Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Felixstowe F.5

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1926. N 177. Built by Short Brothers.

Note: This is a sub-section of Short Brothers.

The Felixstowe F.5 was a British First World War flying boat designed by Lieutenant Commander John Cyril Porte RN of the Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe.

Porte had designed a better hull for the larger Curtiss H12 flying boat, giving the Felixstowe F.2a, which was greatly superior to the original Curtiss boat. This entered production and service as a patrol aircraft. In February 1917, the first prototype of the Felixstowe F3 was flown. This was larger and heavier than the F2, giving it greater range and heavier bomb load, but poorer agility. The Felixstowe F5 was intended to combine the good qualities of the F2 and F3, with the prototype first flying in May 1918. The prototype showed superior qualities to its predecessors but the production version was modified to make extensive use of components from the F.3, in order to ease production, giving lower performance than either the F.2a or F.3.

The F5 did not enter service until after the end of World War I, but replaced the earlier Felixstowe boats (together with Curtiss flying boats) to serve as the RAF's standard flying boat until being replaced by the Supermarine Southampton in 1925.

In 1920 the Canadian Air Board sponsored a project to conduct the first ever Trans-Canada flight. The leg from Rivière du Loup to Winnipeg was flown by Lt.Col. Leckie and Maj. Hobbs in a Felixstowe F.3 to determine the feasibility of such flights for future air mail and passenger service.

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