Do you remember when sharkskin suits for Olympic swimmers were banned? They were just too fast, they were full or nearly full body suits and the texture allowed for cavitation bubbles which help break the tension of the water allowing the swimmer to swim through the water with less resistance. The swimmers were easily faster than their competitors, and thus, it became an unfair advantage. Well, since this is such great technology, should we be using it on the bottom of surfboards, jet skis, and marine watercraft? Okay so let’s talk about some of the applications for this a moment.
First, it takes a lot of power for a seaplane to get out of the water. You see, it must get up onto its step, but to do that it takes power to get it moving and starting to break free. Once it is up on its step it still needs quite a bit of power to break the surface tension of the water so it can get airborne. Since this is the case from a physics standpoint, and also taking into consideration hydrodynamics and aerodynamics it makes sense to coat the surface of the bottom of seaplane pontoons with a sharkskin texture.
It most likely will not affect the airplane once it is airborne, it may actually help it a little, after all seaplane still don’t go all that fast anyway. Perhaps the surface’s “chevron” sharkskin design might get smaller or larger, or slightly morph and change shape once the aircraft is airborne, that would be the best of all worlds.
Now then, there are helicopters which also go on the water, and the transition to flight from ocean waves or unpredictable surf into the air is a treacherous endeavor. However, if the bottoms of those helicopters have sharkskin surface texture, facing vertical instead of horizontal, it could help them get out of the water and immediately break the surface tension. This would allow them to carry more weight, and not expend very much fuel in the process. It would also help all the water fall off of the bottom of the helicopter drastically reducing the extra water weight almost immediately.