• Theme - Transport
  • Year - 1918
  • Location - Ipswich
  • Filmmaker - Lt Ashby


This film, showing the flight trials and testing of seaplanes, or flying boats, is a valuable record of developments in aviation history, driven by the demands of the First World War. Seaplanes and flying boats were to prove very successful against submarines and zeppelins during 1914-1918 conflict.

The film features a variety of seaplanes being put through their paces –including the Short SP, and the PV5 which demonstrates its handling abilities among moored sailing barges and other craft. A Fairey N9 takes off and lands and a seaplane with small gun turrets on the wings is brought out of a hanger.

The Seaplane Experimental Station at Felixstowe was a British aircraft design unit formed in the early part of the 20th Century to replace the station at Harwich. The unit at the Royal Naval Air Station in Felixstowe was created under the command of Lieutenant-Commander John Cyril Porte. He improved the designs of these aircraft by developing the prototypes of the Felixstowe flying boats from those experiments. These were generally known by the Felixstowe name, although these flying boats were built by aircraft manufacturers such as Short Brothers, Dick, Kerr and Co and the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Co.

On formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918, the unit was renamed the Seaplane Experimental Station. The Felixstowe Station was disbanded in June 1919.


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