Landing gear vs float planes

Date:         10 Jul 99 02:33:16 
From:         JF Mezei <jfmezei.spamnot@videotron.ca>
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A while ago, I read that one of the bigger challenges for the A3XX
project is the landing gear.
	-weights a lot
	-is huge (takes up a lot of space in the cargo area)
	-spreading weight so plane doesn't destroy runways and tarmac.

If they were to make the A3XX into a flotplane/flying boat, obviously,
it would no longer need such a heavy duty landing gear, thus solving
many of the above problems.

Would making the A3XX (or similar size plane) a floatplane be fairly
easy from a structural point of view ? Or would the strengthening of the
structure and belly to allow the plane to land in water result in a much
heavier plane than if it had conventional landing gears ?

(I realise that the market for such a plane would be even more limited
since only cities with a half decent port could accomodate it and it
would make connections rather difficult, but I still wonder from a
structural point of view if it would work).