A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water, that usually has no type of landing gear to allow operation on land. It differs from a floatplane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections (called sponsons) from the fuselage. Flying boats were some of the largest aircraft of the first half of the 20th century, exceeded in size only by bombers developed during World War II. Their advantage lay in using water instead of expensive land-based runways, making them the basis for international airlines in the interwar period. They were also commonly used for maritime patrol and air-sea rescue.
Their use gradually trailed off after World War II, partially because of the investments in airports during the war. In the 21st century, flying boats maintain a few niche uses, such as dropping water on forest fires, air transport around archipelagos, and access to undeveloped areas. Many modern seaplane variants, whether float or flying boat types, are convertible amphibious aircraft where either landing gear or flotation modes may be used to land and take off.
The Frenchman Alphonse Pénaud filed the first patent for a flying machine with a boat hull and retractable landing gear in 1876, but Austrian Wilhelm Kress is credited with building the first seaplane Drachenflieger in 1898, although its two 30 hp Daimler engines were inadequate for take-off and it later sank when one of its two floats collapsed.
On 6 June 1905 Gabriel Voisin took off and landed on the River Seine with a towed kite glider on floats. The first of his unpowered flights was 150 yards. He later built a powered floatplane in partnership with Louis Blériot, but the machine was unsuccessful.
Other pioneers also attempted to attach floats to aircraft in Britain, Australia, France and the USA.
On 28 March 1910 Frenchman Henri Fabre successfully flew the first successful powered seaplane, the Gnome Omega-powered hydravion, a trimaran floatplane. Fabre's first successful take off and landing by a powered seaplane inspired other aviators and he designed floats for several other flyers. The first hydro-aeroplane competition was held in Monaco in March 1912, featuring aircraft using floats from Fabre, Curtiss, Tellier and Farman. This led to the first scheduled seaplane passenger services at Aix-les-Bains, using a five-seat Sanchez-Besa from 1 August 1912. The French Navy ordered its first floatplane in 1912.
In 1911–12 François Denhaut constructed the first seaplane with a fuselage forming a hull, using various designs to give hydrodynamic lift at take-off. Its first successful flight was on 13 April 1912. Throughout 1910 and 1911 American pioneering aviator Glenn Curtiss developed his floatplane into the successful Curtiss Model D land-plane, which used a larger central float and sponsons. Combining floats with wheels, he made the first amphibian flights in February 1911 and was awarded the first Collier Trophy for US flight achievement. From 1912 his experiments with a hulled seaplane resulted in the 1913 Model E and Model F, which he called "flying-boats".
In Britain, Captain Edward Wakefield and Oscar Gnosspelius began to explore the feasibility of flight from water in 1908. They decided to make use of Windermere in the Lake District, England's largest lake. The latter's first attempts to fly attracted large crowds, though the aircraft failed to take off and required a re-design of the floats incorporating features of Borwick's successful speed-boat hulls. Meanwhile, Wakefield ordered a floatplane similar to the design of the 1910 Fabre Hydravion. By November 1911, both Gnosspelius and Wakefield had aircraft capable of flight from water and awaited suitable weather conditions. Gnosspelius's flight was short-lived as the aircraft crashed into the lake. Wakefield's pilot however, taking advantage of a light northerly wind, successfully took off and flew at a height of 50 feet to Ferry Nab, where he made a wide turn and returned for a perfect landing on the lake's surface.
In Switzerland, Emile Taddéoli equipped the Dufaux 4 biplane with swimmers and successfully took off in 1912. A seaplane was used during the Balkan Wars in 1913, when a Greek "Astra Hydravion" did a reconnaissance of the Turkish fleet and dropped 4 bombs.
In 1913, the Daily Mail newspaper put up a £10,000 prize for the first non-stop aerial crossing of the Atlantic which was soon "enhanced by a further sum" from the Women's Aerial League of Great Britain.
American businessman Rodman Wanamaker became determined that the prize should go to an American aircraft and commissioned the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company to design and build an aircraft capable of making the flight. Curtiss' development of the Flying Fish flying boat in 1913 brought him into contact with John Cyril Porte, a retired Royal Navy Lieutenant, aircraft designer and test pilot who was to become an influential British aviation pioneer. Recognising that many of the early accidents were attributable to a poor understanding of handling while in contact with the water, the pair's efforts went into developing practical hull designs to make the transatlantic crossing possible.
At the same time the British boat building firm J. Samuel White of Cowes on the Isle of Wight set up a new aircraft division and produced a flying boat in the United Kingdom. This was displayed at the London Air Show at Olympia in 1913. In that same year, a collaboration between the S. E. Saunders boatyard of East Cowes and the Sopwith Aviation Company produced the "Bat Boat", an aircraft with a consuta laminated hull that could operate from land or on water, which today we call an amphibious aircraft. The "Bat Boat" completed several landings on sea and on land and was duly awarded the Mortimer Singer Prize. It was the first all-British aeroplane capable of making six return flights over five miles within five hours.
In the U.S. Wanamaker's commission built on Glen Curtiss' previous development and experience with the Model F for the U.S. Navy which rapidly resulted in the America, designed under Porte's supervision following his study and rearrangement of the flight plan; the aircraft was a conventional biplane design with two-bay, unstaggered wings of unequal span with two pusher inline engines mounted side-by-side above the fuselage in the interplane gap. Wingtip pontoons were attached directly below the lower wings near their tips. The design (later developed into the Model H), resembled Curtiss' earlier flying boats, but was built considerably larger so it could carry enough fuel to cover 1,100 mi (1,800 km). The three crew members were accommodated in a fully enclosed cabin.
Trials of the America began 23 June 1914 with Porte also as Chief Test Pilot; testing soon revealed serious shortcomings in the design; it was under-powered, so the engines were replaced with more powerful engines mounted in a tractor configuration. There was also a tendency for the nose of the aircraft to try to submerge as engine power increased while taxiing on water. This phenomenon had not been encountered before, since Curtiss' earlier designs had not used such powerful engines nor large fuel/cargo loads and so were relatively more buoyant. In order to counteract this effect, Curtiss fitted fins to the sides of the bow to add hydrodynamic lift, but soon replaced these with sponsons, a type of underwater pontoon mounted in pairs on either side of a hull. These sponsons (or their engineering equivalents) and the flared, notched hull would remain a prominent feature of flying boat hull design in the decades to follow. With the problem resolved, preparations for the crossing resumed. While the craft was found to handle "heavily" on takeoff, and required rather longer take-off distances than expected, the full moon on 5 August 1914 was selected for the trans-Atlantic flight; Porte was to pilot the America with George Hallett as co-pilot and mechanic.
Curtiss and Porte's plans were interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. Porte sailed for England on 4 August 1914 and rejoined the Navy, as a member of the Royal Naval Air Service. Appointed Squadron Commander of Royal Navy Air Station Hendon, he soon convinced the Admiralty of the potential of flying boats and was put in charge of the naval air station at Felixstowe in 1915. Porte persuaded the Admiralty to commandeer (and later, purchase) the America and a sister craft from Curtiss. This was followed by an order for 12 more similar aircraft, one Model H-2 and the remaining as Model H-4's. Four examples of the latter were assembled in the UK by Saunders. All of these were similar to the design of the America and, indeed, were all referred to as Americas in Royal Navy service. The engines, however, were changed from the under-powered 160 hp Curtiss engines to 250 hp Rolls-Royce Falcon engines. The initial batch was followed by an order for 50 more (totalling 64 Americas overall during the war). Porte also acquired permission to modify and experiment with the Curtiss aircraft.
The Curtiss H-4s were soon found to have a number of problems; they were underpowered, their hulls were too weak for sustained operations and they had poor handling characteristics when afloat or taking off. One flying boat pilot, Major Theodore Douglas Hallam, wrote that they were "comic machines, weighing well under two tons; with two comic engines giving, when they functioned, 180 horsepower; and comic control, being nose heavy with engines on and tail heavy in a glide."
At Felixstowe, Porte made advances in flying boat design and developed a practical hull design with the distinctive "Felixstowe notch". Porte's first design to be implemented in Felixstowe was the Felixstowe Porte Baby, a large, three-engined biplane flying-boat, powered by one central pusher and two outboard tractor Rolls-Royce Eagle engines.
Porte modified an H-4 with a new hull whose improved hydrodynamic qualities made taxiing, take-off and landing much more practical, and called it the Felixstowe F.1.
Porte's innovation of the "Felixstowe notch" enabled the craft to overcome suction from the water more quickly and break free for flight much more easily. This made operating the craft far safer and more reliable. The "notch" breakthrough would soon after evolve into a "step", with the rear section of the lower hull sharply recessed above the forward lower hull section, and that characteristic became a feature of both flying boat hulls and seaplane floats. The resulting aircraft would be large enough to carry sufficient fuel to fly long distances and could berth alongside ships to take on more fuel.
Porte then designed a similar hull for the larger Curtiss H-12 flying boat which, while larger and more capable than the H-4s, shared failings of a weak hull and poor water handling. The combination of the new Porte-designed hull, this time fitted with two steps, with the wings of the H-12 and a new tail, and powered by two Rolls-Royce Eagle engines, was named the Felixstowe F.2 and first flew in July 1916, proving greatly superior to the Curtiss on which it was based. It was used as the basis for all future designs. It entered production as the Felixstowe F.2A, being used as a patrol aircraft, with about 100 being completed by the end of World War I. Another seventy were built, and these were followed by two F.2c, which were built at Felixstowe.
In February 1917, the first prototype of the Felixstowe F.3 was flown. It was larger and heavier than the F.2, giving it greater range and heavier bomb load, but poorer agility. Approximately 100 Felixstowe F.3s were produced before the end of the war.
The Felixstowe F.5 was intended to combine the good qualities of the F.2 and F.3, with the prototype first flying in May 1918. The prototype showed superior qualities to its predecessors but, to ease production, the production version was modified to make extensive use of components from the F.3, which resulted in lower performance than the F.2A or F.3.
F.2, F.3, and F.5 flying boats were extensively employed by the Royal Navy for coastal patrols, and to search for German U-boats. In 1918 they were towed on lighters towards the northern German ports to extend their range; on 4 June 1918 this resulted in three F.2As engaging in a dogfight with ten German seaplanes, shooting down two confirmed and four probables at no loss. As a result of this action, British flying boats were dazzle-painted to aid identification in combat.
The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company independently developed its designs into the small Model "F", the larger Model "K" (several of which were sold to the Russian Naval Air Service), and the Model "C" for the U.S. Navy. Curtiss among others also built the Felixstowe F.5 as the Curtiss F5L, based on the final Porte hull designs and powered by American Liberty engines.
Meanwhile, the pioneering flying boat designs of François Denhaut had been steadily developed by the Franco-British Aviation Company into a range of practical craft. Smaller than the Felixstowes, several thousand FBAs served with almost all of the Allied forces as reconnaissance craft, patrolling the North Sea, Atlantic and Mediterranean oceans.
In Italy several seaplanes were developed, starting with the L series, and progressing with the M series. The Macchi M.5 in particular was extremely manoeuvrable and agile and matched the land-based aircraft it had to fight. 244 were built in total. Towards the end of World War I, the aircraft were flown by the Italian Navy Aviation, the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps airmen. Ensign Charles Hammann won the first Medal of Honor awarded to a United States naval aviator in an M.5
The Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company built some of the biggest sea planes of the time in Keyport, New Jersey. Mr.Uppercu built the factory on a 66-acre site in 1917 and Built the Aeromarine 75 and Aeromarine AMC flying Boats which with Aeromarine West Indies Airways flew Air Mail to Florida, Bahamas, and Cuba along with being passenger carriers.
The German aircraft manufacturing company Hansa-Brandenburg built flying boats starting with the model Hansa-Brandenburg GW in 1916. The Austro-Hungarian firm, Lohner-Werke began building flying boats, starting with the Lohner E in 1914 and the later (1915) influential Lohner L version.
A Curtiss NC-4 became the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1919, crossing via the Azores. Of the four that made the attempt, only one completed the flight. Before the development of highly reliable aircraft, the ability to land on water was a desirable safety feature for transoceanic travel.
In 1923, the first successful commercial flying boat service was introduced with flights to and from the Channel Islands. The British aviation industry was experiencing rapid growth. The Government decided that nationalization was necessary and ordered five aviation companies to merge to form the state-owned Imperial Airways of London (IAL). IAL became the international flag-carrying British airline, providing flying boat passenger and mail transport links between Britain and South Africa using aircraft such as the Short S.8 Calcutta.
In 1928, four Supermarine Southampton flying boats of the RAF Far East flight arrived in Melbourne, Australia. The flight was considered proof that flying boats had evolved to become reliable means of long distance transport.
In the 1930s, flying boats made it possible to have regular air transport between the U.S. and Europe, opening up new air travel routes to South America, Africa, and Asia. Foynes, Ireland and Botwood, Newfoundland and Labrador were the termini for many early transatlantic flights. In areas where there were no airfields for land-based aircraft, flying boats could stop at small island, river, lake or coastal stations to refuel and resupply. The Pan Am Boeing 314 "Clipper" planes brought exotic destinations like the Far East within reach of air travelers and came to represent the romance of flight.
By 1931, mail from Australia was reaching Britain in just 16 days – less than half the time taken by sea. In that year, government tenders on both sides of the world invited applications to run new passenger and mail services between the ends of the British Empire, and Qantas and IAL were successful with a joint bid. A company under combined ownership was then formed, Qantas Empire Airways. The new ten-day service between Rose Bay, New South Wales (near Sydney) and Southampton was such a success with letter-writers that before long the volume of mail was exceeding aircraft storage space.
A solution to the problem was found by the British government, who in 1933 had requested aviation manufacturer Short Brothers to design a big new long-range monoplane for use by IAL. Partner Qantas agreed to the initiative and undertook to purchase six of the new Short S23 "C" class or "Empire" flying boats.
Delivering the mail as quickly as possible generated a lot of competition and some innovative designs. One variant of the Short Empire flying boats was the strange-looking "Maia and Mercury". It was a four-engined floatplane "Mercury" (the winged messenger) fixed on top of "Maia", a heavily modified Short Empire flying boat. The larger Maia took off, carrying the smaller Mercury loaded to a weight greater than it could take off with. This allowed the Mercury to carry sufficient fuel for a direct trans-Atlantic flight with the mail. Unfortunately this was of limited usefulness, and the Mercury had to be returned from America by ship. The Mercury did set a number of distance records before in-flight refuelling was adopted.
Sir Alan Cobham devised a method of in-flight refuelling in the 1930s. In the air, the Short Empire could be loaded with more fuel than it could take off with. Short Empire flying boats serving the trans-Atlantic crossing were refueled over Foynes; with the extra fuel load, they could make a direct trans-Atlantic flight. A Handley Page H.P.54 Harrow was used as the fuel tanker.
The German Dornier Do X flying boat was noticeably different from its UK and U.S.-built counterparts. It had wing-like protrusions from the fuselage, called sponsons, to stabilize it on the water without the need for wing-mounted outboard floats. This feature was pioneered by Claudius Dornier during World War I on his Dornier Rs. I giant flying boat, and perfected on the Dornier Wal in 1924. The enormous Do X was powered by 12 engines and once carried 170 persons as a publicity stunt. It flew to America in 1930–31, crossing the Atlantic via an indirect route over 9 months. It was the largest flying boat of its time, but was severely underpowered and was limited by a very low operational ceiling. Only three were built, with a variety of different engines installed, in an attempt to overcome the lack of power. Two of these were sold to Italy.
The Dornier Wal was "easily the greatest commercial success in the history of marine aviation". Over 250 were built in Italy, Spain, Japan, The Netherlands and Germany. Numerous airlines operated the Dornier Wal on scheduled passenger and mail services. Wals were used by explorers, for a number of pioneering flights, and by the military in many countries. Though having first flown in 1922, from 1934 to 1938 Wals operated the over-water sectors of the Deutsche Luft Hansa South Atlantic Airmail service.
The military value of flying boats was well-recognized, and every country bordering on water operated them in a military capacity at the outbreak of the war. They were utilized in various tasks from anti-submarine patrol to air-sea rescue and gunfire spotting for battleships. Aircraft such as the PBM Mariner patrol bomber, PBY Catalina, Short Sunderland, and Grumman Goose recovered downed airmen and operated as scout aircraft over the vast distances of the Pacific Theater and the Atlantic. They also sank numerous submarines and found enemy ships. In May 1941 the German battleship Bismarck was discovered by a PBY Catalina flying out of Castle Archdale Flying boat base, Lower Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.
In November 1939, IAL was restructured into three separate companies: British European Airways, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), and British South American Airways (which merged with BOAC in 1949), with the change being made official on 1 April 1940. BOAC continued to operate flying boat services from the (slightly) safer confines of Poole Harbour during wartime, returning to Southampton in 1947. When Italy entered the war in June 1940, the Mediterranean was closed to allied planes and BOAC and Qantas operated the Horseshoe Route between Durban and Sydney using Short Empire flying boats.
The Martin Company produced the prototype XPB2M Mars based on their PBM Mariner patrol bomber, with flight tests between 1941 and 1943. The Mars was converted by the Navy into a transport aircraft designated the XPB2M-1R. Satisfied with the performance, 20 of the modified JRM-1 Mars were ordered. The first, named Hawaii Mars, was delivered in June 1945, but the Navy scaled back their order at the end of World War II, buying only the five aircraft which were then on the production line. The five Mars were completed, and the last delivered in 1947.
After World War II the use of flying boats rapidly declined for several reasons. The ability to land on water became less of an advantage owing to the considerable increase in the number and length of land based runways during World War II. Further, as the reliability, speed, and range of land-based aircraft increased, the commercial competitiveness of flying boats diminished; their design compromised aerodynamic efficiency and speed to accomplish the feat of waterborne takeoff and landing. Competing with new civilian jet aircraft like the de Havilland Comet and Boeing 707 proved impossible.
The Hughes H-4 Hercules, in development in the U.S. during the war, was even larger than the BV 238 but it did not fly until 1947. The Spruce Goose, as the 180-ton H-4 was nicknamed, was the largest flying boat ever to fly. Carried out during Senate hearings into Hughes use of government funds on its construction, the short hop of about a mile at 70 ft above the water by the "Flying Lumberyard" was claimed by Hughes as vindication of his efforts. Cutbacks in expenditure after the war and the disappearance of its intended mission as a transatlantic transport left it no purpose.
In 1944, the Royal Air Force began development of a small jet-powered flying boat that it intended to use as an air defence aircraft optimised for the Pacific, where the relatively calm sea conditions made the use of seaplanes easier. By making the aircraft jet powered, it was possible to design it with a hull rather than making it a floatplane. The Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 prototype first flew in 1947 and was relatively successful in terms of its performance and handling. However, by the end of the war, carrier based aircraft were becoming more sophisticated, and the need for the SR.A/1 evaporated.
During the Berlin Airlift (which lasted from June 1948 until August 1949) 10 Sunderlands and two Hythes were used to transport goods from Finkenwerder on the Elbe near Hamburg to isolated Berlin, landing on the Havelsee beside RAF Gatow until it iced over. The Sunderlands were particularly used for transporting salt, as their airframes were already protected against corrosion from seawater. Transporting salt in standard aircraft risked rapid and severe structural corrosion in the event of a spillage. In addition, three Aquila Airways flying boats were used during the airlift. This is the only known operational use of flying boats within central Europe.
BOAC ceased flying boat services out of Southampton in November 1950.
Bucking the trend, in 1948 Aquila Airways was founded to serve destinations that were still inaccessible to land-based aircraft. This company operated Short S.25 and Short S.45 flying boats out of Southampton on routes to Madeira, Las Palmas, Lisbon, Jersey, Majorca, Marseille, Capri, Genoa, Montreux and Santa Margherita. From 1950 to 1957, Aquila also operated a service from Southampton to Edinburgh and Glasgow. The flying boats of Aquila Airways were also chartered for one-off trips, usually to deploy troops where scheduled services did not exist or where there were political considerations. The longest charter, in 1952, was from Southampton to the Falkland Islands. In 1953 the flying boats were chartered for troop deployment trips to Freetown and Lagos and there was a special trip from Hull to Helsinki to relocate a ship's crew. The airline ceased operations on 30 September 1958.
The technically advanced Saunders-Roe Princess first flew in 1952 and later received a certificate of airworthiness. Despite being the pinnacle of flying boat development none were sold, though Aquila Airways reportedly attempted to buy them. Of the three Princesses that were built, two never flew, and all were scrapped in 1967.
The shape of the Short Empire, a British flying boat of the 1930s was a harbinger of the shape of 20th century aircraft yet to come. Today, however, true flying boats have largely been replaced by seaplanes with floats and amphibious aircraft with wheels. The Beriev Be-200 twin-jet amphibious aircraft has been one of the closest "living" descendants of the earlier flying boats, along with the larger amphibious planes used for fighting forest fires. There are also several experimental/kit amphibians such as the Volmer Sportsman, Quikkit Glass Goose, Airmax Sea Max, Aeroprakt A-24, and Seawind 300C.
Dornier announced plans in May 2010 to build CD2 SeaStar composite flying boats in Quebec, Canada.
The ICON A5 is an amphibious aircraft in the light-sport class. The Progressive Aerodyne Searey is an amphibious aircraft in the light-sport class, available as a kit built experimental or factory built aircraft
Aermacchi was an Italian aircraft manufacturer. Formerly known as Aeronautica Macchi, the company was founded in 1912 by Giulio Macchi at Varese in north-western Lombardy as Nieuport-Macchi, to build Nieuport monoplanes under licence for the Italian military. With a factory located on the shores of Lake Varese, the firm originally manufactured a series of Nieuport designs, as well as seaplanes.
After World War II, the company began producing motorcycles as a way to fill the post-war need for cheap, efficient transportation.
The company later specialised in civil and military pilot training aircraft. In July 2003, Aermacchi was integrated into the Finmeccanica Group (now Leonardo) as Alenia Aermacchi, which increased its shareholding to 99%.Consolidated P2Y
The Consolidated P2Y was an American flying boat maritime patrol aircraft. The plane was a parasol monoplane with a fabric-covered wing and aluminum hull.Consolidated PBY Catalina
The Consolidated PBY Catalina, also known as the Canso in Canadian service, is an American flying boat, and later an amphibious aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was one of the most widely used seaplanes of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other nations.
During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escort, search and rescue missions (especially air-sea rescue), and cargo transport. The PBY was the most numerous aircraft of its kind, and the last military PBYs served until the 1980s. As of 2014, nearly 80 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as a waterbomber (or airtanker) in aerial firefighting operations in some parts of the world.Curtiss NC
The Curtiss NC (Curtiss Navy Curtiss, nicknamed "Nancy boat" or "Nancy") was a flying boat built by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and used by the United States Navy from 1918 through the early 1920s. Ten of these aircraft were built, the most famous of which is the NC-4, the first airplane to make a transatlantic flight. The NC-4 is preserved in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, at NAS Pensacola, Florida.Hughes H-4 Hercules
The Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the Spruce Goose; registration NX37602) is a prototype strategic airlift flying boat designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft Company. Intended as a transatlantic flight transport for use during World War II, it was not completed in time to be used in the war. The aircraft made only one brief flight on November 2, 1947, and the project never advanced beyond the single example produced. Built from wood because of wartime restrictions on the use of aluminum and concerns about weight, it was nicknamed by critics the Spruce Goose, although it was made almost entirely of birch. The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built, and it had the largest wingspan of any aircraft that had ever flown until the Scaled Composites Stratolaunch first flew on April 13, 2019. The aircraft remains in good condition. After being displayed to the public in Long Beach, California from 1980 to 1991, it is now on display at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, United States.Kawanishi H3K
The Kawanishi H3K, also known as Navy Type 90-2 Flying Boat (九〇式二号飛行艇), was a Japanese biplane military flying boat from the interwar period. The H3K was a development of the Short S.8/8 Rangoon. The first of the H3Ks was built by Short Brothers and the remaining four by Kawanishi in Japan.Kawanishi H6K
The Kawanishi H6K was an Imperial Japanese Navy flying boat produced by the Kawanishi Aircraft Company and used during World War II for maritime patrol duties. The Allied reporting name for the type was Mavis; the Navy designation was "Type 97 Large Flying Boat" (九七式大型飛行艇).Kawanishi H8K
The Kawanishi H8K (二式飛行艇, Nishiki Hikōtei, Type 2 Flying Boat. Commonly called as 二式大型飛行艇 Nishiki Ōgata Hikōtei, 二式大艇 Nishiki Daitei or Nishiki Taitei, Type 2 Large-sized Flying Boat) is a flying boat used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during World War II for maritime patrol duties. The Allied reporting name for the type was "Emily".
The Kawanishi H8K was a large, four-engine aircraft designed for long range and extended endurance on patrols or bombing missions typically flown alone over the ocean. The prototype first flew in January 1941 and H8K1s made their first combat sortie in March 1942. The robust H8K2 "Emily" flying boat was also fitted with powerful defensive armament, which Allied pilots had substantial respect for wherever this aircraft was encountered in the Pacific theater. The H8K was called by aircraft historian René Francillon "the most outstanding water-based combat aircraft of the second World War."List of Interwar military aircraft
Interwar military aircraft are military aircraft that were developed and used between World War I and World War II, also known as the Golden Age of Aviation.
For the purposes of this list this is defined as aircraft that entered service into any country's military after the armistice on 11 November 1918 and before the Invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939.
Aircraft are listed alphabetically by their country of origin. Civilian aircraft modified for military use are included but those that remained primarily civilian aircraft are not.List of Royal Air Force aircraft independent flights
This is a list of Royal Air Force independent Flights. An independent Flight is a military administrative structure which is used to command flying units where the number of aircraft is not large enough to warrant a fully fledged squadron.List of aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy
The following is the List of aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, both past and present.List of bomber aircraft
The following is a list of bomber airplanes and does not include bomber airships, organized by era and manufacturer. A bomber is a military aircraft designed to attack ground or sea targets.List of civil aircraft
List of civil aircraft is a list of articles on civilian aircraft with descriptions, which excludes aircraft operated by military organizations in civil markings, warbirds, warbirds used for racing, replica warbirds and research aircraft.List of seaplanes and amphibious aircraft
The following is a list of seaplanes and amphibious aircraft, which includes floatplanes and flying boats, by country of origin.
Seaplanes are any aircraft that has the capability of landing on water while amphibious aircraft are equipped with wheels to alight on land, as well as being able to land on the water. Flying boats rely on the fuselage or hull for buoyancy, while floatplanes rely on external pontoons or floats. Some experimental aircraft used specially designed skis to skim across the water but did not always have a corresponding ability to float.
This list does not include ekranoplans, 'Wing-In-Ground-effect' (WIG), water-skimmers, wingships or similar vehicles reliant on ground effect.RAAF Base Rathmines
RAAF Base Rathmines is a heritage-listed former RAAF WWII seaplane base and now used as community venues, sports venues and a visitor attraction at Dorrington Road, Rathmines, City of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. It was in use as an RAAF base from 1939 to 1961. It is also known as Rathmines Park, former RAAF Seaplane Base, Flying Boat Base, Rathmines Aerodrome and Catalina Base. The property is owned by Australian Christadelphian Bible School, Disability Life Enrichment, Don Geddes Nursing Home and Lake Macquarie City Council. The remains of the former air base was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 25 November 2005.RAAF Base Rathmines was established in 1939 and was the RAAF's main flying boat base during World War II and the early 1950s. During World War II aircraft based at Rathmines conducted anti-submarine patrols along the Australian east coast and the base was home to the RAAF's main seaplane training units. In addition, detachments from Squadrons based at Rathmines flew numerous offensive mine laying missions into Japanese-held territory (due to Rathmines' distance from the front line, these aircraft staged through bases in Northern Australia when travelling to and from their targets). Rathmines was also the RAAF Maritime Section's main training base.Seaplane
A seaplane is a powered fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing (alighting) on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are in a subclass called amphibious aircraft. Seaplanes and amphibians are usually divided into two categories based on their technological characteristics: floatplanes and flying boats; the latter are generally far larger and can carry far more. These aircraft were sometimes called hydroplanes, but currently this term applies instead to motor-powered watercraft that use the technique of hydrodynamic lift to skim the surface of water when running at speed.Their use gradually tailed off after World War II, partially because of the investments in airports during the war. In the 21st century, seaplanes maintain a few niche uses, such as for dropping water on forest fires, air transport around archipelagos, and access to undeveloped or roadless areas, some of which have numerous lakes.Short Empire
The Short Empire was a medium-range four-engined monoplane flying boat, designed and developed by Short Brothers during the 1930s to meet the requirements of the growing commercial airline sector, with a particular emphasis upon its usefulness upon the then-core routes that served the United Kingdom. It was developed and manufactured in parallel with the Short Sunderland maritime patrol bomber, which went on to serve in the Second World War; a further derivative that was later developed was the piggy-back Short Mayo Composite.
The development of the Short Empire had been heavily influenced by its primary customer, Imperial Airways, who had originally developed the requirements to which it was initially ordered and designed from. Imperial Airways, and its successor, the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), along with Qantas and TEAL, operated the type in commercial service. Upon entering service, the Empire routinely flew between the British mainland and Australia and the various British colonies in Africa and Asia, typically carrying a combination of passenger and mail cargoes; the Empires were also used on various other routes, such as on the service between Bermuda and New York City.
The Empire also saw military service during the Second World War. The Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), and briefly the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) used the type to conduct various military operations, particularly as an airborne platform for anti-submarine patrols and for general transport duties.Short Sunderland
The Short S.25 Sunderland was a British flying boat patrol bomber, developed and constructed by Short Brothers for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The aircraft took its service name from the town (latterly, city) and port of Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, North East England.
Developed in parallel with the civilian S.23 Empire flying boat, the flagship of Imperial Airways, the Sunderland was developed specifically to conform to the requirements of British Air Ministry Specification R.2/33 for a long-range patrol/reconnaissance flying boat to serve with the Royal Air Force (RAF). As designed, it served as a successor to the earlier Short Sarafand flying boat. Sharing several similarities with the S.23, it featured a more advanced aerodynamic hull and was outfitted with various offensive and defensive armaments, including machine gun turrets, bombs, aerial mines, and depth charges. The Sunderland was powered by four Bristol Pegasus XVIII radial engines and was outfitted with various detection equipment to aid combat operations, including the Leigh searchlight, the ASV Mark II and ASV Mark III radar units, and an astrodome.
The Sunderland was one of the most powerful and widely used flying boats throughout the Second World War. In addition to the RAF, the type was operated by other Allied military air wings, including the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), South African Air Force (SAAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), French Navy, Norwegian Air Force, and the Portuguese Navy. During the conflict, the type was heavily involved in Allied efforts to counter the threat posed by German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. On 17 July 1940, a RAAF Sunderland (of No. 10 Squadron) performed the type's first unassisted U-boat kill. Sunderlands also played a major role in the Mediterranean theatre, performing maritime reconnaissance flights and logistical support missions. During the evacuation of Crete, shortly after the German invasion of the island, several aircraft were used to transport troops. Numerous unarmed Sunderlands were also flown by civil operator British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), traversing routes as far afield as the Pacific Ocean.During the post-war era, use of the Sunderland throughout Europe rapidly declined, while greater numbers remained in service in the Far East, where large developed runways were less prevalent. Between mid-1950 and September 1954, several squadrons of RAF Sunderlands saw combat action during the Korean War. Around a dozen aircraft had also participated in the Berlin airlift, delivering supplies to the blockaded German city. The RAF continued to use the Sunderland in a military capacity up to 1959. In December 1960, the French Navy retired their aircraft, which were the last remaining examples in military use within the Northern Hemisphere. The type also remained in service with the RNZAF up to 1967, when they were replaced by the land-based Lockheed P-3 Orion. A number of Sunderlands were converted for use within the civil sector, where they were known as the Short Sandringham; in this configuration, the type continued in airline operation until 1974. Several examples were preserved, including a single airworthy Sunderland which has been placed on display in Florida at Fantasy of Flight.Yokosuka H5Y
The Yokosuka H5Y (short designation) or Yokosuka Navy Type 99 Flying Boat Model 11 (九九式飛行艇, 99shiki hikōtei) (long designation), given the allied code name Cherry, was an IJNAS flying boat in service from 1938.