The design of successful water-based aircraft requires a close collaboration between the aeronautical engineers and naval architects, who perform high-speed towing tests, stability calculations, or computational fluid dynamics in support of the design. This article presents the fundamental design considerations of waterborne aircraft, which are outside of the typical educational scope of most naval architects, but which they are sometimes asked to address. These include 1) the hydrostatic and hydrodynamic problems associated with seaplane design, 2) early-stage methods for sizing the hull, 3) prediction techniques using archival data, and 4) hydrodynamic model testing procedures. Although a new design will often require substantial iteration to achieve the desired outcome, the information in this article will assist in developing a reasonable starting point for the design spiral and provides sufficient details for a hydrodynamic model testing facility to perform a successful series of model tests on the design. Although much of the work in this field dates from the 1940s, it is important to review this material in light of the current practices being used at hydrodynamic research facilities today. A detailed description of the model testing apparatus and procedure, used in a recent study at the U.S. Naval Academy, is presented to demonstrate the current applicability of these methods and some pitfalls that can be expected in testing.

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