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When the world speed record was set in an airplane in 1934, it was in
a seaplane - the Macchi M.C.72 at 440 mph. The land plane speed
record was only 352 mph in a Hughes racer. The seaplane has two
cumbersome floats that adds a lot more frontal area and hence drag.
Why was the seaplane faster than the land plane by so much? Why
didn't Macchi drop the floats and set an even faster speed record?
-- Stanford Tran, September 28, 2016