Самолеты (сортировка по:)
Страна Конструктор Название Год Фото Текст

Felixstowe F.2 - F.5

Страна: Великобритания

Год: 1917

Patrol flying-boat

Felixstowe - F.1 - 1916 - Великобритания<– –>Felixstowe - Fury - 1918 - Великобритания


В.Обухович, А.Никифоров Самолеты Первой Мировой войны


В 1913 г. американская компания "Кертисс" основала в Великобритании дочернюю фирму "Уайт энд Томпсон", которая занималась продвижением летающих лодок на английский рынок. Летчиком-испытателем фирмы стал англичанин Джон Порте, тесно сотрудничавший с Кертиссом в подготовке беспосадочного перелета через Атлантику на его летающей лодке, названной "Америка". Начавшаяся война помешала осуществлению этого проекта. Порте поступил на службу в морскую авиацию и был направлен в Америку для закупки летающих лодок Кертисс Н-4. После возвращения в 1915 г. в Англию он был назначен командиром авиационной базы ВМС Великобритании в Феликстоу. Большой опыт морского летчика позволил Порте взяться за разработку летающей лодки собственной конструкции, названной Феликстоу F.1. Впрочем, новым был лишь однореданный корпус лодки. Крыло и оперение Порте взял от гидросамолета Кертисс Н-4. Феликстоу F.1 был оснащен двумя двигателями Испано-Сюиза.
  Документация на F.1 была передана компании "Кертисс", где проект был усовершенствован и запущен в серийное производство с двигателями Кертисс (160 л. с.) под обозначением Н-8 "Большая Америка". В 1916 г. 50 таких летающих лодок были закуплены Великобританией. Мощность двигателей была недостаточной, и Порте решил установить на Н-8 новые 12-цилиндровые V-образные двигатели жидкостного охлаждения Роллс-Ройс "Игл I" (250 л. с). Этот вариант получил наименование H-12. Однако лодка плохо показала себя в условиях Северного моря, и Порте спроектировал новый двухреданный корпус, а также модифицировал хвостовое оперение. Крылья и двигатели остались прежними, как у H-12. Летные характеристики лодки значительно выросли. Серийно выпускался вариант F.2A с двигателями Роллс-Ройс "Игл VIII" (355 л. с). Модификация Феликстоу F.2C имела корпус облегченной конструкции и двигатели Роллс-Ройс "Игл II" (275 л. с), которые впоследствии были заменены на Роллс-Ройс "Игл VI" (322 л. с). Эта летающая лодка имела отличные летные данные, но в серию она запущена не была.
  Самолеты Феликстоу F.2А применялись для дальней разведки, противолодочного патрулирования и в качестве многоместного истребителя охраны побережья. 4 июля 1918 г. капитан Паттисон, пилотирующий F.2A, сумел сбить над Гельголандом германский морской дирижабль L 62.
  Увеличенный вариант F.2 с двумя двигателями Санбим "Коссак" (330 л. с.) или Роллс-Ройс "Игл VIII" был облетан в феврале 1917 г. и получил обозначение Феликстоу F.3. Бомбовая нагрузка возросла вдвое. Конструкция летающей лодки получилась удачной, хотя скорость считалась недостаточной, поэтому самолет, в основном, применялся для противолодочного патрулирования. Самолеты F.3 производились также компаниями "Шорт" и "Феникс". До конца войны было изготовлено около 100 машин, которые использовались на Средиземном море. Впоследствии многие летающие лодки Феликстоу F.3 были переоборудованы в следующую (послевоенную) модификацию F.5, которая по конструкции была аналогична F.2.

Двигатель 2 х Роллс-Ройс "Игл VIII" (355 л. с.)
Размеры:
  размах х длина х высота 29,15 х 14,1 х 5,33 м
Площадь крыльев 105,26 м2
Вес:
  пустого 3424 кг
  взлетный 4980 кг
Максимальная скорость 153 км/ч
Потолок 2900 м
Дальность 950 км
Продолжительность полета 6 ч
Вооружение:
  стрелковое 4-7 х 7,7-мм пулеметов "Льюис"
  бомбовое 2 х 104 кг
Экипаж 4 чел.


O.Thetford Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 (Putnam)


FELIXSTOWE F.2A

  The most famous of the series of Felixstowe flying-boats used on North Sea patrols, some of which remained in service with the R.A.F. in 1918 and for a few years after the war. Fifty-three in service on 31 October 1918. Equipped Nos. 228, 230, 240, 247, 249, 259 and 267 Squadrons. Two 345-h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines and a loaded weight of 10,978 lb. Max. speed, 95 1/2 m.p.h. at 2,000 ft. Endurance, 6 hours. Service ceiling, 9,600 ft. Span, 95 ft. 7 1/2 in. Length, 46 ft. 3 in.


FELIXSTOWE F.3

  The F. 3 formed a link between the F. 2A and F. 2C flying-boats of the First World War and the post-war F. 5. It had greater wing-span than the earlier boats and a total of 96 F. 3s was on charge in October 1918. Equipped Nos. 231, 232, 247, 249, 259, 261, 263, 266 and 267 Squadrons. Two 345-h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle V III engines and a loaded weight of 12,335 lb. Max. speed, 93 m.p.h. at 2,000 ft. Endurance, 6 hours. Service ceiling, 8,000 ft. Span, 102 ft. Length, 49 ft. 2 in.Felixstowe F.5


FELIXSTOWE F.5

  The F. 5 was the standard flying-boat in service with the R.A.F. in the years immediately following the Armistice in 1918. It was the last of the line of Felixstowe boats designed by Lt./Cdr. John Porte which served with such distinction in the First World War, but was itself too late to see active service.
  The F. 5's design followed fairly closely that of its predecessors, the F. 2A, F. 2C and F. 3. The prototype (N 90) went through its acceptance tests in May 1918 and proved to be over 10 m.p.h. faster than the F. 3, from which it differed in having a new wing structure of greater span (103 ft. 8 in., as against 102 ft. on the F. 3 and 9s ft. 7 1/2 in. on the F. 2A), a new type of wing section and numerous detail improvements. To facilitate manufacture, however, the production version of the F. 5 was extensively modified to incorporate F. 3 components, with the result that its loaded weight was increased and the final performance figures were somewhat inferior to those of the F. 3.
  The prototype F. 5 was built at the Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe, but production aircraft were contracted out to Short Bros, at Rochester, the Gosport Aircraft Co. at Gosport, S. K. Saunders in the Isle of Wight, Boulton and Paul at Norwich (hulls only) and the Aircraft Manufacturing Co. at Hendon.
  F. 5 flying-boats equipped No. 230 Squadron at Felixstowe, moving to Calshot in 1922. Their task was naval co-operation with the Portsmouth submarine flotilla at Portland and exercises with the Atlantic Fleet. No. 230 Squadron was re-numbered No. 480 Flight at the end of 1922, but it retained its F. 5 boats until wooden-hulled Southampton were introduced in 1925.
  In July 1919 an F. 5 flying-boat (N 4044) made a tour of Scandinavia, a flight of 2,450 miles in 27 days. In December 1924 Short Bros, produced an F. 5 (N 177) with an all-metal hull, this being the first military flying-boat in the world to depart from the orthodox wooden construction.

SQUADRON ALLOCATIONS No. 230 (Felixstowe and Calshot), Nos. 231 and 249.

TECHNICAL DATA (FELIXSTOWE F. 5)

  Description: General reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of 4. Wooden structure with plywood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: See list in foregoing narrative.
  Potter Plant: Two 375-h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span, 103 ft. 8 in. Length, 49 ft. 3 in. Height, 18 ft. 9 in.
  Wing area, 1,409 sq. ft. Weights: Empty, 9,100 lb. Loaded, 12,682 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 88 m.p.h. at 2,000 ft. Climb, 30 mins. To 6,500 ft. Duration, 7 hrs. Service ceiling, 6,800 ft.
  Armament: One Lewis gun mounted in bows and three amidships. Bomb-load of 920 lb. carried beneath the wings.


O.Thetford British Naval Aircraft since 1912 (Putnam)


Felixstowe F.2A

  Though it saw action only during the last year of the First World War, the F.2A earned a reputation comparable with that of the Sunderland in the Second World War. By virtue of its great endurance and heavy defensive armament, it bore the brunt of the long-range anti-submarine and anti-Zeppelin patrols over the North Sea in 1918 and figured in innumerable fights with German seaplanes; the exploits of Great Yarmouth's boats were typical, and are related at length in C F Snowden Gamble's classic, The Story of a North Sea Air Station. It established the trend of British flying-boat design for two decades and was a triumphant justification of the pioneer work of John Porte, who had from 1914 devoted himself unceasingly to the development of the flying-boat as a weapon of war.
  The F.2A was the first of the Felixstowe boats to be widely used by the RNAS. The first of the series was the F.1 (No.3580), which combined the Porte I type of hull with the wings and tail assembly of a Curtiss H.4. This was an experimental design only and was not put into quantity production. The success of the Porte I hull was such that it was decided to build a larger one on the same principles which could be married to the wings and tail assembly of the Curtiss H.12 Large America. The outcome of this idea was the Felixstowe F.2, the immediate forerunner of the F.2A. The Porte-type hulls offered greater seaworthiness than had been the case with the Curtiss hulls, yet their method of construction was such that they could be produced by firms with no previous boat-building experience. This was an obvious asset at a period of the war when the need for greater numbers of flying-boats for anti-submarine patrol was becoming urgent.
  The first F.2A flying-boats were delivered late in 1917, and by March 1918 some 160 had been ordered; by the Armistice just under 100 had been completed, and in the immediate post-war period some aircraft ordered under these contracts were converted on the production line to F.5 flying-boats. The total production of 180 would undoubtedly have been greater if a decision had not been taken by the Admiralty to issue extensive contracts for the F.3, a flying-boat in some respects inferior to the F.2A. As the F.2A had originally been intended for operation from sheltered harbours, it was necessary to make some structural modifications to the hull when its use became more widespread and indiscriminate. Nevertheless, the F.2A stood up well to harsh operational conditions, and such setbacks as it had were due not to lack of seaworthiness, but rather to the inadequacies of the fuel system, for the windmill-driven piston pumps failed all too frequently.
  One of the great advantages of the F.2A in view of its considerable range (some boats stayed airborne for as long as 9 1/4 hours by carrying extra petrol in cans) was the provision of dual control; this had not been available on earlier types, such as the H.12. Modifications to the boats to suit the ideas of individual air stations were quite common; one of the most noteworthy was the removal of the cabin for the pilot and second pilot, leaving an open cockpit. This improved both visibility and performance, and from about September 1918 was incorporated in aircraft as they left the works.
  F.2As of the Felixstowe air station inherited from the Curtiss H.12s the historic 'Spider's Web' patrol system. This patrol began in April 1917, and was centred on the North Hinder Light Vessel, which was used as a navigation mark. Flying-boats operated within an imaginary octagonal figure, 60 sea-miles across, and followed a pre-arranged pattern which enabled about 4,000 square miles of sea to be searched systematically. One flying-boat could search a quarter of the whole web in about three hours, and stood a good chance of sighting a U-boat on the surface, as submarines had to economise on battery power. Moreover, flying-boats had the advantage over other heavier-than-air anti-submarine aircraft in that they could carry bombs of 230 lb, which could seriously damage a submarine, even if a direct hit were not secured.
  The F.2A, despite its five-and-a-half tons, could be thrown about the sky in a 'dog-fight' with enemy seaplanes, and on 4 June 1918 there occurred one of the greatest air battles of the war, waged near the enemy coastline, over three hours' flying time from the RNAS bases at Great Yarmouth and Felixstowe. The formation of flying-boats, led by Capt R Leckie, consisted of four F.2As (N4295 and N4298 from Great Yarmouth and N4302 and N4533 from Felixstowe) and a Curtiss H.12. One F.2A (N4533) was forced down before the engagement, due to the old trouble of a blocked fuel line, but the remaining F.2As fought with a force of 14 enemy seaplanes and shot six of them down. During the action another F.2A (N4302) was forced down with a broken fuel pipe, but a repair was effected, and finally three F.2As returned triumphantly to base having suffered only one casualty. Following this action, in which the danger of being forced down on the sea with fuel-pipe trouble became only too evident, it was decided to paint the hulls of the F.2As in distinctive colours for ready recognition. Great Yarmouth boats were painted to the crews' own liking, and some bizarre schemes resulted; Felixstowe, on the other hand, imposed a standardised scheme of coloured squares and stripes. The scheme of each individual F.2A was charted, and copies were held by all air and naval units operating off the East Coast.
  The F.2a was also successful against Zeppelins. The most remarkable of these engagements was on 10 May 1918, when N4291 from Killingholme, flown by Capts T C Pattinson and A H Munday, attacked the Zeppelin L62 at 8,000 ft over the Heligoland minefields and shot it down in flames. Some F.2As, operating as far afield as Heligoland, were towed to the scene of action on lighters behind destroyers. This technique was first employed on 10 March 1918, and was originally part of a scheme to extend the flying-boats' range so as to mount a bombing offensive on enemy naval bases.
  One variation of the F.2A was built with the designation F.2C ( 65); it had a modified hull of lighter construction and alterations to the front gun position. Although only one F.2C was produced, it saw active service with the RNAS at Felixstowe. The F.2C, flown by Wg Cdr J C Porte, the famous flying-boat pioneer, shared the credit with two other flying-boats in the same formation for the destruction of a U-boat.

UNITS ALLOCATED
  No.228 Squadron (ex-324, 325 and 326 Flights) at Great Yarmouth; Nos.230, 231, 232 and 247 Squadrons (ex-327, 328, 329, 330, 333, 334, 335, 336, 337 and 338 Flights) at Felixstowe; No.238 Squadron (ex-347, 348 and 349 Flights) at Cattewater; No.240 Squadron (ex-345, 346, 410 and 411 Flights) at Calshot; No.257 Squadron (ex-318 and 319 Flights) at Dundee and No.267 Squadron (ex-360, 361, 362 and 363 Flights) at Kalafrana. Also Nos.320, 321 and 322 Flights at Killingholme.

TECHNICAL DATA (F.2A)
  Description: Fighting and reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure, with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Aircraft Manufacturing Co Ltd, Hendon (with hulls from May, Harden & May, Southampton); S E Saunders Ltd, Isle of Wight; Norman Thompson Flight Co, Bognor Regis. Serial numbers allocated were N4080 to N4099, N4280 to N4309, N4430 to N4504, N4510 to N4519, N4530 to N4554 and N4560 to N4568, but some aircraft were eventually delivered as F.5s.
  Power Plant: Two 345 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII
  Dimensions: Span, 95 ft 7 1/2 in. Length, 46 ft 3 in. Height, 17 ft 6 in. Wing area, 1,133 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 7,549 lb. Loaded, 10,978 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 95 1/2 mph at 2,000 ft; 80Y2 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, 3 min 50 sec to 2,000 ft; 39 min 30 sec to 10,000 ft. Endurance (normal) 6 hr. Service ceiling, 9,600 ft.
  Armament: From four to seven free-mounted Lewis machine-guns (in bows, waist positions, rear cockpit and above pilot's cockpit) and two 230 lb bombs mounted in racks below the bottom wings.


Felixstowe F.3

  It is generally conceded that the F.3, though the subject of large-scale production contracts (263 ordered and 176 delivered), was in many respects the inferior of the F.2A. Admittedly it could carry twice as many bombs, but it was slower and less manoeuvrable, and hence lacked the qualities which had enabled the F.2A to take on German seaplane fighters in air combat. On the other hand, it was capable of a greater range. It first entered service in February 1918 and was not declared obsolete until September 1921.
  The prototype F.3 (N64) differed from production aircraft in having twin 320 hp Sunbeam Cossack engines instead of Rolls-Royce Eagles. It is recorded that it served operationally during 1917-18 with the Royal Naval air station at Felixstowe. It made its maiden flight in February 1917 and was finally written off in May 1918.
  The F.3 operated extensively in the Mediterranean, and in October 1918 accompanied the Naval attack on Durazzo in Albania. The operational requirements for anti-submarine flying-boats in the Mediterranean area were, in fact, so pressing that manufacture of F.3 flying-boats was undertaken locally in Malta dockyards. Twenty-three were built in Malta between November 1917 and the Armistice.

UNITS ALLOCATED
  No.234 Squadron (ex-350, 351, 352 and 353 Flights) at Tresco; No.238 Squadron (ex-347, 348 and 349 Flights) at Cattewater; No.263 Squadron (ex-359, 435, 436 and 441 Flights) at Otranto; No.267 Squadron (ex-360, 361, 362 and 363 Flights) at Kalafrana and No.271 Squadron (ex-357, 350, 359 and 367 Flights) at Taranto. Also No.300 Flight at Catforth, Nos.306 and 307 Flights at Houton and Nos.309, 31 () and 311 Flights at Stemless.

TECHNICAL DATA (FELlXSTOWE F3)
  Description: Anti-submarine patrol flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure, with wood and fabric covering.
  Manufacturers: Short Bros Ltd, Rochester (N4000 to N4036); Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd, Preston (N4100 to N4117 and N4230 to N4279); Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd, Bradford (N4160 to N4176 and N4400 to N4429); Malta Dockyard (N43 10 to N4321 and 4360 to 4370).
  Power Plant: Two 345 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII.
  Dimensions: Span, 102 ft. Length, 49 ft 2 in. Height, 18 ft 8 in. Wing area, 1,432 sq ft.
  Weights: Empty, 7,958 lb. Loaded (normal), 12,235 lb.
  Performance: Maximum speed, 91 mph at 2,000 ft; 86 mph at 6,500 ft. Climb, 5 1/4 min to 2,000 ft; 24 min to 6,500 ft. Endurance, 6 hr. Service ceiling, 8,000 ft.
  Armament: Four Lewis machine-guns on free mountings and four 230 lb bombs on racks beneath the wings.


H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)


F.2A. Extraordinary technical and military qualities were possessed by this most famous of the 'Felixstowe boats' and only in comparatively recent years have these qualities received full recognition. Dating from 1917, the F.2A had an armament of Lewis guns concentrated in the forward part of the hull and at the waist. Typically, there was a Scarff ring-mounting in the bow for one or twin-yoked guns. This was sometimes, perhaps generally, of the familiar No.2 pattern, though there is some evidence to suggest that in a few instances a type of Scarff ring-mounting wherein the quadrant moved with the gun-carrying 'bow', and was invisible when the bow was at its lowest position, may have been fitted. This type of mounting, which will be mentioned again in connection with the Handley Page O/400 and which will be shown in official drawings in Volume 2, was one of several mountings designed by F. W. Scarff. Sometimes the F.2A had a pillar-mounted Lewis gun on top of the pilot's cockpit canopy; there was a single Lewis gun at each waist hatch behind the wings; and atop the hull in this same area was another gun, or sometimes twin-yoked guns. In some instances at least the waist guns appear to have had the Scarff compensating sight. The pillar carrying each gun was mounted at the outer ends of two superimposed struts, braced to an inboard member and allowing the assembly to be swung outboard. There was under-wing provision for two 230-lb bombs just outboard of the attachments of the wing hull bracing struts, the carrier being staved to the wing inboard. One experimental F.2A had two 'howdah' or 'fighting-top' gun-nacelles, each with twin-yoked Lewis guns on a Scarff ring-mounting at its forward end, built on to the upper wing. These guns further broadened an already commanding field of fire; for, compared with the H.12 type of boat, the F.2 was well endowed in this regard, having a 'cocked-up' rear hull which permitted the midships beam guns to be swung outboard on their pillars so that their lines of fire could meet little more than twenty feet astern.
  For comparison with the Sunderland, and with flying-boats between, this contemporary description of accommodation and battle stations is offered:
  'A gunner is located immediately below the fore gun-ring, and a table for his use extends from his seat to the nose of the hull. Underneath the table is an ammunition box and trays... Abaft is the station for the pilot and assistant pilot... Their seats are well upholstered with kapok cushions, which act as lifebuoys if required. The assistant-pilot's seat is made to hinge, so that a clear passage may be obtained for walking fore and aft. A few feet behind the pilot is the wireless cabinet, with operator's seat, while at the port side of this a ration box is fitted. The engineer's accommodation is situated aft, with a ladder giving access to the top deck. Further aft is the second gun ring, with an adjustable platform to allow a gunner to have a good range of heights...'
  In a photograph showing an F.2A built by the Aircraft Manufacturing Co. the sights on the beam gun are mounted on an arm on the gun's left side, with an eye-piece for the rear component. The forward gun, on its Scarff No.2 ring-mounting, does not have Norman vane-type sights, but apparently a form of ring-and-bead sight mounted laterally on the gun's axis.

F.2C. One experimental installation on this F.2A development was a compressed-air bomb-release system, eliminating the usual Bowden cable, but introducing its own problems of complexity and reliability. Only one F.2C was built. Flown by Wg Cdr J. C. Porte, to whom the greatest honour is due for developing the F-boats, this shared with two other machines of the same formation in the destruction of a submarine.

F.3 and F.5. Emphasis was placed, in the arming of these two flying-boats (1917 and 1918 respectively), upon anti-submarine operations, and the bomb load was accordingly increased to four 230-lb bombs. Machine-gun deployment was much as on the F.2 boats, the standard arrangement, as shown in an official publication on the F.5, being single Lewis guns at bow, dorsal and beam positions. No installation of a Davis gun or other heavy ordnance is known to have been made on a British F.3 or F.5, although interest in such armament was very much alive at this period and the American-built F.5 had an installation of the Davis gun. One Lion-engined F.5 for Japan is said to have had a revised bow cockpit for a '1-pounder shell-firing gun'.

F.5 (Metal Hull). Late in 1924 the upperworks of a Felixstowe F.5 flying-boat were fitted to an experimental metal hull of Short construction. Notwithstanding its experimental nature, this hull had two Scarff ring-mountings for Lewis guns. One was in the bow and the second in line with the trailing edges of the wings.


R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 (Putnam)


Hirosho (Hiro Naval Arsenal) (Hiro Kaigun Kosho)

  The Hiro Arsenal was established on 1 August, 1920, under the name of the Aircraft Department, Hiro Branch Arsenal, Kure Naval Arsenal, as the Navy's first real aircraft repair and manufacturing factory. At that time, two Naval aircraft factories were operating at Yokosuka and Sasebo, but space was very limited. To increase production capability for the Navy, the Kure NavaI Arsenal expanded by establishing the Hiro Branch Arsenal three miles southeast of Kure on flat ground between the mouths of two rivers, the Hiro Ohkawa on the west and the Misakaiji-gawa on the cast. This new factory, known by its acronym Hirosho, was completed in October 1921, and licence-production of the F.5 Flying-boats was begun. On 1 April, 1923, the Hiro Branch Arsenal was upgraded to the Hiro Naval Arsenal to which the Aircraft Department belonged.


Navy F.5 Flying-boat

  As a result of the British Aviation Mission that helped train the japanese Naval air force during 1921 and 1922, approximately ten types of British aircraft were taken to Japan by sea for instruction purposes. Among these was the Felixstowe F.5 built by Short Brothers, the aeroplane reputed to be the best of the large flying-boats. At that time, the Navy intended to build these aircraft for its own use, and had invited to Japan twenty-one engineers from Short Brothers for that purpose. This group, led by Shorts' engineer Dodds who arrived in Japan in April 1921, began work at the Ordnance Department of the Yokosuka Arsenal where the flyingboats were to be built. The japanese contingent under British leadership were Capt (Ordnance) Ryuzo Tanaka, Capt (Ordnance) Tomasu Koyama, Lieut Kishichi Umakoshi, Lieut Misao Wada, Engineer Masasuke Hashimoto and others. The manufacture of the F.5 was the start of many years of large flying-boat construction in Japan.
  In addition to the licensed manufacturing rights, Short Brothers supplied partially built assemblies to complete the first six of the F.5, in addition to assembly tooling and instruction in the manufacturing process. These F.5s were assembled at Yokosuka Arsenal, with the first one completed in April 1921. Since the F.5 was already renowned throughout the world as an excellent twin-engined all-wood flying-boat, it was no surprise that those assembled in Japan had excellent performance. When the first of them visited Tokyo, with a fly past in October 1921, there was impressed public reaction to their, then, enormous size.
  Following these imported and japanese-assembled aircraft, the flying-boat was put into full production at the Aircraft Department of the Hiro Naval Arsenal in the Kure area, beginning in October 1921. An additional forty F.5s were built by Aichi up until 1929.
  The engines initially used in these aeroplanes were the imported Rolls-Royce Eagle, which developed 360hp. As work developed, the Engine Factory of the Hiro Arsenal manufactured their first licence-built 400hp Lorraine engines in August 1924. In 1925, the Hiro Arsenal experimentally installed these new engines in one of the flying-boats and designated it the F.1. As the power rating of the Lorraine was increased to 450hp, another flying-boat was equipped with them, to become the F.2. Although the Hiro Arsenal expected that both the F.1 and F.2 would be adopted as standard equipment, the prototype aircraft were never put into production because the design of the airframe was already considered obsolete as it was based on First World War construction concepts. In addition to the prototypes, there were modifications of others, primarily in engine configurations, one version being powered by two 360hp Eagle direct-drive engines with faired nacelles, two-bladed propellers and Lamblin-type radiators.
  Only the F.5 version was taken into Japanese Naval air service. They were used as long-range patrol aircraft from 1922 to 1930, from bases at Yokosuka and Sasebo. They gave impressive service during their operational life, and numerous newspaper accounts covered their long-range over-water flights; but also during this time there were numerous accidents with deaths and injuries, the result of engine problems, improper maintenance, and bad weather. Nevertheless, the F.5 made its mark in Japanese aviation history.

  Twin-engined biplane flying-boat. All wooden construction with ply covered hull and fabric-covered wings, tail and control surfaces. Originally crewed by four; two pilots, observer/bow gunner and flight engineer/rear gunner. Later crewed by six, adding navigator and radio operator.
  Two 360hp Rolls-Royce Eagle twelve-cylinder vee water-cooled engines, driving four-bladed wooden propellers.
  Two flexible 7.7mm machine-guns.

   Aircraft Technical Order Japanese Navy Data
Span 31.59m (103ft 8in) 31.59m (103ft 8in)
Length 15.03m (49ft 4in) 15.16m (49ft 8 3/4in)
Height 5.75m (18ft 10 1/4in) 5.75m (18ft 10 1/4in)
Wing area 131.3sq m (1,413.347sq ft)
Empty weight 3,720kg (8,201lb) 3,784kg (8,342Ib)
Loaded weight 5,627kg (12,405Ib) 5,800kg (12,786lb)
Wing loading 42 7kg/sq m 44.1kg/sq m
   (8.7Ib/sq ft) (9Ib/sq ft)
Power loading 8.04kg/hp (17. 7Ib/hp) 8.05kg/hp (17.7Ib/hp)
Maximum speed 89kt (102mph) 78kt (90mph)
Climb to 2,000m (6,562ft) 1,000m (3,280ft)
   16min 06sec 15min
Service ceiling 3,550m (11,646ft)
Range 620nm (712sm)
Endurance 7hr 8hr

  Ten built by Yokosuka Arsenal (including six imported unassembled, ten (approx) by Hiro Arsenal, forty by Aichi.


Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919


THE FELIXSTOWE "F3" FLYING BOAT


  The F3 Flying Boat designs emanate from the Seaplane Experimental Station, Felixstowe, but it has been built in quantity by Messrs. Short Bros. The boat is of the now well known Felixstowe construction with a wide Vee bottomed planing surface, fitted with two steps. The crew consists of a gunner in the nose, two pilots enclosed in a cabin in advance of the main planes, and a gunners cockpit in the rear of the planes with swivel mountings for Lewis guns firing out of the top and either side of the boat. The top plane has a considerable overhang and is fitted with ailerons of large area. Over the last set of struts are king-posts for bracing the overhang, the intervening space between the front and rear king-posts being covered in to form a fin.



Specification.
Type of machine Boat Seaplane.
Name or typo No. of machine Felixstowe F 3.
Purpose for which intended Anti-submarine.
Span 102 It.
Gap, maximum and minimum 8 ft. 6 In.
Overall length 49 ft.
Maximum height 18 ft. 9 in.
Chord 8 ft.
Total surface of wings 1,413 sq. ft.
Span of tail 22 ft.
Total area of tail 118 sq. ft.
Area of elevators 67 sq. ft.
Area of rudder 30.3 sq. ft.
Area of fin 37.2 sq. ft.
Area of each ailerons 65 sq. ft.
Total area of ailerons 132 sq. ft.
Engine type and h.p. Rolls-Royce Eagle 8 (two) 400 h.p. each.
Airscrew, diam. 10 ft.
Weight of machine empty 7,650 lbs.
Load per sq. ft. 842 lbs.
Weight per h.p. 17 lbs.
Tank capacity In hours 9.7 max.; 5 hours normal.
Tank capacity In gallons 212 gallons.
Performance.
  Speed low down 85 m.p.h.
Disposable load apart from fuel 2,550 lbs.
Total weight of machine loaded 11,900 lbs.


C.Owers The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 22)


2. Development of the Felixstowe Flying Boats

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  The decision was made to experiment with larger hulls and the Curtiss H-8 Large America serial 8650 was obtained. The H-8 was a larger boat built by Curtiss and one that Porte claimed that he had designed. Porte was in Canada in 1915 to witness the testing of the Curtiss Canada twin engined landplane based on the Curtiss America flying boats. Given his connections with Curtiss it is assumed that he would have taken the opportunity to visit the Curtiss manufacturing facilities and discuss his ideas for flying boats for operations in the North Sea. He so claimed in his post-war application for payment due to his inventions with respect to flying boats.
  As detailed in Chapter 1 the H-8 was modified to become the H-12. With more powerful engines the H-12 boats did good work but their hull was structurally weak.
  Particulars of the H-12 were as follows: Hull length: 40 feet; Maximum beam: 10 feet; Fore and aft angle: 7 1/2°. The hull weighed 2,200 lbs and the complete machine 6,200 lbs when light. The intended takeoff weight was 8,700 lbs with the two 160-hp Curtiss engines. Unfortunately these engines proved incapable of taking this load off and 240-hp Rolls Royce engines were substituted. Even with these engines this load could only be taken off with difficulty. “This was due to lack of buoyancy and it was only when lightly loaded that “getting off’ could be accomplished with ease.”
  There was a distinct “hump” speed of about 18 knots, due in part to propeller inefficiency at that speed but mainly to the fact that while at that speed the wings were lifting very slightly while the lift of the hull was also poor and its water resistance high. Once over this “hump” speed, there was little trouble in getting off. “It was evident that a greater load could be taken off were not for this phase of inefficiency.”
  The Porte I hull was superior to that of 8650, so it was decided to construct a new hull on the same lines to take the same Large America, super structure of the Porte I. This was known as the Porte II (later F.2) and was designed along the lines of the Porte I as much as possible on a larger scale. The same construction of a crossed-braced girder with simple longerons and spacers to which the fins were attached was followed. Specifications of this boat were: 16,500 lbs loaded weight; length of hull 42 ft; fore and aft angle 20°. The bows were two feet longer than 8650 and owing to this increase in length it was possible to form the bows with a distinct forward flare. There were two steps, one under the rear spar and the other 7 feet aft of the spar.
  This proved a much superior boat. The hump that had been so troublesome with the original hull practically disappeared, the machine accelerated evenly and rapidly to take off; there was no difficulty in getting off with 500 or 600 lbs additional load. The large fore and aft angle proved to have practically eliminated all shock on getting off and landing, and the general seaworthiness was greatly improved. In addition there was a considerable gain in buoyancy and structural strength without increase of weight. The Rolls Royce engines gave the reliability to justify long patrols. The machine retained her original serial.
  Felixstowe daily reports do not record when the new hull was fitted but the machine was described as under repair from 10 to 30 June 1916. 8650 made several patrols until 30 September when she was accidently damaged near the Dutch island of Terschelling. Taken in tow she was brought back close to land when the tow line parted and was lost. The wreck was washed up including the whole boat bottom that was found to be still intact. On 4 October the first Curtiss H-12 had arrived and was being erected at Felixstowe.
  The Porte Baby was an attempt to build a very large three-engined patrol flying boat. Its development was separate from
the evolving F-boats, and its history is related in Chapter 6.
  Commodore Murray F. Sueter wrote in February 1917 that these experiments “are of great value as a ground work in flying boat research and the experience gained in these long and patiently conducted tests will, I trust, enable Wing Commander Porte and the staff of Felixstowe Air Station to continue research on hull design with success proportionate to their efforts.”
  The Felixstowe F.2A, F.2B, F.2C, Curtiss H-16 and H-12 Converts are all grouped together as they are all variations of one model, the original F.2.
  Their leading dimensions are nearly the same, and their differences are largely due to preferences of their different makers.
  F.2C: N64. Built at Felixstowe, open cockpit, tandem dual control and streamline wires. Fastest boat in 1917 reaching a speed of 88 knots. Later converted to F.3.
  F.2A: Built by contractors from Felixstowe drawings or modifications of them. The centre sections were wider than F.2C and F.2B to allow for larger airscrews. The early boats had cabin tops, but later ones had open cockpits.
  F.2B: The name given to some spare hulls ordered to replace the America, hulls of the H-12 machines, before completion they were altered to be interchangeable with F.2A hulls and the altered machines were known as H-12 Converts.
  H-16: The name given by the Curtiss Company to the F.2A built by them.
  The story of these machines is one of constant improvement and modification. The original rather crude detail design was perfected and petrol systems, armament, etc., were improved as experience dictated. The gross weight was increased until it had become 11,500 lb, and on special occasions, 12,000 lbs. The increase in power of the Rolls Royce engines compensated in some measure for this increase. Boats failed to get off on occasion, pounding until their bottoms failed. Top speed was usually 80 to 84 knots, while cruising speed was 60 knots.
  In 1916 the demand for a long range flying boat led to the design of the F.3 to take the most powerful engines then available, the 310-hp Sunbeam. Due to the demand for this boat it was rushed through the design stage rather than incorporate many improvements in detail that experience had suggested. Redesigning would have caused delays to established manufacturing processes. The hull was still 14 feet wide, but overall length was increased to 45 feet. Gap, chord and span were increased to give an additional 300 square feet of wing area. Provision was made for 430 gallons of fuel. A speed of 77 knots was obtained on trial with an initial climb of 400 feet/minute.
  The wings employed a RAF 14 aerofoil section, subsequently changed to a modified RAF 5 section. A great deal of trouble was experienced with the Sunbeam engines and Rolls Royce Eagle VIII engines were substituted. The performance with the Rolls Royce engines was rather better than with the Sunbeams due to their lighter weight, and the useful load was increased.
  The F.3 was officially adopted for anti-submarine work in 1917 but did not appear until a year later, but they did some good work before the end of the war. The F.3 proved to have a weakness in the design of the hull planking that would spring and leak badly. Being larger and heavier than the F.2A they were not liked by their pilots. They were restricted to areas where opposition from German aircraft was not likely.
  The original F.3, the again modified N64, was completed in December 1916, and was used for patrol work during 1917 as well as participating in various trials and experiments. She outlasted many H-12 machines and was finally deleted thoroughly worn out.
  It was decided to design a new boat, the F.5 (there is no record of an F.4), of the same overall dimensions as the F.3 but incorporating all the improvements that experience had suggested but had not been able to be incorporated into the F.3. Originally it was intended to fit one or possibly two Coventry Ordnance Works guns into the design but they were not perfected in time, and the machine was completed for antisubmarine work. The machine had to carry two 500-lb bombs or 4 x 250-lb bombs. The water performance of the F.2A and F.3 had deteriorated as they were more heavily loaded, so the new F.5 was made with a deeper back step and a fuller Reel line amidships. These changes were effective and the boat planned more easily than any of its predecessors.
  The chief improvements besides the hull form were as follows:
  The size and distribution of the main girder structure were revised and a stronger form of transverse bracing introduced. The junction of planking and keel was strengthened by carrying the timber right across and the disposition of the bulkheads was corrected. Any two compartments could be flooded without the boat sinking. Fuel tanks were rearranged to give a clear access along a gangway on the port side. The rudder post was strengthened considerably making the tail more secure.
  A modified RAF 6 aerofoil wing section was employed. Streamline wires were adopted. The whole tail was redesigned, given more chord and lesser span, and better fastening to the hull. As the tail was so much stronger it reduced the rather alarming swaying of the tail which took place with the F.3 when the engines were run up on the ground.
  The balanced ailerons and rudder overcame the heaviness that plagued the F.3 s controls. A servo motor was fitted to the ailerons but hardly ever needed. An open cockpit was chosen to give a better view for alighting and fighting instead of the cabin with glass windows. The problem with the windows fogging up was thus eliminated. It was also felt that the open cockpit improved the streamline form and gave a slight increase in speed.
  The Porte Super Baby (PSB) or Felixstowe Fury was designed for three 600-hp Rolls Royce Condor engines. As these engines were not available five Rolls Royce Eagle VIII engines had to be used which led to a drop in performance. The PSB was the best boat turned out at Felixstowe. (See Chapter 8)
  All the F boats tend to porpoise when the boat was on the step, especially in rough seas, but there was generally sufficient elevator control to check these oscillations.

The Porte Form of Construction:

  The main framework of the hull was of the box girder principle fuselage comprising two upper and lower longerons running right fore and aft meeting at the stem and sternpost. Aft of the front spar the sides and top were braced in the usual manner with struts and wire or tie rods. Forward of the front spar the sides were N girders with the top braced as above. Between and below the level of the lower longerons ran the keel and solid keelson without a break. The keel ran from the stern post right around the stem to finish at the gun ring. The keelson terminated at the stem and at the stern post. Deep solid floors, on a level with the top of the lower longerons, joined up the keel, keelson and these longerons to form the backbone of the hull. The chine and fin top longitudinal sweep up into the lower longerons to complete the framework. David Nicolson was a critic of Porte and a supporter of Linton Hope. He was “of the opinion that the keel is of faulty design, for many boats were found to leak badly, partly due to the bad connections between the keel and bottom planking, and partly because the keel is too narrow. The keel and planking are fastened with only one row of brass screws which secure the bottom planking to the keel in the hulls of the F.3 type.”
  In the F.5 the timbers were continuous from fin chine to fin chine, notched through the keelson on keel level and from chine to fin top longitudinal, using copper rivets, forming a much stronger combination than in previous F boats.
  A timber was fastened on each side of a floor, of which there was usually one at each strut position and one between struts, and two timbers between each floor. Planking was fastened to these timbers. Several fore and aft stringers were fitted, notched out to receive the timbers to which they were fastened. On the original F boats the planking was double diagonal, continuous from stem to stern, fore and aft, and to chine athwart ship, and the step planking added separately. The fin tops and sides to just aft of the rear spar were planked with three-ply, aft of which the sides were covered with doped fabric, a solid mahogany washboard about 1 foot deep extending along this length. The top from aft the pilot’s cockpit was covered in doped fabric laid on fore and aft stringers, supported on formers, forward of which the top of the hull was planked.
  Bottom planking was arranged on a diagonal system the inner skin of cedar 1/8 inch thick at the ends and 3/16 inch thick amidships, fitted at an angle of 45° inclination to the keel. The outer mahogany skin was 5/32 inch thick forward, 3/16 inch thick amidships and 1/8 inch aft. The planking being laid at an angle of 30° with the forward end of the planks butting the keel. A layer of varnished fabric was fitted between the two layers making a strong structure.
  The fin top on the first series of F boats was of three-ply birch, and in later types was covered with fabric and varnished. The timbers under the fin of the early F.3 hulls were heavy and widely spaced. On later boats smaller timbers spaced closer were substituted to permit all though fastening of the diagonal planking on the hard wood timbers. All the fins on the F.3 were flat, but on the F.5 were given a 1/2 inch camber, that added strength, and assisted in getting rid of water easily.
  The timbering at the bow was composed of rock elm and reinforced by horizontal stiffeners below the top longerons. Above the top longerons there were 10 deck-stringers that were notched to take the ribs, together with three strong beams which subdivide the athwartship ribs. This skeleton, which was shaped like a dome, was planked diagonally, the inner skin being laid at 45°, with the outer skin being laid approximately fore and aft to suit the curve of the nose. Each skin was of mahogany 5/32 inch thick, the planking being fastened to the strong beams with wood screws. Although slightly heavier than the rest of the hull, “it is the best piece of construction in the whole boat.” Strength of the fore body is essential for at high speeds the resistance of the air is great and a weak nose would be very easily damaged and driven in.
  Abaft the bow planking the sides were of three-ply birch and extended from the bottom of the fin member to the top longeron, running aft to the gun-port openings, a distance of about 18 feet. The rear of the hull had fabric sides, however there were incidents where the fabric did not stand up to the sea and boats were lost. This happened with RAF F.2A and USN H-16 boats. The fabric was eventually replaced with diagonal planking of two skins, each 1/16 inch thick with nainsook between. This was a great improvement as it increased torsional strength and was only about 47 lbs heavier.
  For operation from sheltered harbours such as Felixstowe the hulls were suitable. When operational requirements meant that they had to be carried out under less favourable sea conditions, several weaknesses became apparent. The joints leaked, the three ply on the fin tops and hull sides rotting and opening up the laminations. Similarly wash boards split and the fabric rotted. The fin tops were then double planked diagonal with mahogany and cedar, and the sides were either single planked fore and aft, and fabric covered, or planked with “Consuta.”
  The solid transverse mahogany floors were fastened to the lower longerons by metal angle plates and notched for two thirds of their depth for the bottom to fit over the keelson. The keelson was notched out one-third of its depth from the top. Although the keelson was nearly 12 deep in parts it was greatly weakened by having one-third of its depth cut away to accommodate the floors. The corner of the joint were filled with square fillets for the whole depth. This was a weak and uneconomical form of construction, resulting in frequent splitting of the floors. The floor was cutaway about two-thirds its depth, thereby sacrificing strength to accommodate the keelson. In Nicolson’s opinion, the “keel is of faulty design ... for many boats were found to leak badly, partly due to the bad connections between the keel and bottom planking, and partly because the keel is too narrow...only one row of brass screws secure the bottom planking to the keel in the hulls of the F.3 type.’
  The steps on the F.2A and F.3 were framed with ash bearers 1/2 inch thick, and were three inches deep at the after edge, tapering to meet a board that ran off to a feather edge forward. The steps were of the open type and the planking was fastened with wood screws to the ash bearers. The inner skin was cedar with a mahogany outer skin, both laid diagonally. The whole step was constructed on a bench and then screwed onto the bearers. In some cases the steps would be wrenched off the bottoms of the hull just prior to the boat getting off the water. This was remedied in the F.5 by carrying the inner skin of the bottom right through from end to end of the boat. The outer skin was then put on and carried forward to a feather edge under the main step.
Nicolson considered that another “weak point (in the F boats) is the discontinuity of transverse strength caused by running the timbers down to the keel and stopping them there, no provision really being made to hold the centre girder to the bottom planking or sides of the hull.”
  The hull framework, wings and tail structure formed a complete and simple braced structure independent of the hull skin. The only drawback to the wing root structure was the absence of a clear passage through the hull. The wing root spars were one of the most important structures in the machine. They not only carried the weight of the wings, but they supported the engines. When in the air the hull was suspended from them. They were held in position at the sides and centre of the hull by heavy stanchions and struts. They were originally solid wood but in later boats were laminated in two or three sections. Outside the hull they were covered with three-ply birch.
  The top of the hull had many openings. The foremost being the gunner’s cockpit with gun ring, followed by the pilots cockpit. Further aft was the wireless operators hatch. The engineers hatch was placed on the port side immediately aft of which was a three-ply footway extending across the hull. Another opening accommodated the wireless mast and lastly there was an 8 inch triangular ventilator. The deck aft was built up with the minimum number of stringers and covered in fabric in order to keep the weight to a minimum. Tie heavier the rear of the hull the greater the bending moment and tendency to shear. The interior of the hull was well lighted due to the doped fabric top.
  The front gunners cockpit had a table that extended from his seat to the nose of the hull. Underneath the table was an ammunition box for the Lewis gun trays. The three-ply hinged seat had a high back. The pilots cockpit’s seats for the pilot and assistant pilot had well upholstered seats of kapok cushions that could act as flotation devices if required. The assistant pilot’s seat folded out of the way to open up a clear passage aft. A few feet behind the pilot was located the wireless cabinet together with the operator’s seat, while on the opposite side a ration box was fitted. The engineer’s compartment was situated aft with a ladder giving access to the top of the deck.
  A considerable number of metal fittings were used in the construction of the F boats. The chief elements of the structure, such as struts, floors, wing root spars, etc, were held together by light steel fittings. The fittings in the F boats were so many that their manufacture in quantity had a considered influence on production of the boats during the war. Despite Major Rennie’s assertion that they “are readily inspected and do not corrode or rust away in a few weeks as some critics would have us believe. With little attention they will outlive the hull,” many of these were in inaccessible places and to replace them would mean dismantling the hull.
  One criticism of this type of construction was that it did not readily admit to the fitting of a double bottom. Major Rennie answered that the F boats on operations had shown that damage caused by flotsam was a very infrequent occurrence. While Capt David Nicolson agreed that the F boats were a “great improvement on the Curtiss type, and were fitted with engines of considerable greater power,” he also noted that “as in previous boats, the bottom gave trouble owing to faulty floor and keel construction.”

Comparison of the Porte - Linton Hope Methods of Construction

  The Linton Hope or flexible type of construction was totally different to the Porte type. It consisted of a keel and keelson continuous from stem to stern post, and a large number of fore and aft stringers distributed evenly around the periphery of the hull that was of streamline form. Small section timbers closely pitched were bent round the stringers, ending at the keel. To these timbers was attached the planking, the inner being diagonally laid, and the outer fore and aft. The planning surface extended from the bows to the main step and was attached to the three-ply formers on the hull bottom and at the step, which was closed, to fore and aft bearers. The fin top was straight and the chine ended at the step. The after step was attached in a similar way. This form of construction led to a double bottom in way of fins.
  Nicolson promoted the Linton Hope hull. Linton Hope was a naval architect and designer of racing yachts. The Linton Hope form of construction was entirely different to the method Porte developed. This was claimed to offer fair and easy lines from a circular cross section, consequently offering less air resistance and higher speeds for the same horsepower. They were stated to be generally stronger weight for weight than the F boats, and more seaworthy. The F boat was said to be a compromise with a flying boat forebody attached to a fuselage tail. According to Nielson this compromise proved weak and, as described above, additional planking had to be added to strengthen the hull. Having rectangular hulls they were stated to be weaker in transverse strength than the Linton Hope circular design.
  Linton Hope designed the hulls of the A.D., the Phoenix P.5, and the Fairey N.4 flying boats. The A.D. boat was not a success, and while the P.5 had potential the Armistice ended any chance of it being produced in quantity. Nicolson considered the P.5 as “being far ahead of anything previously accomplished.” It was stated that the complicated movement of the elevator to get an F boat off the water was not required with the Linton Hope type as these were designed from model results in the tanks of the National Physics Laboratory, and none of these control movements were necessary. Also the Linton Hope type did not need the complicated wing root structure necessary in the F boats. It was noted that the flying boats were hard to hanger and were often left out at moorings. The Linton Hope hull was considered by Nicolson to have better qualities when moored out.
  Replying to Nicolson's 1919 paper, John Porte pointed out that the F boats had a long war record no Linton Hope hull had seen war service and had only been in use for a limited time as experimental models. Nicolson had made no attempt to prove that the Linton Hope type of hull was stronger weight for weight than the F type and as the Linton Hope boat had not been subject to rough usage and handling under actual service conditions, “it did not seem justifiable to make such a statement... During a period of 18 months two seaplane stations operating F boats on the east coast on submarine and reconnaissance patrols had 230,000 sea miles flown to their credit, and not one man lost through unseaworthiness of these boats, although several forced landings had to be made in the North Sea either due to enemy action or failure in the power plant.”
  The size of the boats meant that they had to be housed in sheds except where they operated from sheltered harbours and even there they had to be frequently taken out of the water for repairs and overhaul.
  To bring in the boats they were put on trolleys while in the water. The trolley ran up an inclined slipway to suit the rise of tide, and were pulled up with the boats in place, and housed in a shed. Now, experience has shown that, apart from crashes and really bad landings, the most serious local stresses which a hull had to withstand were those suffered during its life on the trolley, or getting off and on the trolley. If a flying boat were to be safely and quickly put on a trolley, and, when on, not be distorted locally, the whole weight should be taken on the trolley at the keel. With the F type that could be done, as the transverse bracing at the centre section, where the wing structure joined the hull, was so designed that the resultant loads due to the various weights, such as wings, engines., passed through the keel. The necessary side support was taken off the side bottom longerons, which also formed part of the transverse structure, but no load was taken by the fin or hull planking between the keel and longerons. In the Linton Hope type that was not possible, as there was no such transverse bracing, the result being that unless special props were provided on the trolley to take the load under the engine struts, the hull would distort locally, probably to such an extent that it would be very difficult to keep the hull in the vicinity of the step watertight. Time and experience alone could tell which type of construction would survive as being most suitable to fulfil the many and complex conditions of service,
  The critic of Porte hulls, David Nicolson, considered that the F boats were too nose heavy due to the stringers being too closely spaced, while the timbers and bottom were much under strength. Nicolson had “pointed out for many years that any hull construction methods employed on the F.2A. boats could not be seaworthy.” He considered that the hull of a flying boat should be as seaworthy as a motor boat. “A seaworthy hull that could fly was what was required, and could be accomplished if the best yacht builders were given a free hand.” G.S. Baker on the other hand stated that the “real defect” of both the F and P type hulls, that is Porte and Linton Hope, hulls, was that “one could not get at them inside.” For impact experiments on an F hull he had been given a hull “not quite three years old, and the inner skin was rotten in places, not because of bad work, but because it was almost impossible to get there to keep it clean. One could hardly get at some of the structure inside the boats, and if the hulls were to last more than two or three years they must be readily accessible inside.”
  “The fact remains that the Porte hulls stood up and are still standing up to the work for which they were designed, in spite of all the adverse criticism and condemnation which they have been and are subject to. Admittedly there are many faults and weaknesses in the Porte hulls, but there are just about as many in the Linton-Hope hulls.” What must be remembered was that Porte was not a theoretician but flew his boats in combat and knew what was necessary to produce a fighting machine that could be produced by firms without the boat building skills needed for the Linton-Hope form of construction.
  Just before the Armistice work was in hand to fit steps to the F.5 in accordance with results developed in the NPL tank. This work ceased due to demobilisation. Porte developed the position of the steps from observation as the result of a great deal of experience of taking off and landing flying boats in all types of seas and weather. The experimental F.5 had been flown before there were any full-scale tests of the tank arrangement of the steps.
  The US Navy used the F-5-L successfully for many years post war. Maj Buchanan “did not wish to diminish what had been done by the late Major Linton-Hope, with whom he had been in close contact at the Air Ministry and the Admiralty, he pointed out that while he agreed with the criticisms of the F type boats, he thought that to claim that the Linton-Hope method was a complete solution was “going rather long way.” His reason was that there was a lot of experience that had been gained with the F boats while that with the Linton Hope hull was very limited. The wooden hulled Supermarine Southampton utilised a Linton Hope type of hull, but this was soon superceded by the metal hulled Southampton. The argument as to which hull construction was the better was now of academic interest only.
  Post-war Porte made a claim to the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors for the work he had carried out on developing the flying boat during the war. The claim was separated into two separate cases:
  1. The claim in respect of the American Flying Boats delivered in Felixstowe in August 1914.
  2. The claim with respect to the subsequent modification of this flying boat.
  The claim was considered under three heads:
  (a). What was the value of the novel features in this boat?
  (b). How far were these novel features due to Colonel Porte?
  (c). How far had Colonel Porte parted with any rights he may have had?
  It was considered that the novel features in (a) were not of great inventive ingenuity, but were a natural development of the flying boat. It was acknowledged that development of the first America boats was done in the USA and it would be most difficult to obtain information as to the design sequence. As to part (c), it appeared “that Colonel Porte had certainly parted with some rights to Wanamaker, and it was through the letter that the Aircraft Manufacturing Company was placed in possession of the material necessary to enable them to construct the original boats.” This is a reference to the eight H-4 flying boats built by the AMC in 1914-1915. Wanamaker had made a claim against AMC and “the indications point to some probability of this being eventually borne by the Department.”
  In the summer of 1923 the US sent a Commission to London where it met with a British Commission to settle the claims of inventors for the use of their inventions during the war. For use during the war years the compensation was paid by the British Government as per the Bolling Agreement. Royalties for use post-war were paid by the US Government. The principal claim that concerned the USN was that of the estate of Commander Porte. It was held that Porte’s work was a natural development of the flying boat, the basic patents of which were held by Glenn Curtiss. Moreover as Porte was a serving officer at the time he had done his work in the line of duty. A nominal sum of £1,500 was paid to Mrs Porte as a gratuity for his services to the USN.
  Capt A.E. Bolton noted in his paper on the development of the large flying boat that the “advent of the Large Flying Boat marked the beginning of a new era in the naval side of aerial warfare, as they were a very distinct improvement over the large but slow float type sea-planes at that time in use in both air speed, observational powers, bomb carrying and radius of action.” It was the Porte boat that took the action to the enemy and this is his legacy.


4. The America Flying Boats in Combat

Enter the F.2A

  The Felixstowe F.2A was the result of John Porte’s experiments on flying boat hulls as detailed in Chapter 2. It was to become the most famous type of British flying boat of the war due to its combats with Zeppelins and German marine aircraft as well as its use in long-range reconnaissance patrols and anti-submarine work. The first Production F.2A delivered was N4280, a Saunders built example. This machine was delivered to Felixstowe during the week ending 17 November 1917.
  The F.2A worked with the H-12 and H-12 Converts from those stations where conflict with enemy aircraft could be expected. The F.2A overcame many of the problems that had arisen with the Curtiss boats and proved so successful that it was to be built in the USA with Liberty engines as the Curtiss H-16. The circumstances behind the decision to build the F.2A in the US are unknown. Did the British supply Curtiss with plans that enabled that Company to build the H-16 before the US NAF entered into the discussion? The British ordered the H-16 in June 1917. British H-16 boats entered service around April 1918. The fact that the NAF redrew the F.2A plans for manufacture in the US points to their involvement at an early stage. This question requires more research.
  The H-16 was used at Dundee from where N4891 made a 10 1/4 hour flight on 27 August 1918. The flight was the longest that was recorded by any H-16 or F.2A but ended badly. The boat crashed while landing in the dark on the River Tay writing the boat off but with no injuries to the crew. Dundee was being reinforced in the autumn of 1918 as it was suspected that the German High Seas Fleet might make a last sortie. The flying boats were ready to assist the British fleet in whatever arose. By the end of December Dundee had 12 flying boats, four H-16, five F.2A and three F.3 boats. On Armistice Day Sir A. Robinson was shipping N4484 to Dundee. On 3 June N4066 from Dundee, with the crew of Capt W.R. Kenny, Capt N.H. Woodhead, AMI C.G. Allred and AAM1E .P. Denton, dropped their two 230-Ib bombs on a submarine that had submerged on their approach. Dundee did not get the acknowledgement that Felixstowe and Yarmouth received but it carried out its job with a variety of aircraft.
  The USN had considerable difficulty in bringing the H-16 into service and at Killingholme H-12, H-12 Convert, F.2A and British H-16 boats were utilised by that Station until their H-16 boats entered service. Short floatplanes were also flown operationally from Killingholme. Norman Thompson N.T.4 and Porte Baby flying boats were also recorded by NAS Killingholme, and if flown would have been only for training flights.
  The following precises of official reports concerning N4287 from Killingholme Station when it was in the process of being handed over to the USN, gives an indication of the work done by the Felixstowe boats. F.2A N4287 was from a batch of 30 flying boats built by S.E. Saunders Ltd at and built at Cowes, and delivered to Killingholme via Felixstowe on 20 March 1918.
  17.06.18. 1st Pilot Lt Cleeve, RAF; 2nd Pilot Ens Allen, USNRF. Sighted suspicious oil patch 15 miles due East of South Creek at 0755. Dropped two bombs one of did not explode. No results observed.
  26.06.18. Large America 4287. Ens J.J. Schieffelin, USNRF (pilot). Whilst on patrol sighted the conning tower of sub three miles distant in Lat 53° 33Z' N, Long 0° 59' E. The sub submerged rapidly while the seaplane was still 1 1/2 miles away and started to move slowly westward. Two 230-lb bombs were dropped on position sub submerged which burst 150 and 200 yards from the hull. Nothing further observed and seaplane returned to base. Only the conning tower, that was painted black, was seen.
  28.06.18. 1st Pilot Lt (jg) F.R.V. Lynch, USNRF; 2nd Pilot Ens Grosvenor, USNRF. Whilst on patrol at 1120 sighted a submarine awash which immediately submerged. Two bombs were dropped from an altitude of 400 feet which fell on either side of the course of the submarine had apparently taken. The position of the sub was sent to base and after circling the position for 15 minutes and observing nothing further the seaplane returned to base.
  13.07.18. Lt Lawrence (pilot), Ens G.S. Hodges (pilot). Whilst on patrol at 0714 sighted the wake of a submarine. One bomb was dropped after passing over the submarine twice, bubbles rose from the submarine. A second bomb was dropped and an oil patch was observed on the surface in the position where the bomb was dropped. On being informed by the seaplane, a destroyer came to the position of the submarine and dropped 6 depth charges. The seaplane left the destroyer patrolling the vicinity and returned to base.
  10.08.18. 1st Pilot Capt Pattinson, RAF; 2nd Pilot Lt (jg) Lawrence, USNRF. Position 54.12N, 04.10 E, sighted Zeppelin to the North at a distance of 20 miles. Zeppelin first seen steering NE at about an altitude of 8,000’, the seaplane at 6,000’. Altered course. At 1725 broke off chase, Zeppelin at 9,075’. Distance from Zeppelin 2 to 3 miles. Distance covered 504 miles.
  N4287 was turned over to the USN in July 1918, and was written off in Week Ending 5 September 1918.
  The F.2A boats were more capable of taking care of themselves than the H-12. On 18 March 1918, Great Yarmouth F.2A N4512 left at 10.30AM with Flt Cmdrs Bob Leckie and G.E. Jerry Livock as pilots, and Flt Lt Daddy Brenton replacing the usual gun-layer, AM West, with PO Thorpe and AM Chapman completing the crew. When some 10 miles from Terschelling they sighted two hostile seaplanes and they promptly gave chase. Livock dropped their bombs to lighten the boat. In the resulting running battle, during which they bred nearly all the ammunition for the forward guns which jambed every few seconds. Hits were observed on one HA but did not hit anything vital as it kept on its course. After about 15 minutes Borkum Island was in sight so it was time to turn for home before reinforcements arrived from its air station. “There was no manoeuvring or anything like that - the two machines just flew along side by side pumping lead into each other as hard as they could.” The enemy observer was an excellent shot. Their boat had been hit in several places. One fuel tank was holed and the port oil tank punctured. After about a half hour they gave up the chase.
  At 12.45 three enemy seaplanes were seen and course was altered to avoid them given the condition of the boat. The Germans attacked one proving very accurate as they hit the fuel tanks again. The boat had dropped to within five feet of the sea with a German “in station directly behind us.” This machine continued to fire short bursts hitting the tail. At 1.10PM the enemy gave up and headed for home.
  The Germans method of attack was to get directly behind the boat on the same level. “This is practically the only blind spot in the boat, and, unless by yawing the machine about, we were unable to bring our guns to bear upon him.” This was still a vast improvement over the H-12 that was completely blind from below and behind. The boat arrived back at base with only 50 gallons of fuel left, another 50 gallons was estimated to have flowed out of the tanks into the boats bilge. This was the first encounter of the Great Yarmouth boats with German fighting seaplanes.
  Danger did not always come from the enemy. Flt Lt Daniel Fairman Ellis took Ens H.M. Wilcox up in an H-12 8669 on 9 March 1918, apparently as a check flight for Wilcox. There was an accident with the airscrew that according to Wilcox led to the loss of both Ellis’s legs. Wilcox remembered that “When we were in the water, the Canadian pilot complained “Something is wrong with my legs.’ I managed to remove him from the cabin of the plane and carry him piggy back out on the wing.” A tug came and rescued them and Wilcox accompanied the injured pilot to hospital.
  On 25 April 1918, two boats from Felixstowe were attacked by the redoubtable Oberleutnant d R Christiansen's Brandenburg monoplanes from Zeebrugge. Curtiss H-12 Convert 8677 was accompanied by F2.A N4284. They left Felixstowe at 3.55PM and at 4:33 encountered seven hostile machines and attacked them at close range. The combat report from the crew of N4284, Capt Young and Capt Tees with Engineer Edwards and W/T Operator Nicol, described the attack as follows:
  Visibility about 8 miles, hazy in places. Submarine patrol in company with machine 8677. At 4.53 when flying close to leading machine (8677) and slightly astern on port quarter, we sighted enemy seaplanes on our port bow flying towards us. Our machines were approximately at 800ft. and both machines simultaneously turned left and dived to attack them at very close range. 8677, passed over us on the turn and we completed the turn to keep formation with our leader, when we observed that he had dived to within 100 Ft of the water, and was a short distance ahead steering West at full speed. We opened engines full out, and gradually drew abreast of 8677, on their Starboard side. As our machine was the faster, we throttled down to regulate our speed to that of 8677 and we kept abreast, and very close together, fighting the seven attacking machines with our rear guns.
  After flying very low in this formation at about 75 Knots for about 4 minutes, 8677 dropped a little astern, so we throttled down to 70 knots to enable her to draw abreast. As she did not catch us up after a minute, we still further throttled down and also reduced out (sic) ground speed by climbing our machine.
  At 5-32, 8677 which was about 90 to 100 yards on our port quarter, was observed to turn to port and immediately burst into flames and completely disappear under water.
  The enemy continued to attack us and as they were faster than out (sic) Machines, we opened full out, dropped our bombs and nosed down to 50 ft.
  At 5.8 when by Outer Gabbard Bouy, the enemy turned East and we returned to Felixstowe. No signals were received from, or sent to the leading Machine (8677) after sighting the enemy.
  The Enemy machines were fast single and two seaters, we were unable to ascertain the total number of enemy machines until they were all attacking us in the rear, but we do not think we reduced their number when we made our initial diving attack, although the machine we concentrated our forward gun fire at very close range, banked steely away from us and was lost to view as we turned after the leading machine.
  When attacking the enemy our front gun jambed after firing a few rounds from the second ammunition tray.
  The port rear gun also jambed when we were being hotly attacked and this jamb took some time to clear as it was necessary to remove the Scarff sight to do so. There were also 3 other jambs in the port rear guns.
  As the enemy usually attacked from a position directly behind our tail the top rear gun was practically useless.
  The Germans also left an account of this action:
  After fire had been opened on the flying boat from aft by the fixed machine-gun, and the machine-gunner in the stern of the flying boat killed, Christiansen flew parallel with the boat, and his observer (Vizeflugmeister Wladicka) opened fire at the oil tank at the rear of the port engine, setting the tank alight. The pilot of the flying-boat then tried to alight, but as his machine was only 10 feet from the water, he could not turn her into the wind, so that she crashed on alighting and burst into flames.
  Of the crew, 3 men were seen swimming about, but the sea was too bad to allow of our machines alighting in the hope of saving them.
  Capt N.A. Magor, Ens Steven Potter, USN, and their crew, Cpl Reginald Arthur Lucas and AM John Gardner Strathearn, all perished.
  Potter was Naval Aviator No. 130, and a member of the Second Yale Unit. He trained with the Unit on Curtiss F-Boats before gaining his wings on 29 October 1917. He attended Moutchic in France for advanced training and was credited as the first aviator to bring down an enemy aircraft, a German seaplane on 19 March 1918, as related above. Potter wrote to his family just nine days before his death: “If you receive this, you will know I have done my duty to the best of my ability. Be sure I am wonderfully glad that I could give up my life so usefully.”
  A note to the file reads “There seems to be something wrong with either the ammunition or the guns.” There was to be Court of Enquiry into the loss of 8677, however a copy of this has not been located as yet.
  Not all patrols led to engagement with the enemy submarines or aircraft but they were still dangers always present. On 2 October 1918, six F.2A boats left Felixstowe at 07:30 to carry out a long reconnaissance patrol to the Hook of Holland up to the Coast to Texel and return. When about
  7-8 miles S. W. of Yumiden F.2.A 4551 was forced to land on account of engine trouble. The other machines stood by and saw the engines being started up again and the machine leave the water O.K. It was forced to land again soon after, and the other machines after circling were obliged to leave owing to the long distance they had to return and the shortage of petrol. F.2A 4551 was drifting towards the Dutch coast when last seen. The five machines returned safely to base with the exception of F.2A 4301, which had to land owing to running out of petrol, about 20 miles East of Orfordness. She was towed back safely to harbour by a M.L. arriving at 1640. The other four landed at their Base at 1240.
  Details of the flying boats that took part in this patrol are given below:
  N4297: Pilots Capt Webster and 2/Lt MacSwiney; Observer Lt Cotton; W/T Operator Norris, and Engineer Kirby.
  N4545: Pilots Lt Boulding and Lt Harrison; Observer Lt Roper; W/T Operator Searle, and Engineer Clarke.
  N4537: Pilots Lt Freeman and Lt Rogers; Observer Lt Keddy; W/T operator Coleman, and Engineer Chrismas
  N4301: Pilots Lt Hunt and Lt Browne; Observer Lt Frost; W/T Operator Putman, and Engineer Evans. Alighted due to running out of petrol. Fired Verys lights and picked up by M.L.20 that towed the boat to the Orfordness Light where the tow was turned over to M.L.58 which towed the boat back to base.
  N4551 was salved by the Dutch and given the Netherlands Naval Aviation (Marine-Luchtvaartdienst - MLD) serial L.2. The crew of 2/Lt T.N. Enwright, 2/Lt W. Pendleton, 1AM Henry Lawson Curtis and AM William Arthur Mitchel, was interned.
  The same day Felixstowe sent out a second patrol of three F.2A boats at 0830 to conduct a search for a submarine. N4539: Pilots Lt Land and Lt Shield; Observer Lt Moir; W/T Operator Beeston, and Engineer Cpl Pretty N4304: Pilots Capt Bailey and Capt Nemus; Observer 2/Lt Irvine; W/T Operator Miles, and Engineer Robinson N4530: Reported no engineer aboard was ordered to return to Felixstowe.
  N4530 was forced to land off Southwold on account of engine trouble and was eventually towed to safety. The remaining two carried out the patrol and returned to harbour with nothing to report.
  “Nothing to report” is seen more often than combat activities in the daily patrol reports of the flying boats from all stations. Great Yarmouth, Felixstowe and Killingholme were in the areas of most activity. The bases in the north and Ireland flew their anti-submarine and convoy protection patrols with very little to end the monotony of these long, lonely patrols.
  On 30 May a Yarmouth boat, 8660, had been forced down with engine trouble and set alight on the water by the Germans as recorded above. It was thought that the Germans were faking Zeppelin communication wireless traffic to lure the British flying boats into the area where the German floatplanes then sprang a trap. On 4 June 1918, Yarmouth sent two F.2A boats to meet up with three Felixstowe boats. The Felixstowe boats were:
  N4302 under Capt A.T. Barker (1st pilot); Lt .Vernon F.A. Galvayne (2nd pilot); Ens Kenneth Burton Keyes, Pte Hopkins (W/T operator); Pte Reid.
  N4533 under Capt R.F.L. Dickey; Capt R.J. Paul; Lt A.G. Hodgson; 2AM E.P.C. Burton and AC H. Russell (W/T operator).
  H-12 Convert serial 8689 under LT MJ.R. Duff-Fyfe; Flt Sub Lt J.R. Pattison; Ens J.A. Eaton, USN; 1AM EJ. Strewthers and W/T Sgt A.J. Browne (W/T operator).
  While the boats from Yarmouth were:
  N4295 under Capt R Leckie with Capt Bolton, Maj Haggerston, Pte Deeley (W/T operator) and Pte Chapman. N4298 Capt John Hodson with Capt Mossop, Pte Taverner, Corp Beaumont, Pve Raymond (W/T operator).
  The five Large America, boats set out to engage the Germans “in the appropriate manner.” Now the British were seeking revenge and they flew into what was possibly the largest action of the war between the British flying boats and their German floatplane opponents. Ens Keyes, USNRF, was the front gunlayer of N4302 and described the action as follows:-
  Our three machines from Felixstowe rose from the water at noon, circled into patrol formation, and proceeded along the coast to Yarmouth. Here we were joined by two more planes. At one o’clock the squadron turned east. We sighted nothing until half past two, when the Haaks Light Vessel slowly rose on the horizon, and then a fleet of more than a hundred Dutch fishing smacks. Soon we perceived the Dutch coast and followed the sandy beaches of Texolt and Vlieland Islands until we came to Terschelling. We could distinguish houses, and make out breakers rolling up the sandy beaches.
  At Terschelling we veered west, but we soon had to turn back because one machine (Watsons) had come down on the water with a broken petrol pipe. We circled it, and fifteen minutes later sighted five German planes steering west, which would soon bring them upon us.
  Lieut. Galvayne was seated near the wheel. His duty was to kneel with eyes above the cowl, and direct the pilot. I was in the front cockpit, with one gun and four hundred rounds of ammunition. In the stern cockpit the engineer and wireless ratings were to handle three guns.
  We took battle formation and went to meet the enemy machines. But when almost within range, they turned and ran away from us. At once we gave chase, but soon found that they were too fast. Our plane was nearest the Germans, so I had the satisfaction of trying out my gun for several rounds. It was impossible to tell whether I registered any hits or not.
  We had chased these planes to keep them away from the machine on the water, which otherwise would have been shot to pieces. Finding now that they could keep out of range, we turned back, and again circled the disabled plane.
  Soon the enemy once more came close, and we gave chase a second time. But instead of five machines, as before, there were only four. One small scout was sighted flying in the direction of Borkum. For the third time we went off in pursuit.
  Suddenly we discovered that a large number of hostile planes were steering towards us, not in the air with the four planes, but very close to the water. Ten machines were in this group, but they were joined in a few minutes by five more. The scouts were painted black, the two-seaters green, and seemed very hard to pick up.
  We swung into battle formation and aimed for the middle of the fleet. When we were nearly within range, four planes on the port side, and five on the starboard side, rose to our level of 1,500 feet. Two planes passed directly beneath us, shooting upward. Firing was incessant from the beginning, and the air seemed blue with tracer smoke. The Germans used explosive bullets. I gave most of my time to the four planes on our port side, because they were exactly at our level, and within good range - about 200 yards.
  Once I looked round and noticed that Lieut. Galvayne was in a stooping position, with his head and one arm on his seat, the other arm hanging down, as if reaching for something. I had seen him in this posture earlier in the day, so thought nothing of it. All this I noticed in the reaction of a second, for I had to continue firing. A few minutes later I turned around once more, and found with a shock that Lieut. Galvayne was in the same position. It was then that the first inkling of the truth dawned on me. By bending lower, I discovered that his head was lying in a pool of blood.
  From this time on I have no clear idea of just what our manoeuvring was. Evidently we put up a running fight, steering east, then circling. Suddenly I found that our machine had been cut off from the formation, and we were surrounded by seven enemy seaplanes. We were steering almost south-west. We fought for ten miles or so, until we drove the seven Germans off. One of them was driven down out of control and made a very poor landing. Another was badly hit, side-slipped, and crashed in flames from a height of 2,000 feet. All were severely punished.
  During the last few minutes of the fight our engine had been popping too frequently, and soon the engineer came forward to say that the port engine petrol pipe had been broken. By this time I had laid out Lieut. Galvayne in the wireless cockpit, cleaned the second pilot’s seat, and taken it myself.
  The engagement had lasted about half an hour. We descended to the water at 4.45PM ten miles north-west of Vlieland. There I loosened Lieut. Galvayne’s clothing, made his position easier, and felt for his heart, which I was sure was beating feebly. Then we rose to 1,500 feet, and sighted two Yarmouth planes. We picked them up, swung into formation, and laid our course for Yarmouth. At 7-10 we sighted land, and twenty minutes after were resting in front of the Yarmouth slipway. We at once summoned medical aid, but found that nothing could be done for Lieut. Galvayne. A shot had gone through his head, striking the mouth and coming out behind an ear, tearing a two inch gash.
  Our boat was riddled. A number of shots had also torn the top between the front cockpit and the beginning of the cowl. The duration of the flight was seven hours and ten minutes.
  Capt A.T. Baker escaped unscathed from the combat despite sitting next to the 20 year old Lt Vernon F.A. Galvayne.
  N4533 was the flying boat forced to alight with engine trouble. Ordered by the patrol commander to taxi to Dutch waters and destroy the boat on nearing land, the patrol was escorting the downed machine towards Dutch territory when the Germans came on the scene. The ordeal was not over for the crew of N4533 as it was now shot up while on the water some 200 yards from shore and set on fire by Christiansen in Brandenburg W19 Marine Number 2239. The crew escaped and were interned. The Dutch purchased one of the Rolls-Royce engines salvaged from the burnt out remains of N4533. Curtiss H-12 Convert 8689 was so badly shot up that they were forced to alight in Dutch waters. Eaton reported that his machine and oil tanks were punctured, his fuel leads severed, and his glasses shot away. When the fight was over and they had started on the homeward journey the motors gave trouble and with the wind coming from off-shore and at 500 feet altitude, they were forced to alight in Dutch territorial waters. The boat was beached on Vlieland Island and the crew arrested by Dutch infantry before repairs could be effected. The machine and crew were interned. 8689 was taken on charge by the Netherlands Naval Air Service (Marine-Luchtvaartdienst - MLD) as L.1.
  Leckie reported after the action that it was “obvious that our greatest foes are not the enemy but our own petrol pipes.”
  On 5 June 1918, another combat saw an instance of the chivalry that was to be displayed at times by the marine airmen. On this date Lt Col E.D.M. Robertson, Felixstowe’s CO, was acting as 2nd pilot to Flt Sub Lt J.O. Tiny Galpin in H-12B N4345 and they found themselves in a fight with five hostile floatplanes. Forced to attempt to alight with an engine shot out the boat was wrecked on striking the water. The crew managed to climb out and climbed onto the overturned hull. One of the attacking Brandenburg floatplanes landed and taxied close to them. The German pilot asked if they preferred to wait in the hope that they would be picked up or would they like to surrender and be flown to Zeebrugge. Robertson politely declined the offer and said that they would take their chances of being found. The German then took a photograph and took off. Robertson and his crew were picked up the next day.
  According to Air Commodore Charles R. Samson, Sopwith Camels accompanied the Large America boats on anti-Zeppelin patrols. The boats could not reach the heights that the Zeppelins now operated at and hence the need for a fighter that could intercept the airships. The F.2A would patrol for miles into German territory accompanied by two or three Sopwith Camel fighters, the flying boat acting as navigator, a lifeboat if a Camel came down in the sea, and as bait to draw the German seaplanes out. “We hoped all they would see would be the F.2A and miss the little Camels which flew at a much higher altitude.” Samson, despite his administrative duties, made several of these patrols and despite his assertion that the Camels “would have made short work of the German seaplanes.” an incident on 18 July 1918, showed otherwise. On this date two Short floatplanes were escorted by two Camels, the redoubtable Christiansen and his men shot down both Shorts and sent the Camels back to Mansion shot full of holes.

The Felixstowe F.3

  Confined to those areas where aerial opposition was unlikely, the F.3 did the mundane task of endlessly searching for submarines. These patrols could see some excitement as described below.
  N4238 was one of a batch (N4230-N4279) built by Dick Kerr Ltd. On 17 May 1918, Capt Fitz-Randolph (pilot), Lt Bell (observer), and crew from Great Yarmouth, were on patrol with F.2A N4295 when they heard loud enemy W/T transmissions, but after climbing to 10,000' in good visibility, no enemy craft were sighted. They altered course and a U-Boat, apparently fully blown heading in an easterly direction, was sighted in position 04.30 W, 54.38 N, five miles distant on the port bow of the seaplane. 4295 descended to 1,800 feet and turned to bring the submarine on her starboard bow. One and half trays of ammunition were fired on the submarine and splashes observed round the conning tower. As the seaplane passed over it, the submarine turned to port at the same time. After circling the position twice, the patrol was continued. The submarine resembled the U13-16 class. It was about 130 feet long and newly painted grey; there was apparently no lettering on the conning tower which was of square streamline shape. The bow appeared to be raised but no gun was observed. From the description of this encounter it appears that the F.2A was not armed with bombs but was along for protection of the F.3. N4238 received its chance on 30 August when operating from Tresco. With Lt M.C. Fairhurst (pilot); Capt C.R. Stewart (observer) and crew, the seaplane was on patrol when, at 0903, they sighted the conning tower of submarine about seven miles distant. The submarine submerged and at 0910, 2 x 230-lb bombs were dropped ahead of the oil patch left by the submarine. No results were observed. W/T signal was sent to all ships, and a flare dropped to mark the position.
  Another typical attack was that of 3 June 1918, when Houton Bay Station seaplane N4247, under Capt H.A. Wilson, sighted a submarine 12 miles East of Dennis Head. A Very’s light was fired from the seaplane, but no reply was received from the submarine that was submerging rapidly. Two 230-lb bombs were dropped, which exploded 25 and 10 yards respectively short of the white swirl made by the submarine - which had completely submerged before the bombs exploded. As a result a quantity of oil and air bubbles rose to the surface, also timber was seen floating on the surface in the centre of the oil patch. The seaplane remained in the vicinity for 40 minutes, but nothing further was seen. N4247 had been delivered in April 1918, and had attacked a U-boat on 20 May without success. It was still at Houton Bay with No.306 Flight in January 1919.
  The F.3 operated from Malta with Short floatplanes. They flew from Kalafrana. The Malta seaplane station, along with Gibraltar and Egypt, never had a full complement. Of the 50 officers that were assigned to Malta, throughout 1918 the strength was only about 20. A major cause of this was the denuding of the RNAS strength to go to the operation of the Otranto Barrage. Gibraltar never receiving its proposed squadron of F.3 boats.

Lighter Operations

  Porte had made a suggestion as early as September 1916 that the radius of action of the flying boats could be increased by towing them to sea from where they would take off for their patrols. He proposed to use lighters as the method of carrying the large flying boats. The lighter was a channel-shaped vessel that had flotation tanks that allowed it to be partially submerged to allow a boat to enter the chamber. The water would be forced out by compressed air and the lighter would rise bringing the boat out of the water. The lighter was designed to be strong enough to be towed by a destroyer at 25 knots.
  On 5 October two representatives of the DNC visited Felixstowe and a design was immediately commenced. Steel construction was adopted so as to use part of the hull as an airtight trimming tank. It was decided that only the stern section of the lighter would be built with a large trimming tank aft so as to submerge the aft end, the flying boat being hauled in by means of a winch. The weight of the flying boats to be accommodated at that time was 4 1/2 tons. The form of the lighter was arranged with a chine for towing at high speed, and made very flat aft, and sufficiently V-shaped forward to enable her to surmount seas without pounding severely. The beam was made sufficient to house a flying boat and to provide side decks on each side for working purposes. No rudder was used and in order to keep the lighter on a straight course three plate skegs were fitted under the bottom aft. The design was tried in the tank at the Admiralty Experiment Works at Haslar and the modified design that resulted from the tank tests was adopted. It had initially been determined to fit greased wooden ways on the slipway and to haul the flying boat directly up these by means of the winch. Owing to the fragile construction of flying boats the decision was changed to use a cradle on a trolley running on rails. The flying boat’s step caused problems in that it would foul any support abaft the step, and a special auxiliary trolley was hinged to the main trolley that would hinge down automatically out of the way when the trolley was in its aft-most position.
  Although the order was placed at the end of January 1917 with Messrs Thornycroft of Southampton for four lighters, it was not until 18 June 1917, that the manufacturer carried out a successful test at Calshot with a flying boat being hauled up and relaunched. Towing trials were conducted on the Solent during July and were very successful. The flying boat was successfully towed at 32 knots, showing that the lighter could be towed in any sea that the America boats could get off in, and 25 lighters were ordered immediately, the number later being increased to 50 to accommodate H-12, F.2A and F.3 boats, before the further trials were undertaken in the North Sea. There were slight modifications made in order that the lighters be able to take the new F.5 boat. The first was delivered from the new Government shipyard at Richborough where they were constructed by the Royal Engineers. The first was not delivered until May 1918 and only 31 had been received by the time of the Armistice. A further five were completed and the remaining 14 were cancelled.
  The lighters had an overall length of 58 feet; beam (outside of plating) 16 feet; depth (keel to side of deck amidships) 7 feet. In February 1918, standing Orders were issued that when a patrol was required that was outside a radius of 150 miles from Felixstowe, the lighters and a supporting naval force were to undertake this task.
  Early in 1918 an attack was planned against the U-Boats at Zeebrugge and Ostend. It was important that the German not move ships to fall on the rear of the British attacking force and the Felixstowe flying boats were asked to make the reconnaissance flights to ensure that the Germans were not aware of the proposed attack and making any preparations to counter it. For this flight the lighters were used. The three best machines were chosen and “an electric heater, to keep the oil warm, was clipped on beneath each engine, and thick padded covers fitted, to keep the heat in, so that the engines would start easily.” When they were shoved down the slipways on 19 March they were picked up by a motor launch that took them to the stern of their lighter. “The five men in the crew of each lighter had flooded the water-tanks in the sterns, and the boats were quickly floated into their cradles and hauled up by a winch into position and secured. With a hiss the compressed air was turned into the tanks, the water blown out and the lighter rose into towing trim.”
  When they reached their takeoff point the boats were launched, the accompanying ships formed a protective circle around the three boats in case a U-Boat was lurking in the area. Once off Terschelling Flt Lt N.A. Magor in F.2A N4282 turned his formation towards the Bight. At Borkum they ran into two two-seat German floatplanes. Attacking the first, Ens Potter’s fire caused it to burst into flames and crash into the water. Flt Lt C.J. Clayton failed to hit the second machine that escaped and alighted at Borkum. The trio did not escape unscathed. The observer in the machine shot down had riddled Magor's boat, the fuel tanks being holed, fortunately above the level of the fuel, and the water pipe on the port engine was hit causing Magor to shut down that engine and proceed on the other. They proceeded on their task while Magor's engineer, Anderson climbed out on to the wing into the 60 knot wind and, over the next hour, repaired the pierced pipe. Now the reconnaissance flight had achieved its objective, they headed for home.
  Nineteen days later a second reconnaissance was made using the lighters. It was ascertained that the Germans were not making any serious efforts to clear a passage through the mine-fields, so they were not aware of the proposed attack. Several successful flights were made and it was thought that the machines could be used to bomb German bases in the North Sea.
  The USN proposed to use lighters to tow their bombed-up H-16 flying boats from Killingholme to within striking distance of the German submarine pens. In June the Commander of USN Aviation Forces, Foreign Service, Capt Cone, was advised that with regard to the USN s plan to bomb submarine pens “the British are losing interests in this lighter proposal...we will be informed officially that long distance bombing from lighters is not considered practicable and that, therefore, they suggest the abandonment of the project....I think that they will suggest, however, that we use our machines and lighters for long distance reconnaissance similar to the flights which they have been conducting themselves from Felixstowe.” The British abandoned their plan to bomb the bases in July.
  The British used the lighters, escorted by naval forces, to transport the flying boats if the chosen area for reconnaissance was outside of a 150 mile radius of Felixstowe. Inside that radius they operated from their shore stations. The first reconnaissance took place on 12 March. Flt Lt N.A. Magor was in command. The F.2A boats flew around Terschelling into the Bight where they observed minesweepers at work. German seaplanes from Borkum rose to intercept and Magor’s second pilot sent one down in flames, and the other was forced to return to base. Magor’s boat had been hit and he had to fly for an hour on one engine while his engineer climbed out on the wing and worked on repairing the water pipe that had been pierced during the fight. After a flight of five and a half hours the formation returned safely to Felixstowe. These long distance flights were not only an exercise in deception to convince the Germans that British intelligence was obtaining its information from these reconnaissances and not from code breaking wireless intercepts, but were important for establishing the location of the ever changing mine fields and activities of German shipping.
  On 16 May USN aviators Ens Jay Schieffelin and Ens Benny Lee were taken aboard the destroyer HMS Redgauntlet, together with their crew and two ratings from Felixstowe. Their flying boat was astern in a lighter, and they were joined by two other destroyers towing lighters. Leaving Harwich Harbour in that evening, the three boats were set afloat from their lighters early on the following morning when dawn was breaking. The boats circled about on the water in order to warm up their engines when a Zeppelin appeared. Unfortunately the destroyers opened fire warning the airship of the presence of hostile forces. The three boats took off but “she reached more than 18,000 feet, when we reached our ceiling of 10,000 feet.” Giving up any hope of attacking the Zeppelin the boats then carried out their orders photographing any shipping in the Bight of Heligoland. Schieffelin’s crew photographed two sailing vessels that they assumed were fishing, but later they were revealed to have been laying a new German minefield.
  These flights using lighters to take the boats close to the enemy occupied shore had their share of problems. On 10 August 1918, three F.2A boats (N4300, N4308 and N4531) failed to get off the water and this called the operation of lighters into question. It appears that the Admiralty requested an answer as to why the machines did not perform their planned operation and a Court of Enquiry was held into the incident exactly a month later at Felixstowe.
  Major Hallam, the CO of the Seaplane Experimental Station, Felixstowe stated that the weight of the three F.2A boats in August was 11,500 lbs which included six hours fuel at full speed. The original boat was supposed to weigh 7,200 lbs but as supplied from the manufacturer weighed 7,700 lbs. A breakdown in the weights carried accompanied the Court papers and is reproduced to show just what was carried by a war flight. Hallam noted that these
  Boats were designed nearly two years ago, since which time Service conditions have demanded additional weights.
  Hallam stated that in order to get a boat seaplane off it should weigh no more than 13 lbs per hp. The F.2A was supposed to carry 15 lbs per hp. On this occasion it carried 16.4 lbs per hp. The average load on a Felixstowe patrol was 15.7 lbs with sheltered water to get off in.
  Capt EJ. Webster, the pilot of N4308, stated that he was prevented from flying as a man had walked into the propeller damaging it while the boat was still on the lighter. While his boat was otherwise in flying condition he considered it doubtful that he would have got off given the long swell. From his considerable experience “of these Operations machines get badly strained, which affects their ability to get off the water.”
  Capt A.T. Baker, the pilot of N4351, tried to get off but “owing to the heavy swell, the machine started bouncing so badly that I throttled down.” He also considered that taking the boats out in Towing Lighters “does a great deal of harm.” Baker also stated that he had taken boats off with 700 to 800 lbs more but this was in the sheltered waters of Felixstowe.
  The pilot of the third boat (N4300) was Lt J.P. Barnes.
  I tried to get off the water, but owing to the heavy swell, I could not get off
  My machine and engines were in good flying condition when I left Felixstowe.
  After returning to Felixstowe I found my tail was out of truth: whether this was due to being towed on the Lighter or caused by trying to get off I cannot say.
  A wingtip float and end of plane were damaged when getting off the Lighter.
  The Station Engineering Officer, Lt R Susans considered that taking the boats out in Lighters affected the engines due to the constant pounding of the Lighter on the swell would “tend to aggravate any inherent defect, especially applying to water jacket leakages.”
  The Court found that the swell and absence of wind prevented the boats from getting off. While it may have been possible for the F.2A boats to have taken off with a less load, considering the operational requirements, the distance from base and the threat of enemy aircraft, it was essential to carry the load as detailed. This load was an average increase of 1.050 lbs on a design load from two years prior. “This design apparently did not take into consideration modern War conditions in No.4 Operations Group, which entail long flights combined with offensive action against Hostile Aircraft; also increased weight of W/T apparatus and Hull of Production Machines.”
  It was recognised that long journeys in Lighters appeared to damage and reduce the efficiency of the F.2A boats. It was recommended that the seaplanes fly from their base and be picked up, if required, after carrying out their duties, at some easily recognised position such as a Lightship within 35 miles of the Dutch coast. Also an improved type of seaplane was required.
  The file notes that Rear-Admiral Harwich had proposed to abandon as normal practice the towing of seaplanes by Lighters. The suggestion that the Lighters meet the flying boats for the return journey was felt to be better “although involving a greater risk of losing the aircraft.”
  In the Air Ministry’s letter to the Admiralty reporting on the enquiry it was noted that “Seaplanes of improved design are now under construction, but it will still be necessary, as it always has been necessary, to allow for extra weight to be added over and above the designed weight, as it still seems impossible to prevent the various authorities concerned from overloading machines.” Arthur Longmore (later Sir A. Longmore, Air Chief Marshal) wrote that the lighters were not very successful when there was a “beam” wind. J.L. Gordon, recorded that, in his opinion, many of the failures that occurred with lighter operations were due to overloading of the boats, and that “a larger and much more seaworthy boat than the F.2A or F.5 is essential.”
  Felixstowe proposed that a force of seven Large America boats be made available to attack destroyers off Texel. There is no date on the surviving document so it is impossible to place it accurately in the history of the Large America boats. The surviving Report notes that seven boats would probably be all that was available to Felixstowe in the next two months. To raise a force as contemplated, a percentage of machines would have to be laid up and prepared. The amount of fuel and bombs required would have to be determined. “On the long flights recently made to Terschilling and the North of Holland extra fuel has been carried in tins and the machines would be overloaded if bombs were added.”
  It was noted that the boats were large machines and would present a good target when attacking a destroyer from a height offering the probability of a good hit, and one or more machines would possibly be brought down. “In view of the small number of these craft available for all purposes and the comparatively small chance of finding enemy destroyers in the area which can be searched with the fuel range available when bombs are carried, it is inadvisable to devote the whole of the Felixstowe force to such an operation for the present.”
  On 27 February 1918, 36 H-12 of all types were in commission with the RNAS. By 31 October 1918, the RAF had 12 H-12 and 6 H-12 Converted Large America boats in service. By contrast, 53 Felixstowe F.2A and 96 F.3 boats were in service. The latter two were still referred to as Large Americas.
  Actual deliveries of large flying boats were considerably below stated requirements. This was due to technical difficulties and to the fact that special shops had to be erected for production. It was hoped that these problems would be overcome in the next three to four months.
  The importance of the America boats is highlighted by a proposal of August 1918 for eight squadrons of large flying boats - each squadron comprising 10 machines and three squadrons of floatplanes - each squadron comprising 18 machines, to be in service in the Mediterranean by September 1919. The following was the proposed allocation of these flying boat squadrons:
  (a) One squadron at Gibraltar.
  (b) One squadron at Bizerts.
  (c) Two squadrons at Malta.
  (d) One squadron at Taranto with a refuelling base at Cotrone.
  (e) One squadron disposed between Otranto and Brindisi with refuelling stations at Corfu, Argostoli and Navarino.
  (f) One squadron at Suda Bay with refuelling base at East Crete and Milo.
  (g) One squadron at Alexandria with refuelling bases at Sollium and Port Said.
  It was anticipated that a large number of machines were to be shipped to Egypt by air and the three stations (e), (f) and (g) would be able to escort these aircraft in lieu of asking for surface craft as well as being well disposed as to hunt submarines. This proposal was considered as good a disposition given present circumstances. The America boats were the only types available in sufficient numbers to start such a policy. Whether the Phoenix Cork or other experimental boats would have replaced them later will never be known, fortunately the Armistice ended the need for these flying boats.
  By March 1918 it had been concluded that the 230-lb bomb was “scarcely efficacious” in attacks against submarines and the use of a 500-lb bomb was proposed.89 In April the Air Ministry acknowledged that all twin-engined flying boats and land planes employed on anti-submarine patrols were to be fitted to carry 500-lb bombs. A greater load meant at a larger more powerful flying boat was required. If the war had continued into 1919 the F.5 would have been the boat to have continued the Felixstowe tradition with it being supplied from British, American and Canadian manufacturers. It is also possible that the Fury triplane would have been manufactured in quantity if it had proved capable of operating in the open in the North Sea.


C.Owers The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 (A Centennial Perspective on Great War Airplanes 23)


6. The America Flying Boats in Detail

Felixstowe F.2

  The evolution of the F.1 and F.2 is described in Chapter 2. 8650 was reported as undergoing overhaul between 14 August and 4 September 1916, and it is likely this is the period it was fitted with the Porte hull. The combination of a new Porte hull with the H-12 wings and a new tail unit led to a better boat that was designated F.2 although it retained the serial 8650. With more powerful engines it was developed as the F.2A.

The F.2A Described

  The hull was composed of four longerons with horizontal and vertical spacers braced by diagonals and steel cables. The planning bottom was constructed of two-ply cedar inside and mahogany outside. Varnished or doped fabric was sandwiched between the two layers. The bow, decking and cockpit framework was mahogany while the sides back to the trailing edge of the lower wings was birch plywood. The top of the hull behind the wings was fabric covered to save weight. A 12 inch deep mahogany washboard ran along the lower longerons. The front part of the hull as far back as the rear spar was a rigid built-up structure. From here to the rear the structure was a typical fuselage structure with doped fabric covering above the 12 inch solid mahogany washboard. This was to cause problems, and following the loss of H-16 N4510 on 8 April 1918, in heavy seas, due to the failure of the fabric sides on the tail of the boat, the USN recommended that this defect be corrected on all its H-16 in service. The fabric was to be replaced on some boats with ply sheeting. The fins were built onto the outside of the hull and were planked on the top with three-ply. The hull was double planked. Most WWI built aircraft show variations however the Felixstowe boats show more than others. This was due in part to the different manufacturers of hulls and the aerostructure being allowed considerable latitude and the modifications worked out in active service and applied at stations.
  The hull was V-shaped and curved from bow to stern while the tail portion was raised such that it rose clear of the water when at rest. The side fins were built onto the outside of the hull. The planking was double diagonal comprising an inner layer of 1/2 inch cedar and an outer layer of 3/16 inch mahogany, the two with a layer of varnished fabric sandwiched between them. Sliding panels in the hull behind the wings allowed for a Gallows mounting for a Lewis Gun on each side. These could be swung outboard and covered the tail of the boat thus overcoming one of the H-12 defects. A pilot of the F.2A could alight in much rougher seas with less fear that the hull would be damaged, and he could take-off in rougher waters as it did not hammer the water to anything like the extent that the practically flat bottom of an H-12 did. This was despite the F.2A being designed by Porte to utilise the sheltered waters of harbours such as Harwich, the necessities of war calling for more from the boat than its designer intended.
  The wings were a typical Curtiss wooden structure and plan form although the F.2A boats had ailerons that projected beyond the wing trailing edge. Late boats had open cockpits and balanced ailerons.
  The decision to change from a 23 inch to 20 inch gun ring involved structural alterations and delayed production, the type entering service late in 1917. The number of Large America boats required for the 1918 program was estimated to be 180 in May 1917, and this was revised to 426 with the revised program of July 1917. The average life of the big boats was six months and therefore twice the number of boats was required to meet the estimated establishment figure. The entry of the US into the war and the USN’s agreement to take over and equip five naval air stations provided some relief to the situation as even with the Porte method of construction, it would have been impossible to produce the number of boats required. In March 1918, 161 F.2A and F.3 boats were on order, however only ten F.2A and one F.3 were in service.
  The F.2A suffered with problems with its fuel system. The length of piping it contained ran from the main tanks in the hull where wind-driven pumps forced the fuel to the gravity tanks in the top wing centre section. From here the fuel was fed to the carburettors of the Eagle engines.
  From about September 1918 all the new F.2A had open cockpits, the canopy being done away with. They were slightly faster as a consequence and the pilots had a better view backwards. The fabric was deleted from the rear of the hull and replaced with Consuta sewn ply. Horn balanced ailerons were introduced making them less tiring to fly. The F.2A had dual control unlike the H-12. The co-pilot’s control wheel folded enabling him to leave his position and access the front gun cockpit.

F.2A Serial Allocation
Serials Number Contract Manufacturer First Delivery Notes
N1260-N1274 15 AS3610 (BR17*) Curtiss, Canada. H-16. Presumed renumbered N4060-N4074.
N2280-N2304 30 AS 14154 (BR80) S.E. Saunders Ltd. Renumbered N4280-N4309.
N2530-N2554 25 AS21558 AMC Ltd. Renumbered N4530-N4554.
N4080-N4099 20 AS14154 S.E. Saunders Ltd. Delivered from late July 1918.
N4280-N4309 30 AS 14154 & AS34426 (BR80) S.E. Saunders Ltd. Delivered from mid-November 1917.
N4430-N4479 50 AS4498/18 (BR349) S.E. Saunders Ltd. 18.10.18 Some delivered as F.5s.
N4480-N4504 25 AS4502/18 (BR350) May, Harding & May 21.09.18 Erected by AMC Ltd. At least 21 delivered.
N4510-N4519 10 AS2697 May, Harding & May 12.01.18 Specification N.3B. Sunbeam engines contemplated for this batch.
N4520-N4529 10 AS24912 (BR74 & BR90) May, Harding & May Cancelled.
N4530-N2554 25 AS21558 May, Harding & May Erected by AMC Ltd?
N4555-N4559 5 AS24912 Cancelled.
N4560-N4579 20 38a/551/C564 & AS24912/18 (BR589) May, Harding & May Last seven cancelled.
The cost of an F.2A including hull and trolley, but without engine and armament was £6,738. Eagle VIII engines cost £1,622.10.00 each.


Felixstowe F.2C

  At the 12 June 1917, Meeting of the Air Department Progress Committee, Cdr Longmore reported that the trials of the F.2C were being carried out at Felixstowe. The machine was to go to the Isle of Grain for testing. The F.2C was described as being similar to the H-12 “but has a different hull which is not quite so efficient as a hydroplane and has been found to be considerably better for landing as it has not the same inclination to leave the water again on being landed as the H.12 hulls have.” The F.2C had a hull of lighter construction and greater volumetric size than the F.2A and F.3, its proportions seemingly to anticipate the F.5. The hull had steps of revised design and the forebody’s contours were different from those of the F.2A. The pilot’s occupied an open cockpit. This was due to the fact that they had very little rear view in the canopied H-12 and F.2A rather than the usual answer that pilot’s preferred an open cockpit. The front gunner’s cockpit was farther back from the bow and there were no waist gun positions. Powered initially by two 275-hp Rolls-Royce Eagle II engines, these were later replaced by 322-hp Eagle VI engines. Official performance trials were held on 23 June 1917, and although performance was slightly better than the F.2A, there was no chance of it being placed into production and upsetting the F.2A program that was then underway, only the prototypes N64 and N65 were built.
  N64 and N65 were sent to Felixstowe where they joined the War Flight. Porte led a patrol of five flying boats from Felixstowe in N65, his latest experimental boat, on 24 July 1917. His pilot was Queenie Cooper, the test pilot. This was the first time that Felixstowe had been able to field this many boats at once. They spent a long time getting into their correct position for take-off. In future this was to become common and they were got away easily.
  Discovering a submarine on the surface, the patrol attacked. Three of the boats dropped bombs, including N65. The other two boats stood by but the submarine appeared to be finished. This submarine was incorrectly reported as UC-1.
  While on a Beef Convoy patrol in late September 1917 Pix Hallam and Watson in N65 sighted a submarine and they immediately attacked. The F.2C was equipped “with a gadget for dropping bombs by compressed air, which, according to its proud inventor, was to supersede the good old way of dropping them by pulling a Bowen wire.” Unfortunately a good attack was ruined when the bombs hung up. The device hissed as compressed air escaped but the bombs refused to leave the racks. A nearby destroyer then attacked with depth charges.
  N65 was written off after it was holed and sank at the Isle of Grain on 13 March 1918.
  N64 was converted into an F.3 about October 1917. It was used for patrols and for experiments.

Felixstowe F.3

  The F.3 was designed to meet the need to carry a larger bomb load as the 230-lb bomb was considered no longer satisfactory for attacking submarines. A Progress Committee Report of 12 June 1917, noted that all new “Americas” now on order would be of this type.
  The F.3 actually preceded the F.2C. The F.3 had the same large overhang of the upper wing and king-post structure above the interplane struts. Its hull was three feet longer than the F.2A and the wing were of greater span and chord. These differences are not very noticeable in photographs and if the serial is not visible the only way to tell the difference is that the F.3 had a slight recess in the leading edge of the upper wing immediately behind the airscrews.
  The F.3 had a typical Porte hull and was planked the same way as the F.2A. The fins were planked with three-ply birch. On later examples double diagonal planking was used. The floors of the F.3 were rebated into the keelson on either side and caused the planking to spring and the boats to leak badly. Intermediate timbers were introduced to try and overcome the problem. Sir A Robinson recalled that on
  at least one station, where they often had to be bounced off a long swell, it was found that the planking was apt to open up from the keelson. A new boat on arrival would very probably be dismantled and the petrol tanks removed, to permit a series of oak knees to be put in to strengthen and hold together the bottom planking.
  The F.3 could carry four 230-lb bombs while the F.2A could only carry two. This may be the reason that more F.3 boats were ordered than F.2A boats. Lt (later Major) J.D. Rennie was Porte’s Chief Technical Officer at Felixstowe and who assisted him in the development of the successful Felixstowe flying boats stated post-war that the F.3 should never have been put into production.
  The prototype, the converted N64, was powered by two 320-hp Sunbeam Cossack engines. Production machines had Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines.
  The F.2A boats went to Felixstowe, Yarmouth, Dundee, Calshot, and Killingholme, until that latter station was taken over by the USN and they began to receive Curtiss H-16 boats. The F.3 on the other hand went to Cattewater, and the Scillies, and to Houton Bay in the Orkneys. The reason for this was simple. The F.3 used the same Rolls Royce Eagle VIII engines that the F.2A used, was heavier and slower and less manoeuvrable and was unable to engage Zeppelins or German seaplanes. The F.2A went to those stations where reconnaissance and fighting was the most important, while the F.3 with their greater fuel capacity and bomb load went to stations where aerial opposition was less and hunting U-boats was more important.
  The first operational flight of a F.3 was in July 1917. The type came in for modifications at the stations as had happened to the F.2A. The tail fabric would be replaced with ply sheeting. Sometimes the double bottom planking was put on the wrong way around so that the water flow was across the outer skin of planking and not along it. The bottom would be removed and replanked, a not infrequent activity according to Sir Austin Robinson.
  A report on a Phoenix built boat, N4400, noted that:
  1. The mahogany outer planks of the hull bottom aft of the step were buckling outwards, due to swelling. The planks were about 4 1/2 inches wide and were only secured along the joints, no intermediate copper clenched nails being employed.
  2. Brass screws were freely used to fix the planking to the heavier framing timbers, and many were sunk too far into the outer planking. They should have been only slightly countersunk.
  3. The footsteps were not correctly finished off to prevent water getting into the hull. “These should be boxed up on the inside of the hull to make the hull watertight.”
  4. The interplane flying and landing cables were not correctly finished.
  5. An elastic adjuster “will be fitted to the cloche for balancing the elevators, to replace the present crude arrangement.”
  6. There was a great deal of sway between the hull and the main spars.
  The report noted that the defects would be corrected at the station and suggested remedies for some problems.
  In October 1918 the Technical Department of the RAF wrote to the Admiralty noting that problems with the hulls of flying boats was due to “lack of sufficient transverse strengthening members and incorrect method of fixing the plank on the bottom hulls.” While modifications had been introduced some three months back great difficulty had been experienced with hulls in store and they had been issued to the various “super-structure Contractors” who were not hull builders and had neither the expertise nor facilities to undertake the modifications required. Lack of accommodation and lack of the necessary facilities to carry out the modification work on stored hulls was blamed for the slow rate of production of modified hulls from store and the issuing of unmodified hulls.
  The following report of 23 June 1918, from Houton Seaplane Station captures the problems present in the manufacture and operating of these large flying boats. Houton reported that none of its flying boats were fit for action as follows:
  - N4245 Capsized on slipway in strong side wind.
  - N4232 Sank on arrival and is being recaulked and fitted for service.
  - N4406 Developed leaks in hull after 48 hours on the water. Sent to Houton from Stenness for repairs on 21 June.
  - N4235 Sank on arrival and is being recaulked and fitted for service.
  - N4403. Driven ashore in gale 13 June, bring repaired.
  - N4230. Undergoing its first fitting out on arrival.
  These were all F.3 boats. The Station also had Porte Baby 9810 that had been driven ashore in the 13 June gale. It had yet to be floated, a special slipway and cradle were being constructed for that purpose.
  This unsatisfactory state was due to:
  1. The station not being fully completed for service.
  2. The machines being leaky and not ready for service when they arrive.
  3. The bad weather in June.
  4. A severe epidemic of influenza at Houton.
  The majority of men on the station were recruits of one or two months service and had no experience of repairing or handling Large America, seaplanes. Only one shed had been available and that provided accommodation for only one seaplane, and all fitting out and repair of other machines had to be done in the open. Two cases of the aircraft breaking adrift of their moorings were due to the moorings being at fault, however the gale was a sever one and the F.3 boats were larger than the Porte Boat for which the moorings had been designed.
  Only one seaplane arrived equipped with W/T. All others had to be wired up by station staff and this took about three weeks.
  A Report of 23 May 1917, had noted that the Large America seaplanes had proved most satisfactory for submarine patrol work and large numbers would be used in Home Waters in 1918. The greater part of the establishment of 180, if not the whole output, would be needed for Home. It was considered that it was inevitable that these machines would be required for the Mediterranean, particularly in connection with the Otranto barrage. As this establishment was thought to be the output available from the UK and America, it was proposed that the boats for the Mediterranean be built in Malta under Dockyard control.28 The Air Department Progress Committee had already considered this at its Meeting on 15 May. At this Meeting it was suggested that it might be possible to have the hulls built in Malta and as the Maltese carpenters were expert boat builders, there should be no difficulty in turning out first class hulls. The wings would be built in the UK and shipped out for erection at Malta. All F.2A boats were used in home waters however the F.3 was used extensively in the Mediterranean. The F.3 was to be built in Malta. The local craftsmen were skilled boat-builders and local women did the fabric work.
  In November 1917 Malta reported that work on wings for F.3 boats was practically at a standstill. The next day another telegram noted that the two Rolls Royce engines “just received for the first boat” were 345-hp. They also requested a full set of F.3 drawings for the 360-hp Rolls Royce engine. By January 1918 Malta reported that some of the Silver Spruce sent for main spars was defective and required 300 feet run 4 inch planks in 32 feet lengths to be sent by quickest means “to complete 12 boats.” A total of 18 F.3 boats were built in Malta.
  The F.3 saw service in the Mediterranean and in September 1918, three F.3 boats flew from Malta to Tripoli where they bombed a wireless station on the Gulf of Sirte suspected of communicating with U-Boats. This operation took place over three or four days. In October the type accompanied the naval attack on Durazzo in Albania.

F.3 Serial Allocation
Serials Number Contract Manufacturer First Delivery Notes
N64 1 BRI 17 Felixstowe NAS Completed as F.2C, converted to F.3.
N1950-N1959 10 AMC Ltd Cancelled.
N2160-N2179 20 AS 11426 (BR22) Handley Page Ltd. Renumbered N2160-N2179.
N2305-N2307 3 BR80 May, Harding & May. Cancelled.
N2310-N2321 12 BR86 Malta Dockyard Renumbered N4310-N4321.
N2400-N2449 50 Bristol & Colonial Aeroplane Ltd Ordered 16.07.17, with 320-hp Rolls Royce engines. Cancelled, serials reallocated.
N4000-N4037 38 Short Bros Ltd. 11.07.18 All delivered. N4019 became G-EAQT.
N4100-N4149 11 38a/1090/C & AS4499/18 Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd. Contract for 11 F.3 & 39 F.5.
N4160-N4179 20 AS 11426; AS30303 & AS30620 (BR22) The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd All delivered. N4177 became G-EBDQ.
N4180-N4229 11 AS44496/18 (BR348) The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd Contract for 11 F.3 and 39 F.5. F.3 to N4190. N4191 E3 or F.5?
N4230-N4279 50 AS 13823 (BR72) Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd. Dick, Kerr’s first F.3s. N4268- N4273 & N4276-N4277 no record of delivery.
N4310-N4321 12 AS 14835 (BR86) Malta Dockyard. 20.03.18 All delivered from March 1918.
N4360-N4397 38 AS14835 (BR. Adm 1269) Malta Dockyard. 05.09.18 N4388-N4397 cancelled.
N4400-N4429 30 AS30620 (BR199) & AS4496/18 The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd. 07.02.18. Grain test.
Note that aircraft were not built in order of serial. Some batches with late serials were completed by a manufacturer before a batch with lower serials that were contracted to the same company.


Experimentation

  An interesting experiment saw an F.2A and an F.3 (N4230) equipped with a hydrophone. The machine would alight and drop the hydrophone that was attached to a long rod on the side of the fuselage, into the water. The rod or stream-line strut according to the manual, was held to the hull by a bracket. The forward observer had headphones through which he would listen for the sounds of a submarine under water. Tests were carried out with the submarine C25 and N4230 in May 1918.
  In August F.3 N4400 was undertaking trials of the Cooper servo-motor and the Cooper auto-flare night landing device “with new type stick.” A Cooper servo-motor was fitted to the aileron control system of N4400. This was tried with different windmills and that of the two bladed 22 inch diameter and 3 feet 6 inch pitch “was more satisfactory.” It was considered that the time taken to put the ailerons hard over should not exceed 1 1/2 seconds.
  The “Stick Night Landing Device” was to give a positive signal to the pilot of the close approach of the surface of the water in time for the pilot to flatten out. A streamlined tapered shaft was mounted on a transverse shaft in the nose of the machine. The shaft could move in and out about a foot. When the spar was out of action it lay horizontally along the fin. In calm weather the device showed promise. A landing was made with the pilot keeping his eyes off the water. The signal to the pilot was considered not as distinct as it should have been. In bumpy weather the stick developed a violent lateral sway and this interfered with the accuracy of the warning and it looked as if the stick would eventually break off the shaft.
  Experiments are being tried with a stiffer shaft and a rounded stick instead of streamlined. A streamlined stick of larger dimensions and not so whippy can also be tried. A good deal of experiment and practice will be necessary, but it is hoped that a satisfactory method will be arrived at.
  Saunders was given a contract for two experimental F.2A hulls to take standard F.2A wings. The Technical Department report for the fortnight ending 12 June 1918, reported that one hull was finished and would now be fitted with standard F.2A wings and fittings. The following report noted that the progress on the second hull was satisfactory.
  The F.3 was declared obsolete in September 1921, the F.2A and F.5 becoming the standard RAF flying boats.
  RAF Notes on the “F.2A, V.3 (sic) and F.5 Boat-Seaplanes, Eagle VIII Twin Engines” record that the throttle controls were on the starboard side of the first pilots cockpit on the F.2A and F.3, and the port on the F.5. It was noted that these “controls are not very sensitive owing to the fact that Bowden wire No. 11 is used, and they have a long run.”
  The Engineer’s cockpit was situated between the main and rear spars in rear port side of the hull. The engineer had:
  (i) Distant reading thermometers for each engine.
  (ii) Radiator shutters that could be controlled by the engineer to regulate the temperature of the water.
  (iii) A pump for pumping extra water to the radiators. An overflow pipe from the radiators came back to the tank that held about 1 1/2 gallons.
  (iv) A Rolls-Royce dope pump with starting magnetos and “change over” switch.
  The main fuel tanks were carried in the hull. The petrol system comprised a gravity tank in the upper wing that was kept full by means of a plunger type windmill pump. Petrol could be drawn from any tank by means of the pump and delivered to the gravity tank. Overflow was piped back to the main tanks. A hand plunger pump was fitted in the engineer’s cockpit and used when the machine was at rest or in an emergency when the windmill pump was inoperable.
  On 30 November 1918, a trial was conducted with F.5 N86 with an overload of 12,800 lbs, being 1,000 lbs in excess of the
normal load.
  With the wind about 8 mph and a smooth sea, a run of 57 seconds was made but the boat showed no signs of hydroplaning and continual heavy streams of spray were going through the airscrews. At the end of the run the starboard engine was vibrating so badly that it could not be run at full speed. Examining the blades of the airscrew it was found that the brass sheathing on the tips had bulged and filled with water causing the airscrew to become unbalanced. It was commented that a machine should be able to take off with at least 30% of normal load. This attitude has been noted in correspondence during the war when it was recorded that the machines would always be loaded with more gear after they entered service due to the demands of that service.

Felixstowe E5

  The prototype F.5, serial N90, appeared in early 1918. It was intended as an improvement over the F.3. A typical Porte construction it embodied a number of refinements. The cockpits were open improving the pilot’s backward view. The top decking of the hull was deeper while the gun positions were the same as the F.3. Aft of the wings the hull sides were fabric covered with a mahogany washboard on the lower half despite the problems with this arrangement on the F.2A. The F.5 hull was regarded as the best of all the Porte hulls. Bomb load was four 230-lb bombs on the underwing racks. The wing was similar to that of the F.2A and F.3 but of longer span and utilised a new aerofoil section and the horn balanced constant chord ailerons were used in place of the inversely tapered ailerons of the earlier boats, tail was essentially the same but the rudder had a balance surface. On official trials with two 350-hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines driving four-bladed airscrews the prototype, N50, had a better performance than the F.3, even in conditions of overload.
  The problem of attaining and keeping aerial supremacy in the North Sea led to many suggestions as to the operation of the Large America flying boats as detailed in the accompanying text. The F.3 was included in these considerations. In July 1917, it was put forward by Cdr Longmore that a twin-engined fighting machine along the lines of the F.2A and F.3 was needed as an escort fighter for the formations of Large Americas operating in the North Sea. This new machine needed to be ready for trials when the new large calibre quick firing guns were ready for testing. The COW Automatic Gun appeared to be most promising. Porte stated that the F.5 that had just been laid down at Felixstowe could be adapted to carry two of these guns. The machine could be ready in about two months and would have a better performance than the F.3. The discussion then went on to consider whether such guns could also be used against submarines and the general opinion was that it was not possible to mount the gun such that it could perform both functions. Documentation that a COW gun was ever carried by an F.5 has not been discovered.
  Unfortunately the Ministry of Munitions decided on economic grounds not to introduce the new type. The Ministry did not want to supply new jigs and templates now that the production of the F.3 was well underway, and so a compromise was reached. The production F.5 used a hull similar to the prototype but with as many F.3 components as possible and was planked overall. While a very strong hull it was appreciably heavier than that of N90. The F.5 wing was virtually identical with the F.3 wing reverting to the same RAF 14 aerofoil. The F.5 did have horn balanced ailerons of constant chord. Performance of the production model with Rolls Royce Eagle VII engines was inferior to that of the prototype. The Eagle VII was used as Eagle VIII engines were in short supply but this was not the only reason that the production machines were inferior to the prototype.
  Like N90 the F.5 had a balanced rudder and later horn-balanced elevators. The F.5 had a typical Porte type hull with the lower centre section integral with the hull. The upper centre section was supported by two struts, one pair placed on the centre-line of the boat. The cabane struts supporting the engines were also attached to the upper and lower centre section planes. Considerable difficulty was experienced in removing the engines once the planes were in position as it was impossible to get a direct lift on them. Air Commodore Samson noting that “replacing an engine is not an easy job without getting the boat ashore, as of course in an ‘F.2.A.’ you have to remove the planes.” The Rigging Notes for the F.5 noted that “whenever the planes are dismantled advantage should be taken of the opportunity to overhaul the engines.”
  The F.5 had flown before there were any tank test results. Maj J.D. Rennie recorded that the positions of the steps on the F.5 by Porte were the result of a great deal of practical experience in takeoff and landing boats in varying weather and sea conditions. Just before the Armistice work was put in hand to fit steps to the F.5 in accordance with tank test results but the work stopped due to demobilisation of staff.
  Rennie then went on to state that
  the F.5 was never put into production, which was a great blunder on the part of the Production Dept, Ministry of Munitions. Instead, the F.3 wing structure, the weight considerably increased to facilitate production, and adapters fitted to take either streamline wires or stranded cables, also permanent slinging gear incorporated, was fitted to a mongrel hull, a cross between the F.5 and the F.3, and the resultant boat was called the F.5. This was done solely because the F.3 was already in production (it never should have been), and the Ministry of Munitions were against a further change as jigs, templates, etc., were already made for the F.3.
  In August 1918 it was noted that a further batch of F.5 drawings were received from Dick Kerr that have been traced and included with the official set for issuing to contractors. The set of drawings for this machine were now near completion. It was recorded in January 1919 that the pulley bracket had been modified on as the controls were impossible to work with the present arrangement. Also that owing to the “present military situation” Liberty engines would not be installed in the F.5. Too late to be used operationally in the war, the F.5, along with the F.2A, became the RAF’s standard flying boat post-war until replaced by the Supermarine Southampton in August 1925.

F.5 Serial Allocation
Serials Number Contract Manufacturer Notes
N90 1 Felixstowe NAS. Prototype.
N128 F-5L ordered from USA post-war.
N177 1 Short Bros Ltd Metal hull with E5 aerostructure.*
N178 1 SE Saunders Ltd. Hollow hull with F.5 aerostructure*.
N4038-N4049 12 AS32421 Short Bros Ltd.
N4112-N4149 39 38a/1090/C & AS4499/18 (BR347) Dick Kerr & Co Original contract for 18 F.3 then 32 F.5, but F.3 to N4111 only. N4125-N4149 (10), cancelled?
N4192-N4229 39 AS4496/18 (BR348) The Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd. Original Contract for 11 F.3 and 39 F.5. N4201-N4229 cancelled, but 10 superstructures completed & delivered.
N4580-N4629 50 38a/550/C563 &AS224911/18 (BR590) SE Saunders Ltd. N4580-N4589 no evidence. N4590-N4629 cancelled post-Armistice.
N4630-N4679 50 38a/552/C565 & AS24910/18. Gosport Aviation Co Ltd. N4640-N4679 Cancelled. N4634 became G-EAIK.
N4680-N4729 50 38a/599/C627 & A26345/18 (BR620) May, Harding & May. Cancelled December 1918.
N4730-N4779 50 38a/604/C633 & AS26344/18 (BR621) Dick Kerr & Co. To have Liberty engines. Cancelled December 1918.
N4780-N4829 50 38a/598/C628 & AS26343/18 (BR622) Phoenix Dynamo Co. Cancelled December 1918.
N4830-N4879 50 38a/600/C629 & AS26368/18 (BR623) Short Bros Ltd. N4880-N4879. Cancelled post Armistice.
* Robertson defines N177 and N178 as a basic F-5


Experiments

  There were many experiments carried out on the America boats and some are referred to under the various type histories. One proposal was for the fitting of folding wings to the Large America boats. Handley Page had experience in folding wings on large aircraft such as the O/100, and had been approached to make folding wings for the flying boats to allow more hangar space. In September 1917, it was noted that difficulties had been found owing to one of the interplane struts fouling the tail when folded. Handley Page “could only get the folding dimensions down to 43 feet. If he could be allowed to space the engines out to 18 feet instead of the present 10 feet, he could reduce the folded dimensions to 35 feet. Although the spacing of 43 feet was considered adequate as it would allow for the machines to be hangared in a Bessoneau hangar, this project never came to a satisfactory conclusion. The company had received further orders for their bombers and were devoting their energies towards this instead of getting on with the seaplane work that they already had in hand.
  Another interesting experiment concerned a set of Le Vaillant Speaking Tubes that were fitted to F.3 N4409. Several flights of from 314 to 414 hours were carried out. While it was found that a conversation could be easily carried out even with the engines running full out, there were disadvantages. The weight of the observer’s tubes caused a strain on his neck as a considerable length of tube had to be allowed for his movements around the cockpit. The gun ring could not be operated as the tubes caught up on various objects. “The apparatus would be of no use during an action.” The pilot was not inconvenienced to any extent with the tubes permanently attached to his helmet as the tubes were capable of being supported and he did not have to move about. They were not adopted for service us.
  Around May 1919, a production F.5 made an endurance flight of 14 hours 8 minutes from Felixstowe. The crew was Capt Scott, as pilot, Capt Dickey, as navigator and two mechanics. No attempt was made to alight until the Eagle VIII engines stopped from lack of fuel. The total weight of the machine with crew was 13,710 lbs of which 150 lbs was water shipped in the choppy sea before takeoff. The average speed was 55 knots and wireless communication with Felixstowe was maintained throughout the flight.
  Post-war the F.5 took part in many experiments. In early 1921 N4040 was fitted with a modified rudder with top balance, and tested against N4838 with the standard rudder to ascertain whether the standard F.5 rudder “was overbalanced and liable to take charge.” N4040 was flown by Flt Lt E.S. Goodwin with Wing Cmdr H.R. Busteed and Flt Lt D.E Lucking as observers. Unfortunately trials were not completed owing to engine trouble. Later flights were no more successful due to bumpy conditions. The lack of instrumentation to detect and record results was probably the reason that no recommendations were made.
  In another experiment N4839 was fitted with two 450-hp Napier Lion engines. In Report MN271 of 16 August 1922, the test pilot, Flt Lt C.B. Dalison, AFC, recorded that the
  seaplane is very nose heavy on climb but trims at nearly full throttle flying level low down at about 78 knots and 2000 r.p.m., under which conditions it flies “hands off’. The above with the maker’s tail setting.
  To the rest of remarks regarding Stability and, Controllability and Manoeuvrability, the Report notes all “As Eagle 8.F.5.” No bombs could be carried externally due to position of docking chocks. It was considered that the poor performance was partly due to the excessive radiator size and the Vickers Vernon airscrews used for the test. “The engines are overloaded by the Vickers Vernon propellers.” It was considered that the “improvement in performance over that of the standard Eagle 8.F.5. is so far inconsiderable that no useful purpose would appear to be served by the present conversion scheme.”
  There were two special F-boats. N178, that featured a deep Saunders hollow-bottom hull. This machine has standard F.5 wings rigged with a slight stagger. N177 followed with an all metal hull by Short Brothers and known by that firm as their S.2. The hull was an early metal monocoque and proved its strength when the machine was stalled into rough water from about 30 feet and remained undamaged and watertight.


Post-War

  The British were anxious to catch as much of the post-war civil and military market as they could. Their main rival was France as the Germany aviation industry was hamstrung by the Allies. Two F.5 boats, N4041 and N4044, set out from Felixstowe on 11 July 1919. N4044 made a round Scandinavia flight of 2,450 sea miles in a flying time of 40 hours 40 minutes as a “demonstration of the commercial uses of flying-boats.” The flight was noteworthy that in the 27 days no kind of trouble was experienced and the low-compression Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines ‘worked magnificently throughout.” The flight took in Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
  The ELTA Exhibition at Amsterdam in 1919 was to be a showpiece for aviation, especially civil aviation. Aircraft companies from all over Europe presented their products at the exhibition and passenger flights introduced the new method of transportation to the public.
  Gosport built F.5 N4634 flown by Lt-Col Ralph Hope Vere was the first F-boat to attend the exhibition. Banned from flying by the British Air Ministry N4634 was only available to invited guests and was not available to the general public. To highlight the British presence Sir Fredrick Sykes, the Controller General of Civil Aviation, arrived with five RAF F.5 flying boats at the naval air station of Schellingwoude on 12 August. These flying boats returned to Britain the next day. F.2A boats N4439 and N4441 were flown to Holland for the ELTA exhibition with N4441 also giving demonstration flights. These two F.2A boats were presented as Vickers exhibits as S.E. Saunders had been taken over by Vickers.

Canada

  Canada received eleven F.3 flying boats as part of the Imperial Gift of 1919. They were given civil registrations G-CYBT (N4016); G-CYDH (ex-N4009); G-CYDI (ex-N4010); G-CYDJ (ex-N4011); G-CYDQ(ex-N4014); G-CYEN (ex-N4015); G-CYEO (ex-N4181); and also N4012, N4013, N4178 and N4179 that did not receive civil registrations but were held as spares. A single Curtiss H-16 N4905 (G-CYEP) was included in the Gift but two ended up in Canada. The second was N4902 that was not registered and apparently used for spares. The US Government also gave the Canadians a number of Curtiss HS-2L flying boats that had operated from Nova Scotia during the war.
  The flying boats were used for summer patrols over areas where forest fires could break out. By 1922 all the Canadian aircraft were worn out and had not been reconditioned. The last F.3 was withdrawn in 1923, their replacement was the Vickers Vedette that was designed for Canadian conditions and built in Canada by Canadian Vickers at Montreal.

Chile

The Chilean Navy acquired an assortment of British aircraft after the war as payment for the Chilean ships that were under construction in Britain at the declaration of war and were taken over by the British. Sopwith Baby and Short 184 seaplanes were received followed in 1920 by a single F.2A (ex-N4567). This boat had open cockpits and balanced ailerons. Commissioned on 17 October 1921, when it was christened with the name “Guardiamarina Zanartu” after the first naval pilot. It was replaced by the Dornier Wai in 1926 and made its last flight on 15 February 1928.

Japan

  The Master of Sempill s British Naval Air Mission to Japan saw British aircraft purchased for use by the Japanese Navy. Before their arrival in April 1921, a small number of Avros and F.5 boats were ordered by Japan. The ten F.5 boats came from Short Brothers. The first to be erected was launched and flown on 30 August 1921, by John Parker. The F.5 “proved a valuable asset to the work of the Mission” and a number of long distance flights were made by trainees. It was the practice to finish each course with a cruise around the shores of Japan. The distance was usually over 1,500 miles and these took more than 9 hours to complete in stages, the longest stage usually being about 500 miles.
  The F.5 was to be built in Japan, Short Brothers sending 20 personnel under engineer Dodds to Japan, the contingent arriving in April 1921. They worked at the Yokosuka Arsenals Ordnance Department. The Arsenal erected the imported F.5 boats with the first taking to the water in April 1921. British sources state that in 1922 three Short-built F.5 boats with Napier Lion engines were obtained from Britain.
  An US intelligence report noted in March 1923 that two F-5 flying boats had just been completed at Yokosuka for the Naval Air Service at Sasebo. The aircraft were serialled 51 and 57. The first F.5 constructed entirely of local materials was built at the Hiro Naval Arsenal with assistance of Short Brothers personnel. Later some 50 E5 boats were built by the Aichi Tokei Denki Co of Nagoya. In 1925 the Hiro Arsenal powered an F.5 with licence-built 400-hp Lorraine engines, followed by another with 450-hp Lorraines. Designated F.1 and F.2, they were not selected for production as it was realised that the F.5 was outdated. Ten were built by the Hiro Naval Arsenal (Hiro Kaigun Kosho), ten by the Yokosuka Arsenal and forty by Aichi. Several impressive long-distance flights were made by the Japanese F.5 boats, some over nine hours. Some survived still in service in 1929. A report from the Naval Attache, Tokyo, on 18 January 1929, stated that 16 F-5 boats were in first line service with 6 in reserve. Although the type had a good history of service there were also many accidents mainly due to improper maintenance, engine problems and bad weather. Japan was to go on and build some of the best flying boats in the world culminating in the mighty Kawanishi H8K “Emily” of WWII fame.

Australia

  Australia sought to obtain Short F.5 flying boats and the serial sequence A11 was allocated to the proposed boats but financial concerns led to the purchase being abandoned. Two wooden hulled Supermarine Southamptons were eventually obtained and they took up the A11 serial prefix.

Netherlands

  As related in the text N4551 fell into the Netherlands hands. A number of Large America flying boats ended up in the Netherlands commencing with H-12 8693. This boat was delivered to Felixstowe on 3 June 1917, and was forced down due to engine failure on the 24th the following October. The Dutch torpedo boat G15 found the boat anchored in the Deurloo. The crew of Flt Lt H.C. Gooch, LM C.W. Sivyer and 2AM B.M. Millichamp were taken on board the torpedo boat whereupon the flying boat sank. Sources vary as to the fate of this machine with British sources saying the crew sank the boat, which appears to be most likely, while there is a suggestion in Dutch sources that there may have been a partial salvage of the machine.
  Curtiss H-12 Convert 8689 was shot down by Germans and force to alight off the northern tip of the island of Vlieland on 4 June 1918. The machine managed to be run aground but before the crew could set the machine on fire they were prevented by the coast guard stationed on the island. The crew were all interned and the boat was impressed in the MLD as L.1. This day also saw Capt Dickeys F.2A N4533 shot up and set on fire on the water after alighting in Netherlands waters.
  On 2 October 1918, F.2A N4551 of No.232 Squadron, RAF, was one of a flight of seven that flew along the Dutch coast within the Dutch territorial waters and were fired on by coastal batteries. Forced to alight, the boat was beached at Noordwijk. The crew were prevented from setting the boat on fire. This F.2A was taken into MLD service as L 2. According to a contemporary report three Canadian and two British men comprised the crew (Lt J.C. Stockman, 2/Lt T.N. Enright, 2/Lt W. Pendleton, 1AM H.L. Curtiss, and 3AM W.A. Mitchell). All were interned. Lt Stockman was injured in the incident, the rest were unhurt.

Portugal

  In May 1920 two F.3 boats were reconditioned by Fairey Aviation Co Ltd at Hamble before being flown to Lisbon for the Servico de Avica (Naval Aeronautical Service). They were in service until 1922. One was used for the first flight from Lisbon to Funchal on Maderia Island in 1921. This 7 hour 40 minute flight was captained by Cdr Sacadura Cabral, with Capt Gago Coutinho as navigator. Cabral had flown the first of the boats from the UK to Lisbon. Coutinho was over 60 years of age and a well qualified navigator. This flight served to give them experience in navigation for the proposed first South Atlantic crossing the following year in a Fairy IIID.

Spain

  When the Riff War began in Spanish Morocco the Army and Naval air service were poorly equipped and there was a rush to acquire new equipment. The Army purchased Bristol Fighters, De Havilland 9 and 9A bombers from the ADC. Although the war was mainly an Army affair, the Navy purchased 11 Felixstowe flying boats, variously referred to as F.3 and F.5 models from the ADC. Photographs show a cockpit canopy which would confirm that they were the F.3 model. They were erected, inspected, crated and shipped to Spain. As facilities were not available for their operation, the wings and tail sections were stored ashore while the hulls were placed on the davits of two old warships in Barcelona harbour, exposed to the sun and dew, a treatment for which they had not been designed. The first boat was wrecked while attached to its trolley in a gale the night before it was due to fly for the first time. For the story how they were brought into service see Norman Macmillans Freelance Pilot, Heinemann, London, 1937.


Post-War Civil

  The Gosport Aviation Co on the Solent was building the F.5 and, according to H. Penrose, Porte had announced that he would be willing to join the company after the end of the war. Flight for 15 December 1919, devoted an article - “Some Gosport Flying Boats for 1920” to the company’s proposals. The article noted that the late John Porte had joined the company in August 1919 as Chief Designer, and had produced several designs based on his successful types in the late War modified to suit commercial requirements. The types are illustrated by drawings and their Felixstowe lineage can be clearly seen. The G.9 was a triplane flying boat based on the Fury and featuring the 600-hp Rolls Royce Condor engines that were to have originally powered the Fury. They were arranged with the two outboard engines as tractors and the central one as a pusher.
  With his death on 22 October 1919, at only 35 years of age, Porte’s ideas for civilian versions of the F-boats died with him. Not one Gosport design was ever built. The North Atlantic was conquered by a flying boat in 1919 before he died. This was the USN NC-4, a design that was radically different from those designed by Porte, but one which he would have been aware of given the constant communication between Felixstowe, Curtiss and the USN. This is not to say that the Porte boats had no influence on civil aviation.
  Major W.T Blake departed Croydon in a modified D.H.9 G-EBDE in an attempt to fly around the world on 25 May 1922. The original D.H.9 was lost in a crash and he continued his abortive world flight in a variety of aircraft. F.3 G-EBDQ was reportedly shipped to Canada for this part of his trip but was not used and later sold in Canada in 1922.
  Short Brothers Ltd had hoped to sell their F.3 and F.5 boats on the civilian market but had to compete with the low prices from the Aircraft Disposal Co (ADC). In their advertisements Shorts offered their F.3 as an adaption of this machine for passenger work that turned it into a luxurious yacht. A cabin space 9 ft x 4 ft 6 in was fitted out as a lounge for four to six persons. If less comfort and luxury was required then a greater number of passengers could be carried. Two machines ended up on the British civil register as G-EAQT (ex-N4019) and G-EBDQ (ex-N4177), the latter, Blake’s machine, referred to above.
  G-EAQT was converted to an air-yacht by Shorts and flew in this form on 28 May 1920. Lebbeus Hordern imported G-EAQT to Australia together with spare parts. In Australian documents it is referred to as a Short F.5 flying boat. The hull was launched but the machine was never erected. In 1923 the Superintendent of Aircraft received a report on the machine. The wings were still in their packing case. The hull was thought to require a considerable amount of repair before the machine would be considered airworthy as all the joints had opened up and the timber had warped badly. Hordern later donated the two Eagle VIII engines to the RAAF in 1927. According to legend the hull became a shelter for fishermen. The British registration had been cancelled in January 1921.
  Some sources quote two F.3 boats used for an aerial service in Tasmania but no such service existed.
  The Aircraft Disposal Co was still able to offer the following airworthy aircraft for sale in 1924:
  Felixstowe F.3, Martinsyde F.4, D.H.9 and 9A, Bristol F.2B, Sopwith Snipe, Avro 504K and Parnall Panther.


Журнал Flight


Flight, August 21, 1919.

THE E.L.T.A. SHOW

THE AIRCRAFT EXHIBITION

The British Section

THE GOSPORT AIRCRAFT CO.
  At the time of writing, the exhibits on this firm's stand consist chiefly of large panels giving particulars of the various types of Gosport flying boats. As these particulars were published in our issue of July 31, 1919, there is no need to repeat them here. One of the Gosport flying boats arrived by air on August 8, and was anchored in the Ij, close to the exhibition, where it was in the company of a large British Royal Air Force flying boat, also, we believe, built by the Gosport firm, although technically belonging to the Air Force. During Saturday and Sunday the small Gosport boat made flights over the river and harbours, to the great enjoyment of the Amsterdammers, who look with interest on any craft connected with water transport, and especially so when such craft combines water and air transport. The little Gosport flying boat gets off very well on the smooth waters of the Ij, and this firm, as being the only one to have a flying boat in commission at present, should do very good business in Amsterdam. During last week this boat was brought up to the show and placed on the Gosport stand.

C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Curtiss H-12 Convert 8661 had a long life, being delivered to Felixstowe on 21 January 1917 and being dismantled as worn out on 20 August 1918. As an H-12 it bombed a submarine and was involved in fights with enemy seaplanes. Converted with an F.2a hull by 6 January 1918, it engaged with five enemy seaplanes in February and shot one down. By June it had been sent to the Felixstowe Experimental Station.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.3 N4230 operating from Shoeburyness, May 1918. After undertaking hydrophone trails at Shoeburyness in May, the Dick, Kerr and Co. built N4230 dropped two 230 lb. bombs on a U-boat on 20 July. It was recorded at Houton Bay in January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A N4283 in the black and white scheme adopted by G.E. Livock and Flt. Lt. Bob Leckie.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
N4287 was a Felixstowe Station boat and was in service form March 1918. It dropped bombs on U-Boats on two occasions and was used by the USN Killingholme by July 1918. Deleted W/E 05 September 1918. Note the unusual large serial application.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.2A N4300 carried a semaphone device above the center section.
В.Обухович, А.Никифоров - Самолеты Первой Мировой войны
Феликстоу F.2A
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A N4512 in dazzle scheme assigned to Great Yarmouth NAS.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A assigned to Felixstowe NAS in dazzle scheme.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A in dazzle scheme assigned to Great Yarmouth NAS and flown by Flt. Lt. Leckie.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Curtiss H-12B Convert N4339. Apparently converted on delivery in December 1917, this boat had the additional 'fighting top' armament. It was attacked by 10 German seaplanes on 15 February 1918, the boat having to flee the scene. Reported as worn out with a strained hull by July 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.2A assigned to Great Yarmouth; pattern on lower hull and floats is speculative.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.3 G-CYEN (ex N4015) of the Canadian Air Board, 1922. It crashed at Victoria Beach, Manitoba, on 8 September 1922 and was not repaired.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.3 in Spanish service.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.3 G-CYDH of the Canadian Air Board, 1921-1923. Canada received 11 F.3s in 1919 as a postwar gift. N4009 was registered G-CYDH on 11 July 1921 and was used to spot forest fires during the summer fire season. It was deleted 11 January 1923.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
N4082 was one of a number of F.2A boats that were used by the USN until their H-16 boats were brought up to patrol standard. The US cockade is unusual as the USN did not apply national markings to the hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
F.2A N4087 was assigned to Felixstowe Station.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
S. E. Saunders-built F.2A N4099 was at Felixstowe by 17 October 1918. It remained there until at least January 1919 after which it went to Calshot. It was written off in a fatal crash in the Solent in 1924.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A N4251 in dazzle scheme assigned to Felixstowe NAS.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.3 N4258 was delivered in July 1918 but did not get to Felixstowe until September. It survived into 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.2A N4296 assigned to Felixstowe.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A N4297 was in service at Felixstowe from May 1918. Engaged with Brandenburg W.29 monoplanes on 04 July 1918 and was forced down. Recovered and repaired it was still in service at the end of January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.2A N4304 assigned to Felixstowe.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Late F.2A N4465 in one of the "standard schemes" used by Saunders. This boat had balanced ailerons.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.5 N4490 assigned to Felixstowe in December 1918. N4490 was named Aquila.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.5 N4490 operating from Malta in the 1920s, the wartime dazzle scheme has now been replaced.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A N4546 was a Felixstowe boat. It arrived on 28 July 1918 and was destroyed in a crash on 21 August.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A assigned to Felixstowe NAS in dazzle scheme.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A in dazzle scheme assigned to Felixstowe NAS.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A ZANARTU in post-war service with Chile
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Short F.5 No.7 of the Japanese Naval Air Service, 1924. Japan received 10 Short-built F.5s in 1921 and later produced the type under license, at least 50 being built by Aichi. In 1929 16 were reported in front-line service with a further six in reserve.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Saunders F.5 N178 hollow hull experimental.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The H-8 was unsuitable for RNAS requirements and Porte soon produced a new experimental hull to 8650's aerostructure that led to it becoming the Porte II (later F.2). Note the enlarged fin.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2 with top decking extended along to the stern post and standard fin.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Close up view of the Porte hull fitted to 8650.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The Porte II (later F.2) hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The Curtiss wings were employed for the Felixstowe boats and were identical until the introduction of balanced ailerons on the F Boats as shown here. The Felixstowe boat's airscrews rotated in the same direction.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Pristine F.2A with cockades under the top wing.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Beached F.2A with cabin enclosure.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
This late model F.2A without the cockpit canopy bore the name Old Blackeye I. This machine has been identified as N4082 that was allocated to the USN at Killingholme. Sir A. Robinson identified it as H-12 Convert 8688 in a photograph in Cross & Cockade Great Britain, Vol.11 No.1 1980. He used it as a demonstration as to how Killing holme station modified its F.2A hulls to conform to the station requirements. As both machines served with the USN at Killingholme, the identity remains a matter for further research. The US cockade has been applied to the hull but the British cockades are retained on the wings. The machine bears the typical Saunders colour scheme and appears to have been in service for some time as the black fin and hull finish is dull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
F.2A N4083 on board a lighter H-19 at Fleixstowe. The hull is criss-crossed by the dark colour to form a diamond pattern with the light colour. Colours quoted as white over dark green. Note the serial carried low on the rudder. N4083 was delivered to Felixstowe on 22 August 1918, and was still there in January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4099 has only the rear of the hull dazzle painted. Note the wing cockade has not been painted on the replacement balanced aileron, (via J.D. Oughton)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A poor photograph of an F.2A with canopy fitted to the cockpit. The dazzle scheme appears to be that of N4283.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4287 was a Saunders hull and appears to have been reconditioned with a larger and unusual style of serial. N4291 had its serial painted in a similar style and it is possible that this was done while the two were in USN service at Killingholme. The front of the hull, washboard and fins appear to be grey with the fabric surfaces a dark colour (green or P.C.10?).The style of cockade is also of interest. Note the side window behind the cockpit canopy, a feature lacking on the H-16. This seaplane was in use at Killingholme and was one of those handed over to the USN. It attacked U-Boats on 26 and 28 June, and on 13 July 1918, while being flown by USN crews. It was written off in the W/E 5 September 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
All hands on deck! The number of personnel to operate these large seaplanes is illustrated by this photograph of N4291 OLD BLACKEYE. This machine has the lower cockade painted under the lower wing.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Dazzle painted N4296 being loaded onto a lighter at Felixstowe. The striped forward hull could be red or black and white. Note the lack of a cockpit canopy and the small serial at the rear of the hull. The lack of a washboard indicates that this boat has had the rear fabric replaced by ply. A 230-lb bomb is under the wing. N4296 was deleted in the W/E 12 December 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
By November 1918 N4297 sported a dazzle colour scheme that incorporated the wingtip floats.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4304 has stripes from the bow to the stern of the hull. Note how the wingtip floats were painted the same as the hulls.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Judging by the helmets on the crew handling this Large America N43XX, this photograph was probably taken in the Middle East. Note that the boat has two bomb racks under the lower starboard wing.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4430 has its forward hull dazzle painted as are the wing tip floats. Note the low serial application to the rudder.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4436 on the slipway. This machine was recorded with No.267 Squadron at Calafrana.The white forward hull deck fabric was probably adopted as it let light through to illuminate this section of the hull where the radio operator, etc., were located, and at the same time protected the fabric from the rays of the sun. V.84 aluminium would have been opaque and not provided this benefit. (Nicolas Cooper via SEAWINGS)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4446 on its handling trolley with that of 4013 in the foreground. Note the position of the serial on the rudder. A Saunders built boat, N4446 was not delivered until after January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4465 with service and civilian personnel. There is a stencilled line of small text under the serial indicating a Saunders built hull. N4465 was in the same batch as N4446 but has the serial on the top of the rudder. This machine was at Killingholme in 1918 with balanced ailerons and no cabin. Nothing further is known about its career.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Anti-submarine patrols were as important in the Mediterranean as they were around the UK and a number of specialist Flights were formed to perform these duties. Four such Flights (Nos. 360 to 363) were based at Calafrana, Malta, and in August 1918 joined to form 267 Squadron. Felixstowe F2a N4488 served with this unit.
O.Thetford - Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 /Putnam/
F.2A N 4490 of No. 267 Squadron at Malta in 1922.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
F.2A N4510 on its beaching dolly.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A May, Harding and May boat out of an order for ten F.2A patrol boats (N4510-N4519), N4510 is seen in another scheme applied on many boats. Note the parallel front tailplane struts. The hull fabric appears to be a dark colour (P.C.10 or green?) the same as that applied to the wings. The hull wood appears to be varnished except for the nose that is much darker (black?). The fins, washboards and hull bottom are probably the same dark colour. This seaplane had a short career. After being delivered to Felixstowe for type trials in January 1918, it was with the Felixstowe patrol by March, but an emergency alighting due to engine failure saw the boat sunk while undertow in heavy seas on 8 April.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A N4510 at Grain on 15 February 1918. Note the square sliding door to the hull side windows.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Another F.2A from the same batch N4515 has the rear hull fabric clear doped while the top decking appears to be the same colour as the fins and forward ply areas of the hull. These photographs show the difficulties in trying to determine colours without documentation on the various colour schemes applied to these boats. It must be remembered that the coloured dope was not to apply camouflage but to protect the fabric from deterioration from the action of the sun's rays. Note the Sopwith Camel on a lighter to the right of the seaplane. The deck was canted up so that when under tow the deck was approximately horizontal to launch the fighter, (via J.D. Oughton)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
F.2A N4516 was from the same batch as N4510 and in the same colour scheme. Different light changes the tonal values of the photograph such that in this photograph the fins appear to be the same colour as the rear fuselage while the washboard looks darker. Note the Short seaplane with folded wings in the background. N4516 was delivered to Killingholme in February 1918. It had a chequered career breaking its tail when launching on 3 June; having the elevator shot away on 19 July, and dropping two bombs on a U-Boat off Scarborough on 23 July. At this time it was with the USN. It was written off in a crash off Immingham on 14 August 1918, without injury to the crew.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4534 lacks the "N" of the serial on the hull. This F.2A appears to have served at Calshot for its service life from May 1918 to at least January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Dazzle painted N4541 and N4504 (?) trail this line-up of F.2A boats on the Felixstowe slipway. Note that N4541 retains its dark coloured hull top decking.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4566 from May, Harding and May, in what appears to have been a "standard" scheme for the Large America boats late in the war. The airscrews have canvas covers. The serial, carried above the tailplane on the rudder, can just be made out on the original photograph. This boat was at Calshot from 1919 to around 1924.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
A Large America on the hardstand area outside canvas hangars.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.2A on the slipway.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Three beached F.2A flying boats are visible in this photograph.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.2A gets up onto the step.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.2A in flight showing the dark bottom of the hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A Large America low over the water displays the altitude adopted when in combat with German floatplanes.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4297 in factory finish. This machine appears to have the forward fuselage, washboard, fins and hull bottom in the same dark colour as the upper surface of the wings and tailplane. The hull top decking panels appear to be clear doped as is the rear hull fabric. Note the light (white?) panel where the hull cockade would be applied. The wing cockades overlap the ailerons. N4297 was later given a dazzle colour scheme. Note the additional Lewis Gun at the cockpit for use by the 2nd pilot.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A flying-boat N4297 from Felixstowe in one of the "standard" colour schemes applied to the F.2A boats made practicable by Lieut.-Col. John Porte, photographed from another boat
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
A Large America overflies a British submarine. In addition to hunting Zeppelins, anti-submarine, and convoy patrols, the Large America boats performed reconnaissance missions to determine the movements of German ships and the location of mine fields.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Патрульные самолеты Феликстоу окрашивались очень пестро
The Felixstowe flying boats gave valuable service around the shores ol the UK in a variety of roles. but primarily on anti-submarine patrols. This aircraft, N4545. arrived at Felixstowe in July 1918 and joined 230 Squadron, which, in August, farmed out of the Antisubmarine Patrol unit.
An R.A.F. Flying-Boat of Lieut.-Col. Porte's design, and known as the Felixstowe F2a Type, built by various companies. Dazzle-painted, in accordance with Naval custom.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.2A N4545 has no cockpit canopy. Painted in a dazzle scheme, reportedly red and white, these photographs were taken on 10 October 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Photographs taken of N4297 of No.230 Squadron from an accompanying boat. N4297 was another Saunders hull. The cockpit cabin has been removed. The boat has been described as being painted with blue and white stripes on the hull forward and in bands to the rear, however this has not been confirmed. Note the three white bars on the upper surface of the top plane. Delivered to Felixstowe in May 1918, this machine was engaged, along with N4513 and N4540, in a fight with Brandenburg floatplanes on 4 July. Although forced down the seaplane was able to take off and return to Felixstowe. It was still at the station in January 1919. (AHT AL0772-007)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The dazzle painting was carried over onto the hulls of the F-boats.This photograph is said to have been taken at Felixstowe. This example has the cockades under both upper and lower wings. Note the crowded beach; a post-war photograph?
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4283 in the black and white scheme that Leckie and Livock applied to their F.2A in late March 1918, some months before the general introduction of the dazzle schemes. N4283 attacked a U-Boat on 17 March in company with N5295. This boat was still on the strength of Great Yarmouth in January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.2A in flight. The gunner in the rear cockpit at the wing trailing edge can be seen.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Proudly flying an ensign from the wings of a British Large America boat.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
A Felixstowe Large America on the point of alighting. The ability of manufacturers to build the Porte type hull without being boat builders saw the number of these Large America flying boats increase in the last year of the War, but there were never enough to fulfil the demands made of them.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
A poor but interesting photograph showing a beached F.2A that has what appear to be pontoons under both wings to support the machine. A motor launch is visible in the background suggesting that the machine has had a poor alighting and had to be recovered before it sank.
K.Delve - World War One in the Air /Crowood/
Felixstowe F2A in service with the US Naval Air Service at Killingholme.
H.King - Armament of British Aircraft /Putnam/
In this view of F.2A number 8677 a man is obstructing the waist hatch. Clearly, however, the mounting above the hatch is not of the Scarff No.2 type, and there is doubt, moreover, if the mounting in the bow is of this pattern. Even the Lewis guns appear non-standard. Beneath the wing is a flat-nosed 230-lb anti-submarine bomb.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Line up of six Felixstowe F.2A flying boats on the slipway at Felixstowe.
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
F.2A flying-boats on the slipway at a coastal air station of the RNAS.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
The U.S. Naval Seaplane N.C. 4 arrives at Plymouth, completing the crossing of the Atlantic by the air. The N.C. 4 is to the left in Plymouth Harbour, and taxying is British Seaplane N 4499, flying the British and American flags, on its way to greet the voyagers.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4413 under power. The rear of the hull is well down in the water. On the curved H-12 hulls suction was created and the Porte designed hulls overcame this fault.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Close-up of a late F.2A that appears to have a Saunders' hull. The nose and, fins and washboard are a dark (black?) colour while the ply forward sides of the hull are clear varnished. The rear and top decking fabric is clear doped (with the fabric top decking possibly white). The wings are doped a dark colour on their upper surfaces. The struts appear to be Battleship Grey. Note the prominent footsteps up the side of the hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Twin guns on the nose cockpit of this F.2A.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This F.2A had an experimental hydrophone fitted for detecting submarines. The operator demonstrates the device. The boom was carried along the hull and after the boat alighted it was swung out and the operator would listen for the sound of a submerged submarine. Note the way the bottom of the hull has discoloured and picked up marine organisms.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Close-up of nose of a dazzle painted late F.2A. "Crashed one week later."
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Close up of the rear hull of a dazzle painted Felixstowe boat. On the original three colours can be made out in the dazzle pattern. Note the mounting for the machine gun being demonstrated on the upper hull position. (Nicolas Cooper via SEAWINGS)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Close up of the Gallows mount Lewis gun deployed. The crewman has to adopt this position to gain full coverage from this mount. By cocking up the hull aft of the wings Porte gave the gun layers a better field of fire than the armament of the Curtiss H-12, however there were still areas where an enemy could hide and spray the flying boat with fire. The boats would fly close to the water when attacked to prevent these attacks from behind and below.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The solitary F.2C, N65, on the hardstand area in front of the Felixstowe hangars. Together with 8676 and 8689, N65 was credited with helping sinking U-Boat UC-1 on 24 July 1917, with Wing Cdr John Porte at the controls.
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
The Felixstowe F.2C flying-boat.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The end of N65.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The end of N65. From the damage it appears that the bottom of the hull was torn out, a too often common occurrence with the Large America boats.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N64 in the guise of an F.3. Note the cockpit canopy and anti-skid fins on the engine support struts. As an F.3 at Felixstowe from October 1917, it was deleted in May 1918 after being reported as worn out the previous month.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
"Just Away." Launching F.3 serial N4193. The fabric surfaces appear to be V.84 aluminium doped. N4193 was with No.230 Squadron in 1922-1923. Stationed at Calshot in 1924-1925 it was reconditioned by Shorts.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4230 displays yet another variation to the colour schemes applied to the F.3. N4230 was the first F.3 of a batch of 50 contracted from Dick, Kerr and Co. The washboards are a much darker colour (black) than the pigmented doped fabric surfaces. This colour carried onto the fins, but does not extend for the full length of the fins as they are varnished at the front as is the ply sheeting of the forward hull. The nose of this boat is again this dark colour (black) and it carries across the front of the fins. N4230 undertook hydrophone trials at Shoeburyness on 7 and 15 May 1918, and is illustrated in the experimental section photographs. In addition this boat took part in an attack on a submarine on 20 July 1918, when it dropped two 230-lb bombs on a U-Boat. It was still recorded at Houton Bay in January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The British experimented with hydrophone sonic listening devices fitted to seaplanes in order to detect submerged submarines. The Manual Hydrophones in Flying Boats and Float Seaplanes (Naval Staff, August 1918), shows the device fitted to Short floatplanes, F.2 and F.3 flying boats. N4230 was fitted with a hydrophone that was carried on the Gallows gun mount by a wooden extension to the gunbracket. The hydrophone and suspension rod is shown in the flying position along the side of the hull. The boat would land on the water and drop the device in the water to listen for submarines. This sequence of photographs shows the device and suspension rod fitted along the rear hull and in operation. The rear hatch and the side window behind the cockpit canopy are noteworthy. On N4230 the fins appear to be clear varnished while the washboard is dark (black) coloured. The wear and different tonal values of the various surfaces should be noted. Below the footstep at the cockpit is stencilled a warning not to step on the fins. Testing was carried out on 15 May 1918. (Nicolas Cooper via SEAWINGS)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Close up with the device fully submerged. The operator is standing in the rear hull hatch. The dark mark in front of the serial is a chafing patch to prevent the stowed hydrophone breaking the fabric rear hull side.
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The hydrophone and suspension in the flying position. The hydrophone is on the end of the streamline strut
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This photograph shows another experimental fitting with a hydrophone at the end of a flexible cable. Note how the hull cockade has vanished on the rear fabric covering.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4232 in a bit of trouble on the slipway. In this photograph the difference between the dark rear hull fabric coloured surfaces and the washboard and fin can be clearly seen. This Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd built F.3 was one of a batch of 50 Ordered in May 1917, and was with 301 Flight Catfirth by August 1918. It served at Dundee and Houton Bay. It was deleted in the W/E 19 December 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This photograph is recorded as showing the position on F.3 N4248. The gunner's position is very rudimentary with just the small platform to stand on. Access was by the rope ladder. Nothing further is known about this particular attempt.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4258 with the front of the hull dazzle painted, (via R.W. Elliott)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
There would be no excuse for using the wrong trolley for this F.3, N4258. One of 50 from Dick, Kerr and Co, this "dazzle" painted boat has the open cockpit and was with Felixstowe from September 1918 to at least January 1919. The crew in this photograph are unfortunately unknown.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4258 after the rear of the hull was included in the dazzle scheme, (via R.W. Elliott)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This F-boat has also been identified as N4258. Note the addition of F.3 to the boat's bow.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This F-boat bears the same scheme as N4258 and has the F.3 marked on the bow. The scene is outside the camouflaged No.3 Hangar at Felixstowe. (AHT AL0772-015)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Felixstowe F.3 N4259 with bomb under the lower wing. N4259 was one of a batch of 50 F.3 boats with 375-hp Eagle VIII engines ordered from Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co Ltd (N4230-N4279) and constructed at Preston. Delivered to the Marine Aircraft Depot South Shields in August 1918, it was tested in October. It was still recorded at South Shields at the end of January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Beached N4260 with damaged starboard wings and rudder. The engines had been removed by the time this photograph was taken. This Dick, Kerr and Co seaplane was delivered in August 1918, wrecked in transit to Cattewater and deleted in the W/E 31 October, apparently never having made an active patrol.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4364 displays a long radio aerial. This machine appears a dark colour overall with the exception of the hull decking immediately behind the cockpit, however this may be due to the lighting conditions. The style of serial display is noteworthy. N4364 was one of those built at the Malta Dockyards by local artisans and was delivered to Calafrana in November 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4400 running up its engines at the Phoenix works in, from the apparel the civilian and military onlookers are wearing, what are windy and wet conditions. N4400 was first of a batch of 30 F.3 seaplanes (N4400-N4429).This machine was fitted with the Cooper"autoflare" landing stick and is probably that illustrated in the experimental section photographs. A number of other experiments were conducted with this boat and it was reconditioned by Short Brothers in 1920 and sold to the Portuguese Government in April that year, becoming C-PAON.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4400 was the first machine off the third and last order for F.3 boats from the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co. Note the style of serial application. The Phoenix c/n is stencilled under the tailplane. These factory photographs are presumed to be taken at the official launch of the boat with factory and RNAS personnel in attendance. Compare the details of this boat with the photographs of F.3 boats from earlier batches.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4401, by contrast to N4400, is in a light finish to the hull. N4400 was delivered to Killingholme in March 1918, while N4401 was delivered in April. 4401 was written off in June 1918 after being wrecked. It could be that even numbered hulls were given the dark finish and odd hulls the light finish, but not enough photographs have been examined to prove or disprove this theory.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Views of N4401. The light colour of the top of the fins compared with the washboard and hull bottom is well displayed in the close-up of the rear hull. It appears that the forward hull and top of the fins were clear varnished with the washboard and hull nose and bottom black. The hull top fabric panels were clear doped. This clear doping of the top panels may have been to allow for light to penetrate and this can be noted in the construction photographs.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4402 with dark rear to the hull. It would be extremely interesting to find the specifications that Phoenix worked to in finishing its Felixstowe flying boats. This machine is on the Brough slipway and is in the factory finish before allocation to a RNAS/RAF unit.
This was an unlucky boat capsizing on its delivery flight to Dundee on 27 April 1918. Salvaged it was to be reconstructed. It was last listed in January 1919.
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Under these lighting conditions N4404 shows a different tone to the washboards.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Phoenix personnel pose with the boat at Brough before delivery. N4404 was of a batch of 30 boats built by Phoenix in early 1918. Delivered to Houton Bay in April it was written off when it struck a submerged object on takeoff on 23 May and was deleted the following June.
N4404 in the Phoenix colour scheme of all fabric areas given a pigmented dope finish (dark green or P.C.10?). In this photograph the washboards appear to be the same colour as the adjacent fabric. The stencilling under the tailplane reads: "PHOENIX BRADFORD, No.204." The white arrows on the hull would be locating points for the docking trolley. Note the fabric covered struts have wound cord bindings at their centres.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4404 on the water. Note the window on the port side of the upper hull under the wings. On this photograph the washboards appear to be a different colour from the adjacent fabric covered surfaces.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Detail of the complex supporting struts for the tail structure of N4406 in the Phoenix works. In this photograph it can be seen that the finish applied to the washboards was carried to the underside of the hull. 4406 was delivered to Houton Bay in June 1918, and was still there in the following October.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4409 is only three down the line from N4406 but is in a different colour scheme. All the hull fabric areas appear to be clear doped with black washboards and hull bottom. This seaplane was also delivered in June 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Detail of the nacelle on F.3 N4409 mounted at the wing trailing edge on extended engine supports.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4410 has its engines and cockpit covered with canvas. Note that the wing in the background has a balanced aileron. This machine was at Houton Bay in July 1918, and at Dundee in January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This photograph of N4410 bears close study. This F.3 carried the same colour scheme as N4409. The lower cockade is under the bottom wing. The wingtip float bears the stencil: "P3/T6/TB/030". The small dot on the outside of the float is the Phoenix Co's decal. A larger circular decal is on the side of the hull near the front of the boat, with a still large Phoenix on the bow. The stencil under the footstep reads: MAXIMUM LOAD NOT TO EXCEED 4250 LBS.The cockpit canopy with the window separating it from the main hull is well shown. Note how the top of the fins are clear varnished with the black giving an outline to the fins. N4410 served with No. 306 Flt from Houton Bay and was still there in January 1919.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4413 also is in a light finish to the hull, but the fins and forward fuselage has the black lines applied. On this machine the serial is not as elaborate as on N4400, but there is a more elaborate application of the c/n under the tailplane. It reads:"PHOENIX BRADFORD, No. 213." Brough slipway, 27 June 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
F.3 N4415 on its beaching trolley parked on the hardstand at Tresco station. This photograph is dated as April 1919. This machine was recorded at No. 234 Sqn at Tresco on 11 October 1918, prior to that it had served with No.238 Squadron at Cattewater being recorded for the W/E 22 August. The main hangar was located just behind the camera. Tresco was to have 12 of the F.3 boats but this number was never achieved.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4415 bears the same type of scheme as the earlier N4404.The serial numbers do not give the true order of delivery.
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F.3 N44XX appears in this photograph to have the hull painted the dark upper-surface colour over all surfaces.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.3 on its handling trolley. The lack of a serial number is unusual.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
F.3 at Houton Bay on 25 May 1918. Probably a machine of No.306 Flight that remained independent after 1 April amalgamation of the RNAS into the RAF, The station name is prominently displayed on the hull that appears to be a light colour.
O.Thetford - Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 /Putnam/
FELIXSTOWE F. 3
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An F.3 at the factory ready for hand-over.
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Front view of an F.3.
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An F.3 in front of permanent hangars.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Details to be noted from this photograph are the type of gun ring, bomb sight, radiator and bomb racks, the position of the wind driven fuel pumps behind the cockpit. The nose and hull bottom appear to be black. The bottom wing engine section next to the hull where the rating is standing, would have had a ply walkway.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Loading a bomb on to an F.3 Large America flying boat. The crude method utilised here may be compared with that displayed in other photographs. Note the open hatch near the wing leading edge.
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Tresco Seaplane Station in November 1918. The station was established on the second largest island in the Isles of Scilly. The station was established in February 1917 and provided patrols for the Western Approaches. Two boats are on the hardstand area with a solitary Short floatplane.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F2A (F.3 ???) on patrol being flown by Acting Flt. Cdr. R.D. Delamere.
This F.3 has its dazzle painted hull in broad bands of colour.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A dazzle painted F.3 rescuing the pilot of a Sopwith "Kitten", presumably a Sopwith Baby floatplane. (Ens Raymond L Atwood collection/Emil Buehler Library)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Beaching a Felixstowe F.3 at dusk.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Beached F.3.This machine bears cockades under the lower wing.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Close up of an early F.3 shows details of the gun ring, cockpit canopy, ply walkways on the engine section of the lower wings, and the walkway over the fins.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.3 beached. Note that the fins are a light colour on this boat.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Two F.3 boats beached near their unlucky companion that has capsized. The anti-fouling bottom finish is to be noted.
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This Colourful F.3 has major damage to its fin and hull bottom. The fabric above the washboard at the rear of the hull has been removed.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The object of mass admiration, the Fury at Felixstowe. Note the dazzle painted damaged hull in the foreground and the Large America dazzle painted boats in the background.
FRONT VIEW OF THE PORTE SUPER-BABY TRIPLANE FLYING BOAT. - This Goliath is fitted with five Rolls-Royce "Eagle 8" engines arranged in two tandem sets and one single "pusher." Two of the rear "pusher" propellers are four-bladed, the centre rear propeller and the two tractor screws in front being two-bladed. The span is 123 ft., length of fuselage 60 ft., height, keel to ring post, 27 ft. 6 in., total weight 23,400 lbs.
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Erecting a Spanish F.3.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A Felixstowe F.3, rebuilt at Hamble by Fairey in 1920, at Funchal on 22 March, 1921, after the first flight to Madeira from Lisbon. Captain and navigator, respectively, were Sacadura Cabral and Gago Coutinho, who were later to cross the South Atlantic in Fairey IIIDs.
The cut-out at the centre of the wing can just be discerned on this photograph identifying this Portuguese Naval air service Large America as an F.3.
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Canadian F.3 G-CYBT at rest.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
G-CYBT on 14 August 1921.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
F.3 N4009 was presented to Canada post-war as part of the Imperial Gift and was registered as G-CYDH on 11 July 1921, and was struck off charge on 11 January 1923. Aircraft with the registration prefix G-CY were Government (Air Board) owned aircraft
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Canadian F.3 G-CYEN (ex-N4015). Registered on 21 August 1922 it was apparently little used, being reported as having crashed at Victoria Beach, Manitoba, on 8 September that year and was not repaired.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Short air-yacht G-EAQT (ex-N4019). The flying boat first flew in this conversion on 28 May 1920. Shipped to Sydney, Australia, for businessman Lebbeus Hordern, it never flew again.
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8661 H-12 Convert with a F.2A hull. The side windows aft of the wing are the indicator of the change in hull. This machine was delivered to Felixstowe in January 1917. It had an eventful life being involved in submarine attacks on 23 April, attacks by enemy seaplanes in December, and was up for deletion by the end of the month. Given a new F.2A hull the conversion was completed by 6 January 1918. 8661 was involved in two fights with enemy seaplanes on 5 February and 12 March and the crew were credited with an EA shot down on each occasion. In October it was reported as worn out but was not deleted until the following January. This photograph accompanied a report on "Fighting Tops."
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
According to the serial on the beaching trolley this is Curtiss H-12 8682. If it is indeed 8682 then it has been upgraded to an H-12 Convert with an F.2A hull. Note the discarded H-12 hull in the background.
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N4340 with the British submarine C25 during hydrophone tests, 15 May 1918. The object of the tests would have been to determine the position of C25. The British and Germans experimented with seaplanes cooperating with submarines but neither came to any successful conclusions during the war. (AHT AL0655-099)
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Demonstrating the Fighting Top on dazzle painted N4543. This nacelle did not allow the gunner to slide the gun ring forward and backwards. Note the open side and rope ladder access. N4543 was with No. 230 Squadron, RAF, from July 1918. It was lost on 9 November when forced to alight due to running out of fuel. The seaplane sank but the crew were picked up by Dutch trawlers.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The nacelles on this boat are above and below the wing like those on N4339. The number applied to the nose was usually the last two numbers of the machine's serial. "15" does not fit with any known serials of boats fitted with Fighting Tops. Unlike N4339 this boat does not have a cockpit canopy.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The nacelles on this boat are above and below the wing like those on N4339. The number applied to the nose was usually the last two numbers of the machine's serial. "15" does not fit with any known serials of boats fitted with Fighting Tops. Unlike N4339 this boat does not have a cockpit canopy.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Another view of the same boat at Felixstowe with dazzle painted boats in the background. There is a white outlined dark band that carries completely around the hull behind the cockpit. The identity of this machine cannot be determined from available documentation. (AHT AL0772-012)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
H-12B Convert N4339 as the rear windows define. The Gallows mounting appears to have multiple guns attached. The dark lower colour of the hull follows the line of the washboard. N4339 was apparently converted with an F.2A hull on arrival at Felixstowe in December 1917. Attacked by ten enemy seaplanes on 15 February 1918, the boat managed to flee without injury to the crew. On 1 July it was reported as worn out but was still at Felixstowe on 30 January 1919.
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Camera gun photographs showing N4339 and vice versa.
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C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Detail of one of the outer nacelles. There is no indication of how the gunner made his entry to the nacelle.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Front view of Curtiss H12B N4339 with two nacelles at the inner bay interplane struts. The nacelles extend above the upper surface of the top wing. All gun rings are armed with twin Lewis guns. Note the dazzle painted F-boat in the background. N4339 was part of an order for 24 flying boats from Curtiss in the USA. Received at Felixstowe in December 1917, and was given an F.2A hull to become an H12 Convert. On 15 February it was attacked by up to ten enemy seaplanes and was forced to flee the engagement, fortunately without any injury to the crew. By July it was reported to be worn out but was still at Felixstowe in January 1919.
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The nacelles on the F.5 (N90?) were carried completely above the wing. Compare with those on the N4339. Although not indentified in the reports, this F.5 is sitting in the beaching trolley for N90.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
N90 the prototype F.5. The F.5 was the last Porte boat to enter production, becoming the standard RAF flying boat post-Armistice.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N90 introduced a balanced rudder and ailerons as standard.
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N90 the prototype F.5. Note the airscrews rotate in opposite directions.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N90 displays the fin cut-out for the rudder balance that is a distinguishing feature of the F.5. The fabric panel appears to have been painted (white) as the colour is carried onto the beading at the intersection with the ply sections of the hull.
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Detail of the wing overhang on N90 showing the balanced aileron and the way the cockade was carried on the lower surface of the upper wing.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Frame work of the F.5 nacelles used on the F.5.The wing structure did not have to be altered to fit these nacelles.
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This photograph have been identified as F.2A boat; however, the serial appears to be N90, the first F.5, although not enough of the serial can be viewed to confirm this. The finish of the boat certainly mirrors that of N90. Note the stowage for the small wind driven generator. The airscrew blades are painted Navy Grey.
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C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4038 on the water. What appears to be the letter "E" on the hull side is more probably the door to the waist gun positions. This was the first machine from an order for 12 placed with Short Brothers Ltd. It first flew at Rochester with J.L. Parker at the controls on 10 July 1919. It served with the MAEE at Grain until at least June 1923. Final fate unknown.
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Short built F.5 N4041 (S629) appears to have a dark coloured hull overall. N4041 served with No. 232 Squadron, Felixstowe, around 1919. In April 1923 it was stated that there were 40 F.2A and 35 F.5 flyng boats in service and as the F.5 was the later type and the establishment was 25 boats it was proposed to declare the F.2A obsolete and go on with the F.5 until a suitable replacement was available. N4041 was at Calshot in 1924 and in service until at least May 1925.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
OFF TO LOOK FOR FRITZ. - A British Flying Boat taxying along the surface.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
A GOSPORT-BUILT FLYING BOAT OF THE F TYPE: This machine, which still belongs to the R.A.F., flew across from England, and is now anchored in the IJ.
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A pristine Short Brothers constructed N4048 in post-war markings. The fabric areas appear to be white rather than V.84 aluminium. The hull appears to be black with white trim. The cockade/roundel is carried under the lower wing. N4048 made its first flight at Rochester on 27 June 1919. It was at Calshot from 1924 to 1926.
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N4049 at Calshot. This was the last F.5 of a batch of 12 from Short Brothers. It was based at Calshot in June 1924 and was written off after a forced alighting due to engine failure in the English Channel on 4 November 1924. Note the white outlined serial style on this batch.
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N4081 displays the "C" for Calshot station on its fin. The gap between the cockpit enclosure and the hull is well shown by the crewman standing in the opening. The dark colour of the hull, fins and washboard is thought to be a black anti-fouling bituminous paint. Note the position of the serial on the rudder. (AHT AL0060-121)
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N4198 on its beaching trolley with personnel. Note that the serial is white outlined on the hull. Fabric surfaces appear to be V.84 aluminium.
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Saunders N4460 appears to have followed the same finishing scheme as its F.2A boats with the dark vertical stripes to the forward hull. N4460 served at Cattewater with No. 238 Squadron by September 1920. With Flt Lt G.E. Livock in command it conducted an emergency alighting on 17 January 1921, after an engine failure. The hull was badly damaged and the crew was picked up by the trawler Verity. (Nicolas Cooper via SEAWINGS)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4490 was named Aquila and the dazzle scheme was not carried under the hull, nor are the wing tip floats in the dazzle scheme.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This F.5 is thought to be N4490 Aquila on a flight from Malta in the early 1920s. Note the cockpit layout with the crewman behind the pilot's cockpit. The different tonal values of the machine in direct sunlight should be noted.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
If nothing else, the Felixstowe F 5 should have served to highlight some of the shortfalls in British production engineering practice compared with that of the Americans. The prototype of this large maritime patrol aircraft had first flown in April 1918. However, the first production F 5 did not emerge until a year later, differing in considerable detail from the prototype. Compare this with the progress on the Americanised version of the F 5, the Navy Aircraft Factory F-5-L that first flew in late July 1918 and yet 33 of which had been delivered by the time of the November 1918 Armistice. Powered by two 325hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIIs, or 375hp Eagle VIIIs, the F 5's top level speed was 88mph at 2.000 feet. Seen here is serial no N 4637, the eighth of a 50 aircraft batch of F 5s built by Gosport Aviation Company.
Gosport Aviation Co Ltd built N4637 in a dark colour scheme. The cockade/roundel is now carried under the lower wing. This machine appears to have balanced elevators. This was an unlucky boat. In October 1921 while with the Seaplane Training Squadron the starboard airscrew came off forcing the boat to alight in the English Channel. On 25 April 1923, while with No.480 Flight, the rudder bar came adrift in the air and the hull stove in the following emergency alighting at Calshot. The Gosport Co was to build Porte's civil post-war designs and had the experience from its wartime contracts to do this; however, Porte's death saw the venture come to an end without any aircraft being constructed.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The S.536 under the serial of this F.5 indicated that N4838 was a Short Brothers constructed flying boat. It is thought that the device on the aileron is the Avro aileron balance that was tested in 1920 on this machine. N4838 was in service from 1920 to 1925.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
N4839, a production F.5, was visually similar to the prototype but the performance suffered due to official interference in the design. N4839 was from a batch of 50 boats ordered from Short Brothers Ltd. It made its first flight at Short's, Rochester, on 23 March 1920. Served with the Development Flight at Grain in 1922 and was still with the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment in June 1923.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
A F5 Flying-boat (2 - 375 h.p. Rolls-Royce "Eagle" engines), built by the Gosport Aircraft Co., Ltd.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N177 was built by Short Brothers with a metal hull utilising the aerostructure of the F.5. The bottom of the hull is painted with a white anti-fouling paint.The serial has a white outline on the natural metal hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N177 was built by Short Brothers with a metal hull utilising the aerostructure of the F.5. The bottom of the hull is painted with a white anti-fouling paint.The serial has a white outline on the natural metal hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The Short S.2 metal-hulled Felixstowe F.5 conversion of 1924, which was developed from that company's Silver Streak of 1920, the first British aeroplane to be constructed entirely of metal. Though slightly heavier than the F.5, this was more than made up for by the elimination of several hundred pounds of water seepage in service. The water performance of the S.2 was also dramatically proven when, off the coast of France, the aircraft was stalled into rough water from a height of 30ft (9m) and remained undamaged and completely watertight. Thereafter, all Short flying boats were built of metal, and other manufacturers followed suit after development of their own constructional methods.
H.King - Armament of British Aircraft /Putnam/
F.5 (Metal Hull) with Scarff ring-mountings in bow and amidships.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N178 with experimental Saunders hollow hull. Saunders was given a contract for two experimental hulls to take F.2A wings. The Admiralty Technical Department report for the fortnight ending 12 June 1918, noted that one hull was finished and would now be fitted with standard F.2A wings and fittings. The following report noted that the progress on the second hull was satisfactory. What serials were allocated to these two experimental hulls were are unknown, but N178 may well be one of these.
P.Jarrett, K.Munson - Biplane to Monoplane: Aircraft Development, 1919-39 /Putnam/
A Felixstowe F5 flying boat in early 1925, fitted with a Saunders patent hollow-bottomed hull as one of the many different hull forms tried in the early stages of development of the flying boat genus.
P.London - Saunders and Saro Aircraft since 1917 /Putnam/
Felixstowe F.5 N178 with Saunders 'hollow-bottom' ventilated hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Possibly the first Japanese Navy Short-built F.5. This boat does not have any national markings applied as yet. The rear of the hull bears the Short Brothers logo and the c/n S.347.
R.Mikesh, A.Shorzoe - Japanese Aircraft, 1910-1941 /Putnam/
Hiro Navy F.5 Flying-boat.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Japanese constructed Hiero F.5.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Running up the engines after assembly on a Japanese Navy F.5.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Japanese Navy F.5 serial 7. The hull appears to be black to the top decking. All other fabric surfaces appear to be V.84 aluminium.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This bow section from a F.5 has been restored and displayed at the East Anglias Aviation Heritage Centre of the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum. The bow section had been a potting shed in a local garden for over 60 years when it was discovered and obtained by the museum. Restored by museum members Ken Collison and Derek Small it is the largest original Felixstowe surviving artefact in the UK.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This section of an original Felixstowe hull shows the way the planks were laid at an angle. The next layer ran in the opposite direction with a glued layer of fabric between the two layers forming a strong water tight hull when carried out correctly.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
N4453 under construction at S.E. Saunders in the East Cowes shed, summer 1918. There is no record of this machine being delivered and it may have gone directly into store. Note the lack of a cockpit canopy.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.2A hull in the Aircraft Manufacturing Co works. Note the stencilling on the base of the fin.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The cramped conditions under which construction of Felixstowe F.3 boats took place at the Phoenix Dynamo works, Bradford, January 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Another view of the cramped conditions under which construction of Felixstowe F.3 boats took place at the Phoenix Dynamo works, Bradford.
S.Ransom, R.Fairclough - English Electric Aircraft and their Predecessors /Putnam/
Felixstowe F.3 production at the United Electric Car Works, Preston, which had been taken over by Dick, Kerr & Co late in 1917. This photograph was taken about July 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The elaborate jig for the hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
This hull is being constructed at Boulton & Paul, November 1917. The basic longerons and spacer fuselage form is well illustrated.
A.Brew - Boulton Paul Aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
The first Felixstowe F.3 flying-boat hull under construction, showing the cross-hatched planking of the hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.3 hull with the ply sides added but the fins not yet planked.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Completing the F-3 hulls at the Phoenix Dynamo Co works. The hull top and rear of the hull is covered with fabric. The planning bottom and fins were built onto the basic "fuselage" structure.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
F.3 hull with all the ply areas covered, ready for fabric covering.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
These photograph taken at Boulton & Paul in November 1917 shows the framework for the hull bottom and the completed hull frame has had its bottom planked first. There appears to have been no set method of manufacturing hulls for the F-boats.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The beautiful wood work at the nose of a Felixstowe F.3 hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Detail of the rear gunner's section. The hull bottom is not planked while the front section of the hull is.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Note the stencilling on this F.3 hull. A plumb bob is used to align the parts of the tailplane with the hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Damage to the nose of an F.3 that appears to have occurred on the production line.
A.Brew - Boulton Paul Aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
The first Felixstowe F.3 hull completed.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
View of a Phoenix-built F-3.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
View inside the front gunner's cockpit looking forward to the bow.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
View inside an F.3 hull looking to the rear over the fuel tanks. Note how light the view is due to the translucent doped fabric.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
View from the rear gunner's position towards the tail. The fabric is clear doped as the cockades are already painted on the hull sides.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
View of a damaged F.3 boat showing the front spar connection to the hull.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
View of the same damaged hull shown at bottom of preceding page with the wing section at the hull removed.
A.Brew - Boulton Paul Aircraft since 1915 /Putnam/
The method of transporting the Felixstowe hulls to Preston.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Boulton & Paul transporting a Felixstowe hull on its side. The gun ring and cockpit can be seen pressing against the canvas cover. Post-war criticism of the construction program for flying boats noted that orders were placed for flying boat hulls on the Clyde and "orders for the wings at the works over 200 miles away. The hulls were invariably transported to the wings instead of the wings being taken to the hulls. The effect of dragging the hulls of the F.5 and N.4 types over rough roads by night had been that after such transportation the wing-root" spars had become displaced, leading to serious distortion of the whole wing framework. Many minor effects due to the severe treatment which the hulls received on their journey were also evident and gave rise to doubt whether the hull contractor or the wing contractor was responsible." (Capt J.A. O'Brien, RAF. Discussion to D. Nicolson's paper "Design and Construction of Flying Boats", Transactions of the Institute of Engineers & Shipbuilders of Scotland, Vol.62, P.308. 29.04.1919.)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Transporting an F.3 hull. On this hull the washboard and nose are a dark colour (black) while the fins and hull bottom appear to be varnished. Note the abbreviated type cockpit canopy.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The late wings with horn balanced ailerons. The upper surfaces were a dark colour with clear doped lower surfaces.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Detail of an F.3's wing.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Felixstowe F.3 hull with centre section and engines fitted.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Detail of the upper wing gravity tank piping.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Wing joint with aileron control cables along leading edge.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
The tail skid or bumper that was fitted to protect the hull from damage when on land.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Phoenix built F.3 with the company's construction number, 236, on the hull. Note the style of serial numbering adopted by this company.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
This photograph shows how the bomb rack was fitted to the metal wing rib of a Phoenix built F.3.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Rolls Royce Eagle engines provided the power for the Felixstowe boats. Photographs taken at the Phoenix plant, 29 April 1918.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Rolls Royce Eagle engines provided the power for the Felixstowe boats. Photographs taken at the Phoenix plant, 29 April 1918.
S.Ransom, R.Fairclough - English Electric Aircraft and their Predecessors /Putnam/
Components of the automatic pilot made by the Phoenix Dynamo Co and believed fitted to Felixstowe F.3 N4409 (c/n 208) for trials. The main attitude-sensing devices were mercuryfilled circular tubes which acted as switches for electrically-operated compressed-air flying controls.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A portrait of the pilots in flight.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An experimental or squadron mount to allow the second pilot a machine gun. One can only imagine the front gunner's comments to this bizarre arrangement. (Nicolas Cooper via SEAWINGS)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Front gunner's cockpit on a Phoenix-constructed F.3 hull with Scarff gun ring mounted. The gun ring has a yoke for twin Lewis guns. Note the bomb sight, Phoenix logo and the gloss finish of these boats.
Журнал - Flight за 1919 г.
THE BUSINESS END OF A FLYING BOAT. - The gun ring and BOMB sight may be clearly seen in the nose of the boat.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The office of an F.3 flying boat.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
View from the front of a Large America flying boat. The mounting of twin Lewis guns was not common, one being the usual armament. The ammunition drums are not mounted on these guns.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A view from the rear cockpit. Note that the hull is painted in angled stripes.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Felixstowe F.2A interior looking forward.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This gunner demonstrates the position adopted when under attack. The Felixstowe boats had rear gun positions that the Curtiss H-12 lacked but even so it was still vulnerable from below and behind.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The standard Lewis gun on a Gallows mount as fitted to the F.2A, H-12 Convert, H-16, F.3 and F.5.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Lewis guns on Gallows mounts stowed inside a Large America.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
A Brandenburg W.29 attacking downed Large America flying boat N4305 of Capt E.A. Mossop. On 31 July 1918, the boat was attacked by five W.29 monoplanes of 1.C Staffel and forced to alight. Shot upon the water it caught fire and sank. Three of the crew were rescued but two drowned. The action was captured by a cameraman in one of the W29 floatplanes. (AHT AL0588-014)
A.Imrie - German Naval Air Service /Arms & Armour/
British Felixstowe F.2A twin-engined flying-boat 4305 from Great Yarmouth burning on the water off Lowestoft on 31 July 1918, yet another victim of the speedy Brandenburg W29 and the aggressiveness of Christiansen's IC Staffel. Once again Leutnant Ehrhardt secured photographs of the action, and his series of six pictures showed that the boat had been hit and set on fire in the air during the first attack by the five-strong W29 formation. Previous encounters with these boats by the slower Brandenburg W12 had not always been successful, but the extra speed of the new monoplane meant that closure to effective firing range was now assured.
J.Herris - German Seaplane Fighters of WWI /Centennial Perspective/
Felixstowe No.4305 burns. The Brandenburgs earned their reputation as "The Hornets of Zeebrugge."
Christiansen had confirmed the following victories over seven of the large America flying boats, all in 1918. Curtiss H.12B N4338, 15 February 1918. Curtiss H.8 8677, 24 April. Curtiss H.12, 25 April. Felixstowe F.2A N5433, 4 June. N5433 had landed and was taxing towards shore when set on fire. Felixstowe F.2A N4297 and N4540, both on 4 July 1917. N4297 was forced down but not lost and N4540 was only shot up. Felixstowe F.2A N4305, 31 July. Some of these victories were shared. He also had ships that were sunk or captured in his total score.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
An F.2A in trouble.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
This F.2A broke in two and turned turtle. The hulls of the F.2A varied in strength according to manufacturer and the naval air stations would modify them to suit their needs.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
No details are known of this F.5 accident. The difference between the colour of the fins and hull bottom and the rest of the boat is very noticeable. These boats appear to have had the hull doped/painted white.
C.Owers - Hansa-Brandenburg Aircraft of WWI. Volume 3 - Monoplane Seaplanes /Centennial Perspective/ (3)
J.Herris - German Seaplane Fighters of WWI /Centennial Perspective/
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
The war over the North Sea did not get the same coverage as that on the Western Front in the pulp magazines between the wars. Here is a sketch from the story "Raiders of the North Sea" from Air Stories, Vol.4, No.4, April 1937, depicting combat between a dazzle painted Felixstowe boat and Brandenburg monoplanes. The W.29 floatplanes bear the intermediate straight cross national insignia as seen on many and are lining up to attack from astern. The Felixstowe boats would dive for the surface of the sea in order to prevent the enemy from attacking from below where they had poor defence.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Experimental Flying Boat Hull (Porte II)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Hull Comparison of RNAS Flying Boats
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Drawings of some of the Gosport designs.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Sketches from F.2A Rigging Notes
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Sketches from F.3 Rigging Notes
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Sketches from F.2A Rigging Notes
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Sketch from F.2A & F.3 Rigging Notes
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Sketches from F.5 Rigging Notes
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Details of Felixstowe Hull Design.
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.2A
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
From the Rigging Manual for the F.2A and F.3
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.3
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
From the Rigging Manual for the F.2A and F.3
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
From the F.5 Rigging Notes
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.2 /Centennial Perspective/ (2)
Felixstowe F.5
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
Felixstowe F.2a
O.Thetford - British Naval Aircraft since 1912 /Putnam/
Felixstowe F.3
O.Thetford - Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 /Putnam/
Felixstowe F.5
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919 /Jane's/
Type F3 boat - seaplane
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Felixstowe F.3
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Felixstowe F.3
C.Owers - The Fighting America Flying Boats of WWI Vol.1 /Centennial Perspective/ (1)
Felixstowe F.3