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Everything you need to know about our Seaplane

No arrival to an island is as thrilling as via seaplane, the aircraft gradually descends to its runway of open sea before slicing into the still waters.

Skip ahead to the top questions we get asked about seaplanes or enjoy reading the full blog with everything you need to know about our seaplane:

 

Why a seaplane?

Since the nearest traditional airport to Bawah is at Letung, two hours away by boat, seaplanes are a much more efficient — and expedient — option for guests.  Bawah Reserve is one of the only seaplane transfer resorts in Indonesia.  Most visitors come to us via Singapore or Jakarta, and as there are no immigration and customs clearance at Bawah, transiting in Batam, an Indonesian island with border facilities that are a short ferry ride southeast of Singapore, is required first.  

 

Bawah Reserve Indonesia, Blue Seaplane

How much is a seaplane transfer to Bawah?

The round-trip seaplane transfer from Batam to Bawah costs US$800 per person.  If you’re
coming from Singapore, however, our round-trip transport package costs US$950.  This includes
car service to the ferry terminal, escort by ferry to Batam with expedited passport clearance and
car service to the airport in Batam.

 

What is a seaplane?

"A seaplane is a powered fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing (alighting) on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are in a subclass called amphibious aircraft, or amphibians." Wikipedia

 

The Bawah seaplane

Our aircraft is part of the Airfast fleet, an Indonesian aviation company with more than 35 years of experience in the industry and an impeccable safety record. The amphibious Twin Otter seaplane 300 has wheels and float pontoons, giving it the enviable ability to take off and land on either water or land.

Built in Canada, it’s a STOL (short take-off and landing) aircraft that’s become a commercially successful twin-engine commuter seaplane.

If you are wondering how much a seaplane costs to buy... They don’t come cheap! Prices vary, depending on whether you’re buying a new one or an older one, and so do maintenance costs. Annual maintenance alone ranges from around $6M to -$8M or more a year, even before you consider fuel and other flying costs.

 

Our seaplane flight path

map flight path seaplane to Bawah Reserve Indonesia

 

Bawah’s amphibious seaplane or floatplane as it can also be called takes off from Batam’s Hang Nadim International Airport and guests are weighed with their luggage at check-in to ensure even distribution of weight aboard the plane (just be sure to keep prying eyes off the scale) see here for our guide to packing in under 15kg.

Currently, the plane can hold up to 10 passengers, weight dependant. Given the small size of the vessel, passengers feel intimately connected to the process of flying. You’ll watch the pilots turn round to give a quick briefing to passengers before the propellers slowly wind up, and they push buttons, pull levers, check gauges and move the aircraft forward.

 

 

Snapseed (1)

 

Soon the plane is airborne and the land of Batam cedes to the open sea for the majority of the 80-minute flight. The passage is smooth, with the occasional bumps we’ve come to expect from plane travel, and all flights take place during the hours of light. Before landing at Bawah, the aircraft makes a circle of the island so that guests can get an overview of the layout and snap those once-in-a-lifetime aerial shots of the resort.

 

Bawah Reserve Indonesia, Seaplane

 

Meet our seaplane pilots

Bawah Reserve Indonesia, Seaplane Pilot

Each flight has two pilots in front, one international and one Indonesian. One of the international pilots, the dry-humoured Captain Wolski, boasts 6000 hours of flying experience on seaplanes. “Landing and taking off on the tarmac is the same but the water is the biggest difference,” he explains after a routine landing. “You start as a boat, satisfy the boat planing like a speedboat, and by the end, you are 100% an aircraft. In between, you need to satisfy the conditions of both the boat and an airplane. The same considerations are also true for landing. The runway is always changing, always moving. Our plane is designed for short take-offs and landing, with thick wings that generate a lot of lift without the need to point the aircraft at the sky.”

There is a 15-kilogram luggage restriction per passenger, but thankfully given Bawah’s easy-going vibe, you won’t need to pack much.

 

 

Like our new look navy blue design seaplane too?

Bawah Reserve seaplane in navy blue design

 

The top 5 questions guests ask about seaplanes

 

1) How does a seaplane fly?

A seaplane is generally a modified landplane.  We use a twin Twin Otter aircraft that has been adapted with amphibian floats.  Here’s an interesting guide to seaplane flying that explains the differences between a seaplane and a land plane. 

 

2) Are seaplanes safe?

It’s an important question!  Air Tunilik has answered it beautifully, concluding:
“Put simply, seaplanes are safe when they are maintained and piloted by trusted, experienced
pilots with seaplane rating from reliable companies.”  


Our seaplane pilots have over 6,000 hours of flying experience on seaplanes with highly-rated air
carrier Airfast Indonesia - rated highly all over the world.  Through its commitment to safety, Airfast has earned and maintained Category 1 in Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation safety rating since that rating was introduces introduced in 2007.

3) Are seaplanes scary?

If you have fear of flying, any flight may cause you anxiety. But there is some comfort from meeting the pilots pre-flight, and being able to see them throughout the entire flight.  People also say that knowing you can land on water is an additional reassurance.

 

4) How fast do seaplanes fly?

Seaplanes do fly more slowly than land planes due to the increased drag from the floats, which adds both weight and surface area to the design. We fly at around 130 to -135 knots, depending on the altitude. Flight time between Batam and Bawah is around 80 minutes.

 

5) Do seaplanes have wheels and can they land on land?

Seaplanes with straight floats have no wheels and cannot operate on land; - they can only go
from water to water. Our aircraft has amphibious floats, meaning it also has retractable wheels and so can take off from land and touch down on water or vice versa.

 

If you have any further questions regarding the transport to Bawah Reserve please do drop our reservations team a note at reservations@bawahreserve.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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