WWI Flying Boats, Great and Small

Discussion in 'World War I' started by oldcrowcv63, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #1 oldcrowcv63, Sep 16, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
    A WW2 forum thread with a discussion on WWI flying boats, it was stated that the friedrichshafen flying boats represented the state of the art. That was a surprise for me because I thought that honor belonged to Curtiss (with a great deal of help from the Royal Navy) and its Curtiss Felixstowe H-16 series as the culmination of 5 years of development starting with its large 1914 Flying boat America

    H-12A series (478 produced)

    World War One Sea Plane: American Flying Boats: 1914-1918

    wing area: 113 m[SUP]2[/SUP]
    Wing span: 28.3 m.
    length: 14.2 m
    empty wt: 3,600 kg
    Loaded: 5,550 kg
    max speed 85 knots
    endurance: 6 hours
    ceiling: 3,300 m.
    crew 4
    armament: 4x.303 lmg
    bombs/depth charges: ~200 kg
     

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  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Possibly because this type (H-12A) was no longer needed after the close of the war...
     
  4. woljags

    woljags Active Member

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    the curtiss H12 large america flying boats were supplied to the royal navy in 1917,these american planes were excellent flyers but it was found that the hull was structurally weak,a more efficient and seaworthy hull was designed by squadron commander john porte at the rnas at felixstowe and fitted to the H.12 wings,the aircraft was renamed the Felixstowe F.2A,these aircraft could patrol over the north sea for up to 9hrs although it had a weak fuel system often leading the crews to have to land at sea for repairs,in 1918 due to some losses by allied forces they were painted in an eye-catching dazzle paint scheme in a red and white checkers pattern,they remained in service after the war and were replaced by R.J.Mitchells supermarine southampton
     
  5. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #5 oldcrowcv63, Sep 16, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012

    There were so many built I believe there was some disposing of war surplus. This model also evolved during the war into the much more capable and even bigger Curtiss H-16 and ultimately the NC-4 type (1918 ) that crossed the Atlantic in 1919. I'll check further.
     
  6. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    I am so glad I credited the RN with the evolution of this extraordinary machine (IMO for its time). Actually the roots of Brit involvement go back to its very genesis in the original America, which was to be flown across the atlantic by a mixed US and Brit crew. RNAS pilot (Porte himself) and a US flight engineer.
     
  7. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    from the same web site: The NC-4 series:

    The Curtiss NC (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.

    Manufacture of the "NCs" began in 1918 during World War I. The U.S. Navy wished for an aircraft capable of long ocean flights, both for Anti-submarine warfare patrol, and if possible with capability to fly across the Atlantic Ocean under their own power to avoid having to be shipped through ocean waters menaced by German submarines. This was very ambitious given the state of aviation at the time.
    [Read more]

    The Navy and Curtiss came up with one of the largest biplane designs yet produced, equipped with sleeping quarters and a wireless transmitter/receiver. It was originally powered by three V12 Liberty engines, of 400 hp (298 kW) each; during the testing phase a fourth engine was added, arranged as three tractors and one pusher. Maximum speed was 90 mph (144 km/h) the estimated maximum range was 1,500 mi (2,400 km).

    On 4 October 1918, the first of these planes, the NC-1, made its first test flight with the early three-engine configuration. On 25 November, it flew again, with a world record 51 people on board. Armistice Day, signaling the end of the war in Europe, came before testing of the first NC and construction of the other three of the Navy's initial order had been completed.

    The other three NCs, NC-1, NC-3, and NC-4, set out on what was intended as the first demonstration of transatlantic flight, via Newfoundland and the Azores, on 8 May 1919, with Marc Mitscher in the NC-1 in command. The group encountered severe weather off the Azores, and only the NC-4 made it through. The crew of NC-1 was rescued at sea and attempts to tow the aircraft to the Azores failed; NC-3 was forced to land some 205 mi (330 km) distance from the Azores, but the crew, led by Commander John Henry Towers, managed to sail her to Ponta Delgada unaided.

    The Navy had two more sets of NCs constructed, numbered NC-5 through NC-8, and NC-9 and NC-10, through 1921.
    [Close]

    I feel a particular connection and affection for this aircraft as I participated in the reenactment of the transatlantic flight on the 75th anniversary of US Naval aviation. We flew a crew of journalist passengers to the Azores for the final leg of the PBYs reenacting the crossing. One of them was Marty Caidin.. was that ever a trip and I don't mean trip as in "voyage". It was more like "my weekend on acid" except I never indulged in any hallucinogens. I didn't need to, I spent time with Marty Caidin.
     
  8. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    #8 nuuumannn, Sep 17, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2012
    Nice little summary there woljags, without a doubt the Curtiss H.12/Felixtowe F.2A were the most successful flying boats of the Great War. Both had enviable combat records, responsible for the destruction of a number of U-boats, airships and seaplane fighters. The Curtiss H.4 was also worth a mention because of the role it played in evolving a better planing bottom for the H.12 by John Porte, the RNAS Felixtowe station commander. This work resulted in the F.2 and F.2A, which was, without a doubt the best big Great War flying boat - the Curtiss was hampered by its poor planing bottom, despite its success in its maritime patrol role. It was the first used in the Spider Web patrol network, which sectioned the patrol area in a spider's web from a fixed point of departure; this was quite successful at deterring enemy submarines.

    These machines, despite their size and weight could be thrown about as if they were smaller and lighter machines and engaged enemy seaplane fighters with some success. On 4 June 1918, four F.2As and one H.12 were on patrol out of Great Yarmouth and Felixtowe when they were engaged by no less than 14 seaplane fighters. In the ensuing scrap, six of the german aircraft were shot down without loss to the flying boats, although one was forced down due to a fuel blockage. Quite remarkable.

    As for the brevity of their service, the F.2A was intended on being replaced by the F.3, which was less successful, being able to carry a heavier load, but was slower and less manoeuvrable. With the scaling down of operations after the Armistice, the RAF had its wings clipped considerably by post war cutbacks and since the U-boat threat no longer existed, the maritime patrol squadrons were reduced in number, also more advanced types were scheduled to replace the war time designs, such as the Supermarine Swampton. It has to be remembered that the Germans only launched unrestricted submarine warfare against Allied shipping in February 1917; public opinion to the loss of the Lusitania a year or so earlier caused the Germans to retract their original position of doing so, and so in 1917, a greater tonnage of Allied shipping was sunk than in the previous three years put together (I have figures somewhere). In 1918, the figure dropped due to increased anti-submarine measures, such as the flying boats and non-rigid airships (well suited for the role), as well as the belated introduction of the convoy system, which wasn't brought on line until mid 1918.
     
  9. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    A remarkable man. He even has a credit for piloting the only Felixtowe F.2C when it took part, along with two other 'boats in the destruction of UC 1 on 24 July 1917 by bombing.
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I know it's not a grand flying boat, but I always liked the Albatros W.4
     
  11. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Yep, I can see why, a smart looking machine.
     
  12. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    An unsung contributor to the design of flying boat hulls was a chap that few (in aviation circles anyways) have heard of; Linton Hope. He was a racing yacht builder and designed a flying boat hull that was readily employed on a number of Great War and post-war 'boats, the most notable being the Supermarine Southampton.

    The last surviving Linton Hope hull:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Prior to 1919 the Hapsburgs were a regional naval power and had a modest size merchant marine. They even had an armored cruiser on station in the vicinity of China. WWI Austria-Hungary had a pretty good naval air force.


    Lohner L.
    More then 100 built from 1915 onward.
    Italy liked the design so well they copied a captured aircraft as the Macchi L.1.
    Lohner_L-40-300px.png


    Hansa-Brandenburg W.18
    47 built for KuK Marine Sep 1917 - May 1918.
    1 built for Kaiserliche Marine, which is shown in this picture.
    Hansa-Brandenburg_W18-Austria-300px.png
     
  14. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    They did indeed Dave, the KuK Kriegsmarine produced one ace, Gottfried von Banfield with 11 (unconfirmed) victories - these being so bercause confirmation flying seaplanes over unfrequented patches of water was difficult. The Lohner seaplane family was quite broad and extensive, producing good seaplane fighters throughout the entirety of WW1. One of von Banfield's 'boats, a Lohner Type E (E18 ) served almost the entire war, being delivered in May 1914 and wrecked in May 1918. Probably the best of the KuK K 'boats was the Hansa Brandenburn CC or KDW with its characteristic spider wing bracing struts.
     
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