Any type of airplane
designed to operate from water
. Sea planes come in two flavors. Float plane
s or flying boat
s. The first sea plane to fly was Henri Fabre
, which first flew on March 28
. Glenn Curtiss
advanced sea plane technology into production aircraft
during World War I
Although never produced in numbers approaching those of land-based aircraft, sea planes have always been appealing due to their unique ability to use nearly the entire surface of the planet as a runway.
Sea planes have served as fighters, transports, bombers and civil aircraft. An experimental American sea plane was even designed that was capable of speeds over Mach 1.
Advances in engine technology have made sea planes less practical today, although they are gaining popularity as recreational aircraft.