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  • Felixstowe F.2 Flying Boat Aircraft

    The Felixstowe F.2 was a militarized British version of the American Curtiss H-12 flying boat.

     Updated: 4/22/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    In the pre-World War 1 period, Royal Navy Lt Cmdr John Porte partnered with famous American aviator Glenn Curtiss to develop a long-range "flying boat" capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean - this in response to a monetary prize offered by the Daily Mail in England for such a feat. This led to the aircraft dubbed "America" and was known in the Curtiss nomenclature as the "H-4" (Model H). However, everything changed when war came to Europe and the British involvement whisked Porte back to England to serve at the naval air base of Felixstowe. With his experience in seeing the H-4 come to fruition, he convinced the Royal Navy to adopt the aircraft as its own, which it did, in 62 examples as well as two prototype "America" airframes.

    The H-4 proved serviceable enough but it was not void of issues from a military perspective - such service introducing a level of rigors not common to commercial-minded travel. The H-4s were found to have rather weak hulls for consistently rough operations and their engines were weak in powering the large airframe - pilots were none too fond of the model and let it be known.

    Porte moved to evolve the H-4 into a more viable military-minded product and used several H-4 airframes to test various outfits and arrangements. Work begat the Felixstowe F.1 of which four were built and these aircraft involved revised Porte-designed hulls as well as 2 x Hispano-Suiza 8 series engines of 150 horsepower (each) while retaining the tail section and biplane wing of the H-4. Waterborne performance was dramatically improved and testing showcased a more sound design than before.

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    Felixstowe F.2A Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1917
    Type: Flying Boat Aircraft
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): SE Saunders Ltd / Aircraft Manufacturing Company / May, Harden & May / Felixstowe - UK
    Production Total: 175

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 4
    Length: 46.26 feet (14.1 meters)
    Width: 95.64 feet (29.15 meters)
    Height: 17.52 feet (5.34 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 7,496 lb (3,400 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 11,023 lb (5,000 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x Rolls-Royce Eagle VII V12 radial piston engines developing 345 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 96 mph (154 kph; 83 knots)
    Maximum Range: 559 miles (900 km)
    Service Ceiling: 9,843 feet (3,000 meters; 1.86 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 253 feet-per-minute (77 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    STANDARD (Typical):
    1 x 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in nose
    3 x 7.7mm Lewis machine guns in fuselage

    Up to 460lb of external ordnance.
    3 x 7.7mm Lewis machine guns (additional)

    Global Operators / Customers

    United Kingdom; United States

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    F.2 - Base Series Designation; based on a heavily modified Curtiss H-12 flying boat.

    F.2A - Definitive production version; completed with Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII series engines.

    F.2C - Lightened hull design; 2 examples produced.