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British Industrial History

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Seaplane Experimental Station

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The Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe was a British aircraft design unit of the early part of the 20th Century.

As the name implies, it designed seaplanes and flying boats. These were generally known by the Felixstowe name although, apart from the prototypes, these flying boats were built by aircraft manufacturers such as Short Brothers, Dick, Kerr and Co and the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co (the latter two forming part of English Electric Co in 1918-1919).

The unit at Royal Naval Air Station Felixstowe was created soon after the outbreak of WWI, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander John Cyril Porte. On his recommendation, the station was initially equipped with Curtiss flying boats. He improved their hull designs, before developing the Felixstowe flying boats from those experiments.

Many Felixstowe boats were built under licence in the USA. On formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918, the unit was renamed the Seaplane Experimental Station, Felixstowe and was disbanded in June 1919.

The base and its facilities were later used by the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment.

Designs were:

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