H.King Aeromarine Origins (Putnam)
A remarkable British aeromarine contrivance of 1908/9 was the Humphreys Waterplane, built at Wivenhoe, Essex. A contemporary description ran:
'Amidships and incorporated in the lower plane is fitted the most original feature of this machine in the shape of a kind of coracle hull of very thin wood, in which the navigator sits. The reason for this is that Mr Humphreys has elected to start his aeroplane from the surface of the water, thereby eliminating practially all the danger attendant upon experimental flights from land in an untried machine. For a fall from a considerable height need have no terrors with water below, and none of the fears of hedges, ditches, telegraph wires and disturbing air currents due to inequalities in the ground. Further, it is possible to skid on water, whereas land running gear would break or, at least, prove unresponsive to side influences.'
This could, in fact, have been the first amphibian, for it was intended to be 'capable of arising from and alighting on both water and land'.
M.Goodall, A.Tagg British Aircraft before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
P.Lewis British Aircraft 1809-1914 (Putnam)
The single-seat pusher Humphreys Waterplane was designed by Jack Humphreys and built by Forrestt during 1908. The machine was a sesquiplane of very low aspect-ratio mounted on a coracle-style hull. The engine was an eight-cylinder 35 h.p. J.A.P. which drove twin propellers. The triangular tailplane was universally pivoted and incorporated flexible surfaces, having an effective dihedral angle when neutrally loaded. Fin and rudder were absent but triangular ailerons were fitted to the wing-tips. It was intended to display the Waterplane at the 1909 Olympia Aero Show, but it could not be manoeuvred through the entrance into the hall. When tested in April, 1909, on the River Colne at Wivenhoe, Essex, the hull filled with water and the machine sank at its moorings. It was salvaged intact and later attained 10 knots on the water when taxying, but never flew. Span, 45 ft. Length, 13 ft.