Supermarine Seagull (1921)

The Supermarine Seagull was a British amphibian biplane flying boat developed from the Supermarine Seal by the Supermarine company. The Seagull was constructed of wood. The lower wing was set in the shoulder position and had two bays. The engine was mounted in a nacelle slung from the upper wing and powered a four-blade propeller in tractor configuration. The fuselage had an oval cross-section and had a planing bottom with two steps.

Seagull III Richmond 1928 AWM P02332.006.jpeg
Australian Seagull III at RAAF Base Richmond circa. 1928
Role Reconnaissance flying boat
Manufacturer Supermarine
First flight May 1921
Primary users Fleet Air Arm
Royal Australian Air Force
Number built 34
Developed from Supermarine Seal

Design and development

The prototype, which became known as the Seagull Mk I, was modified from an existing Supermarine Seal II in 1921. Only one aircraft was built. A Napier Lion II engine was fitted and there were modifications made to the nacelle.

Produced from 1922, the production aircraft, the Seagull Mk II, had a Napier Lion III engine, and these were supplied to the Air Ministry and Royal Navy. A total of 25 were built, although some of these were later modified.

The Seagull Mk III was the Australian version, built in 1925. These were similar to the Seagull II but with a Napier Lion V engine and radiators modified for tropical use. Six of these were supplied to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1926 and 1927; one other Seagull III was built for Japan.

One Seagull II was rebuilt and fitted with Handley-Page leading edge slots and twin fins and rudders in 1928. This was considered to be the Mark IV, although Supermarine never designated it as such. Three ex-service aircraft were later placed on the British Civil Register.

In 1930 work was started on a flying boat of similar size and layout but with a predominantly metal airframe, powered by a Bristol Jupiter IX engine in pusher configuration. First flown in 1933 this became known as the Seagull V and later as the Walrus.

Operational history

The type was used operationally as a fleet spotter by 440 (Fleet Reconnaissance) Flight, operating from HMS Eagle. They were superseded in 1925 by the Fairey IIId. The Seagull II was the first British aircraft to be catapult launched in 1925. The crew was normally three (Pilot, Observer, and Radio-Operator). The sole armament was a .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun.

The Australian Seagulls were operated by the No. 101 Flight RAAF; these were used to carry out a photographic survey of the Great Barrier Reef,[1] and later served on board HMAS Albatross.


 United Kingdom

Surviving aircraft

  • The Fleet Air Arm Museum owns the front hull of an unknown Seagull. It was in use until 1974 as a garden shed, and presented to the museum in exchange for a new shed. It is currently on long-term loan to Solent Sky, an air museum in Southampton.[2]
  • The Royal Air Force Museum London had a Seagull V on display in their Battle of Britain hall until October 2016 after which it was moved into storage.[3]

Specifications (Seagull II)

Data from Supermarine Aircraft since 1914 [4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three (pilot, wireless operator & observer)
  • Length: 34 ft 6 in (10.51 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 11 in (13.99 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m)
  • Wing area: 605 ft² (56.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,691 lb (1,674 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 5,462 lb (2,477 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Napier Lion II 12-cylinder water-cooled W-block piston engine, 480 hp (358 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 80 mph at sea level (70 knots, 129 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 9,000 ft (2,743 m)
  • Endurance: 3½ hours
  • climb to 3,000 ft (915 m): 6.8 min


Specifications (Seagull II)

Data from Thetford 1982, p.319

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three (pilot, wireless operator and gunner)
  • Length: 37 ft (11.28 m)
  • Wingspan: 46 ft (14.02 m)
  • Height: 14 ft (4.26 m)
  • Wing area: 593 ft² (55.11 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,897 lb (1,768 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 5,668 lb (2, 571 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Napier Lion III 12-cylinder water-cooled W-block piston engine, 450 hp (337 kW)



See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. ^ Brown 1972, p.27.
  2. ^ "Supermarine Seagull". Solent Sky. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Supermarine Seagull V". Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  4. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1987, p.81.


  • Andrews, C.F.; Morgan E.B. (1987). Supermarine Aircraft since 1914. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-800-3.
  • Brown, David. "Supermarine Walrus I & Seagull V Variants". Aircraft in Profile, Volume 11. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1972.
  • Kightly, James and Wallsgrove, Roger. Supermarine Walrus & Stranraer. Sandomierz, Poland/Redbourn, UK: Mushroom Model Publications, 2004. ISBN 83-917178-9-5.
  • Shelton, John (2008). Schneider Trophy to Spitfire – The Design Career of R.J. Mitchell (Hardback). Sparkford: Hayes Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84425-530-6.
  • Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft Since 1912. London: Putnam, 1982 (5th ed.) ISBN 0 370 30021 1

External links

Media related to Supermarine Seagull (1921) at Wikimedia Commons

List of aircraft (Su)

This is a list of aircraft in alphabetical order beginning with 'S'.

List of pusher aircraft by configuration

A pusher aircraft is a type of aircraft using propellers placed behind the engines and may be classified according to engine/propeller location and drive as well as the lifting surfaces layout (conventional or 3 surface, canard, joined wing, tailless and rotorcraft),

Some aircraft have a Push-pull configuration with both tractor and pusher engines. The list includes these even if the pusher engine is just added to a conventional layout (engines inside the wings or above the wing for example).


Supermarine was a British aircraft manufacturer that produced the Spitfire fighter plane, and a range of seaplanes and flying boats. The company had successes in the Schneider Trophy for seaplanes, with three wins in a row of 1927, 1929 and 1931.

The company was founded in 1913 as Pemberton-Billing Ltd on the River Itchen close to Woolston, Southampton, on ground previously purchased by Noel Pemberton Billing to construct motor launches. It produced a couple of prototypes using quadruplane designs to shoot down zeppelins, the Supermarine P.B.29 and the Supermarine Nighthawk. The aircraft were fitted with the recoilless Davis gun and the Nighthawk had a separate powerplant to power a searchlight.

Upon election as an MP in 1916 Pemberton-Billing sold the company to his factory manager and longtime associate Hubert Scott-Paine who renamed the company Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd. The company became famous for its successes in the Schneider Trophy for seaplanes, especially the three wins in a row of 1927, 1929 and 1931.

In 1928 Vickers-Armstrongs took over Supermarine as Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Ltd and in 1938 all Vickers-Armstrongs aviation interests were reorganised to become Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd, although Supermarine continued to design, build and trade under its own name. The phrase Vickers Supermarine was applied to the aircraft. The first Supermarine landplane design to go into production was the famous and successful Spitfire. The earlier Hawker Hurricane and the Spitfire were the mainstay of RAF Fighter Command fighter aircraft which fought off the Luftwaffe bombing raids with fighter escorts during the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. While the Hurricane was available in larger numbers and consequently played a larger role, the new Spitfire caught the popular imagination and became the aircraft associated with the battle. It went on to play a major part in the remainder of the war, in a number of variants and marks, and it was the only allied fighter aircraft to be in production through the entirety of the Second World War. Other planes from the period include the Seafire (a naval version of the Spitfire). Supermarine also developed the Spiteful and Seafang, the successors of the Spitfire and Seafire, respectively, and the Walrus flying boat. The Supermarine main works was heavily bombed in 1940. This curtailed work on their first heavy bomber design, the Supermarine B.12/36 which was replaced by the Short Stirling.

After the end of the war, the Supermarine division built the Royal Navy's first jet fighter, the Attacker, developed from the final Spitfire type. It served front line squadrons aboard aircraft carriers and RNVR squadrons at shore bases. The Attacker was followed by the more advanced Swift which served in the fighter and photo-reconnaissance roles. The last of the Supermarine aircraft was the Scimitar. In the shakeup of British aircraft manufacturing, Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) became a part of the British Aircraft Corporation and the individual manufacturing heritage names were lost.

Supermarine Seagull

Supermarine Seagull may refer to one of the following types of amphibious aircraft produced by Supermarine:

Supermarine Seagull (1921)

Supermarine Seagull V (original name for the Supermarine Walrus)

Supermarine Seagull (1948)

Supermarine Walrus

The Supermarine Walrus (originally known as the Supermarine Seagull V) was a British single-engine amphibious biplane reconnaissance aircraft designed by R. J. Mitchell and first flown in 1933. Designed for use as a fleet spotter to be catapult launched from cruisers or battleships, the Walrus was later employed in other roles, notably as a rescue aircraft for aircrew in the sea. The Walrus continued in service throughout the Second World War, with the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), Royal Air Force (RAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). It was the first British squadron-service aircraft to incorporate in one airframe a fully retractable main undercarriage, completely enclosed crew accommodation and all-metal fuselage.

Aircraft produced by Supermarine
By role
Under contract


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