obtain a Seaplane (SES) Rating With the Vermont Flight Academy

A single engine sea (SES) rating is arguably one of the easiest and most entertaining ratings available to pilots.  As an add-on to an existing certificate (Private, Commercial, or ATP) all that is required is mastery of the knowledge and skills listed on the Practical Test Standards.  No written test is required, and only those PTS tasks listed for the ADDITIONAL rating are needed.  At VFA this is typically achieved by having the student study the general information (available on line) and then review it during a ground school session that takes approximately one hour with the CFI.  This is followed by flight training, with the emphasis on safe operation both on the water surface and in the air.  Skills to be mastered include idle taxiing, plough taxiing, step taxiing and sailing as well as takeoffs and landings in normal conditions, glassy water and rough water.  Other operations will cover items such as docking and mooring, confined area activities, water characteristics, right of way regulations, etc.  Acquisition of a SES rating satisfies the requirement for a Flight Review, required every 2 years.

Our current aircraft includes an 85 HP J3 Cub on Edo floats and a 160 HP Piper PA12 on Baumann floats.  Instructional flights are $195/ hour in the J3 and $245/hr in the PA12, which includes the aircraft, fuel, and the instructor's fee.  A package price of $1355 for the J3 and $1995 for the PA12 includes ground instruction, 6 hours of flight instruction, the Designated Pilot Examiner's fee and the aircraft rental during the checkride, which can be done at the seaplane base (29VT) in Grand Isle.  The rating can often be accomplished in one day, but students are advised to plan on 2 days for completion.

We also offer Discovery Flights in either floatplane for people who simply want to explore the option for future training.  Rates are as quoted above for instructional flights, and a signed logbook is included for the session.