A model of Britain’s first seaplane makes its inaugural flight 111 years later

The seaplane became vital to Britain’s war effort three years after Waterbird first flew.

An exact replica of Britain’s first seaplane took its maiden public flight in Windermere on 23rd of September. It made the same journey that original ‘Waterbird’ took 111 years ago.

Friday marked the first public flight of the seaplane in a project that has taken over 10 years to complete. The long awaited flight was conducted by pilot, Peter Kynsey, in front of a crowd of enthusiasts.

At 10.6m, the seaplane is an exact replica of the aircraft piloted by Herbert Stanley Adams in 1911, using similar materials. The seaplane was crushed during a storm just 9 months after its inaugural flight so no original plans survive. Designers attempted to create a faithful reproduction of the plane, but used a modern engine for safety.

The original seaplane was met with mixed responses. Children’s author, Beatrix Potter famously formed part of a lobby group against the seaplane’s development, describing the sound of the engine as ‘intolerable’.

Eventually the government, including Sir Winston Churchill, overruled lobbyists considering developments to the aviation industry crucial for Britain. Indeed, the seaplane revolutionised marine aviation, leading to later aircrafts used for military and supply purposes.

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Written by

Betty Henderson

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