Water Water Everywhere... 
The fine art of finding a water runway 
by Mike Singer 

About 70-80 percent of the earth's surface is covered with water. That's a lot of territory to explore in a seaplane in Flight Simulator! But if you want to start your flight from the water, how do you go about it?

If you've tried using the "Select Airport" screen, you may have noticed that there's no way to filter the list to show you only seaplane bases or airports with water runways. Admittedly, this makes it rather difficult to start a flight from the water unless you happen to know where the seaplane bases and water runways are. To make matters worse, if you start a flight on a land-based runway, you'll find that even at full power your seaplane won't move! Frustrating? You bet.

Here are some suggestions to help you get your seaplane onto the water.

Use our list of designated water runways

We asked our data team to generate a list of all the designated water runways in the Flight Simulator X facilities database (click to download):

Designated Water Runways in Flight Simulator X (.pdf)

To move your aircraft to one of the designated water runways in Flight Simulator X:

  1. On the main Flight Simulator X screen, click Free Flight.
  2. In the "Current Location" section, click the Change button.
  3. On the "Select Airport" screen, click the Clear Filters button.
  4. In the "Search Airports" section, enter an airport ID from the list in the document above.
  5. In the "Filters" section, choose a runway/starting position. Water runways will be labeled "(water)" after the runway number or direction.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Change the current aircraft to a seaplane, and set the current weather and current time/season as desired.
  8. Click the Fly Now! button.

If you don't have the list of designated water runways handy, or want to start on the water where there is no designated runway, use one of the following techniques:

Use Map View

If you know how to find your chosen body of water on a map, you can start on a land-based runway near the body of water you want to start on, then use Map view to move your seaplane onto the water:

  1. On the World menu, choose Map.
  2. Make sure Terrain Shading is turned on (click the icon on the far right to toggle it), then drag the aircraft symbol on the map to the water location of your choice.
  3. Set the Altitude to 0.
  4. Set the Heading as desired, and set the airspeed to 0.
  5. Click OK.

Start in the air

Arguably, the easiest way to get your seaplane onto the water is to start flying with a land-based aircraft, and then switch to a seaplane and land on the water:

  1. Fly a land-based aircraft over the body of water you want to start on.
  2. On the Aircraft menu, choose Select Aircraft.
  3. Choose a seaplane.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Fly to the water, and land.

Use Slew mode

Don't feel like landing? You can use Slew mode to move your seaplane down to the water's surface:

  1. Fly a land-based aircraft over the body of water you want to start on.
  2. Switch to a seaplane (see above).
  3. Press Y to enter Slew mode.
  4. Press F1 to move down quickly to the water's surface.
  5. Press Y again to exit Slew mode.

For a full list of Slew commands, see the "Keyboard Assignments" page of the Kneeboard (press SHIFT+F10 to display).

Save your flight

Whatever method you use to get to your water-based starting position of choice, if you like it, consider saving the flight so you can easily start from that location again:

  1. One the Flights menu, click Save.
  2. Enter a Title and Description for your flight.
  3. Click OK.

To load the saved flight, on the "Free Flight" screen, click the Load button.

Want to learn more about flying seaplanes?

There is a seaplane available in Flight Simulator X:a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver floatplane.

To learn more about flying these fun aircraft, you can read this article from the Flight Simulator X Learning Center (click to download):

"Flying Floatplanes" (.pdf).