Understand the difference between an amphibian plane and a seaplane.
©2008 Jupiter Images A seaplane in flight.
The primary difference is that an amphibian plane has retractable wheels that enable it to operate from land as well as water, while a seaplane is limited to water take-offs and landings, having only pontoons without wheels.
Because its landing gear cannot retract a seaplane is less aerodynamically efficient than an amphibian.
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