The float plane is a very adaptable aircraft.

Most models have the ability to land on both water and land. Retractable landing wheels that deploy from the pontoons or underside of the aircraft make this possible. Other aircraft models can manually switch between landing wheels or pontoons. Thus enabling a land based aircraft to become a "float-plane". Many remote settlements are supplied with various goods by means of a float plane. Remote hunting and fishing lodges will often use a float plane service to transport their customers to and from their facilities.

Sea planes are used for commercial and military operations.

Water bombers are utilized in big forest fires. The aircraft has the ability to refill with water while flying over water. The aircraft skims the water with scoops that fill its compartments in seconds. If a lake or calm body of water is close by, a water bomber can deliver its payload numerous times quickly. Forest fires are often in rugged territory and not easily accessible by road.

Howard Hughes "Spruce Goose" is a famous flying sea plane. The original concept was to be able to transport troops quickly under enemy radar. Although it did fly during testing, it was plagued with technical difficulties.

The De-Havilland Beaver and Otter are 2 aircraft that are often utilized as float planes. Powerful engines and a large wingspan aid the machine's ability to take off with extra payload. Pontoons add weight to an aircraft. Having an airframe that allows a good payload after installation of pontoons is crucial for commercial and private use. Basically there is 2 types of float planes. Those that use pontoons attached by struts or aircraft that use their bottom fuselage as the hull. Small floats or pontoons will also be attached to the wings on these models normally.

Stories of skilled flying by bush pilots and their aircraft are often heard in the far north and other areas of the world. North American pilots found the float plane very useful for landscape dotted with lakes and rivers. Water ways are often used by man to transport people and materials thus often resulting in a settlement beside the water. With no run way needed. the float plane is perfectly suited to supply air service cheaply and effectively. Daily commute and mail services are performed by float planes world wide. Aircraft engineers have designed and built many variations of the float plane.

Many float planes use pontoons for flotation. They come in various sizes and models. Most will have several compartments in case of puncher to a pontoon. If not too badly damaged the pontoon can still land or take off the aircraft in an emergency. A turn-able fin on the back of the pontoon aids in turning the float plane at low speeds. "Bush plane" is another term used for the float plane.