Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Saunders-Roe: Princess

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Sept. 1946.
September 1950.

Note: This is a sub-section of Saunders-Roe.

The Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess was a British flying boat aircraft built by Saunders-Roe, based in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The Princess was the largest all-metal flying boat ever constructed.

The project was cancelled after having produced three examples, only one of which flew. By the mid-1950s, large, commercial flying boats were being overshadowed by land-based jet aircraft. Factors such as runway and airport improvements added to the viability of land-based aircraft, which did not have the weight and drag of the boat hulls on seaplanes nor the issues with seawater corrosion.

The project was delayed by difficulties with the Bristol Proteus engines.

G-ALUN made 47 test flights between 1952 and 1954, including two appearances at the Farnborough SBAC Show. This work was carried out under a development contract for the Ministry of Supply, the intention being that this would lead to a contract for the aircraft from the flag carrier BOAC. Although the initial contract was successful, BOAC decided instead to develop land-based routes using the jet-powered dH Comet.

The three airframes were stored against possible purchase but when an offer was made it was found that corrosion had set in; as a result they were scrapped.

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