Saunders-Roe (Saro)

Saunders-Roe (Saro)

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Saunders-Roe (Saro)

Saunders-Roe was formed in 1928 when Sir Alliot Verdon Roe, the founder of Avro, purchased S. Saunders Ltd, a builder of amphibious aircraft based on the Isle of Wight.

Saunders-Roe produced a series of flying boats, starting with the Saro A17 Cutty Sark of 1929. Their most successful military aircraft was the Saro London, one of the last biplane flying boats to enter RAF service. The monoplane Saro Lerwick was rather less successful. The prototypes of 1938 needed so much work that the aircraft didn’t enter service until late in 1940, and the type was withdrawn in May 1941.

After the war Saunders-Roe produced the massive SR45 Princess. This aircraft was powered by ten turboprop engines, and could carry 220 passengers for 5,000 miles. The Princess made its maiden flight in 1952, but never entered civil service. By then Saunders-Roe had taken over the Cierva Autogiro Company of nearby Eastleigh, and concentrated on producing small helicopters. Saunders Roe was taken over by Westland Aircraft in 1959.

Major Military Aircraft
Saro London, 1934-1941
Saro Lerwick, 1938-1941

Saunders-Roe A.27 London

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/20/2018 | Content © | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The SARO London borrowed much from the British flying boat designs peppering the 1920s and, in many ways, her retirement was something of an end to the era - aviation's "golden age" if you will. Pressed into wartime service during World War 2, the London served for only a limited time in equally limited numbers while charged with keeping an eye on the waters off England and over the Mediterranean Sea. Like so many other outclassed aircraft appearing in the middle 1930s and called to fight, the Saro London would go down in aviation history as one of the many unsung heroes doing their part in the early years of the war.

Origins of the London lay in a pre-war British Air Ministry Specification - designated R24/31 - which called for a multi-role flying boat. The firm of Saunders-Roe ("SARO") delivered a design based on their previous failed Saunders A.7 "Severn" attempt, a three-engine flying boat designed for maritime patrol duties of which only one was ever built. The new design was designated as the A.27 London and saw a first prototype completed and flown sometime in 1934. The aircraft was fitted with a pair of Bristol Pegasus II radial piston engines mounted on an uneven-span (sesquiplane) biplane wing assembly. This single prototype actively operated until 1936 to which production forms officially appeared from the assembly lines in March. The initial production models were designated as London Mk.I, the major difference being their use of Bristol Pegasus III-series 820 horsepower radial piston engines.

Ten such examples were produced before the introduction of the Bristol Pegasus X engines of 915 horsepower forced the new designation of London "Mk.II" to be used. All of the early-production Mk.I models were brought up to the new Mk.II standard and redesignated to the new mark in the process. Some twenty Mk.II aircraft were ultimately built. In all, a total of thirty London Saros were constructed and delivered (not including the single prototype).

The Saro London was crewed by a complement of six personnel. She held a wingspan of 80 feet with a running length of over 56 feet. Her height measured in at nearly 19 feet. Total win area was 1,425 square feet. When empty, the London weighed in at 11,100lbs and roughly 18,400 loaded. Her maximum take-off weight (MTOW) was reported to be around 22,000lbs. Maximum speed was 155 miles per hour while cruise speed was listed at 128 miles per hour. Range topped out around 1,100 miles and her service ceiling was limited to just under 20,000 feet. She maintained a rate of climb equal to 1,180 feet per minute.

External design of the SARO London was typical of mid-sized flying boats of the time. Most distinct of this class of aircraft was the boat-shaped hull running from the nose of the airframe to the base of the empennage (tail section). It was this design element that allowed the London the capability to slice through water for landings and take-off but, at the same time, limited such activity to the water - that is, the London retained no undercarriage for operating from land bases. While her lower half maintained the appearance of an ocean-going vessel, her upper half was all aircraft. She sported a slightly curved nose section with slab and noticeably ribbed siding. The cockpit was set just aft of the nose assembly and elevated from the airframe to provide for good all-around views through a framed glass housing. Entry was via a rectangular hatch along the starboard fuselage side just below and aft of the flightdeck. The slab-sided fuselage tapered into a large "Tee" style tail assembly, made up of two large vertical tail fins set upon a horizontal plane. The biplane wing arrangement consisted of a lower span, which was shoulder-mounted onto the fuselage, and the upper span held in place by large angled struts. Each lower wing assembly held a single underslung float to help control the aircraft's sway when on the water. The wings ran through the two high-mounted engine nacelles housing the powerplants. The powerplants were raised a distance away from the airframe and fitted above and behind the flightdeck in an effort to keep the engines free of the corrosive effects of water spray during take-off and landing activities. Fuselage construction was of all-metal while the wings were covered over in fabric.

As a reconnaissance platform, flying boats like the SARO London were prime targets for patrolling enemy fighters. Though this class of aircraft maintained a healthy operational range from which to operate in, she made for a large, slow moving target. As such, she was fitted with up to three Lewis-brand 7.7mm machine guns for defensive purposes. One was positioned forward at the bow while another was positioned aft, both emplacements were open-air with the guns on ring-mounts. The third machine gun was situated amidships. Her offensive prowess when combating surface ships was limited to 2,000lb of ordnance - this in the form of either depth charges, conventional drop bombs or mines - mounted near the wing roots of the lower span. An optional dorsal fuel tank could be installed to help improve operational range (many existing SARO London photographs feature this elongated tank structure just aft of the cockpit).

Operators ultimately included the Royal Canadian Air Force and No. 201, No. 202, No. 204, No. 209, No. 210, No. 228 and No. 240 squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Beyond these users, the London was never in service with another nation in her tenure let alone exported to customers.

At the beginning of World War 2, Londons were pressed into action with RAF Coastal Command, eventually seeing action over the North Sea and across the Mediterranean Sea. They served well in running active reconnaissance patrols as called upon and were ready to engage surface ships if needed. Despite her seemingly archaic appearance, there were many biplanes utilized in these early years of World War 2 that served valiantly when the need called for it. They preserved the status quo of the war until newer and better systems could be made ready and available. The tour of the London began to end sometime in 1940 while the last active group operated around Gibraltar until June of 1942.

Saunders-Roe P.187

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/19/2019 | Content © | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Before the White Defence Paper review of 1957, which doomed many-a-manned aircraft project for Britain, there were many designs put forth by its aero-industry to satisfy a new interceptor requirement known as "F.155T". Among the many design submissions was a large and powerful high-performance jet-and-rocket (combination propulsion scheme) aircraft proposed as the "P.187" by Saunders-Roe (SARO). The project, like many others of the period, only made it to the "paper airplane" stage for its time in Cold War history (1947-1991).

Fresh off the heels of World War 2 (1939-1945), the world entered into a new global conflict, the "Cold War", which pitted East versus West philosophies, politics, and military might against one another. For the West, led by such powers as the United States, Britain, and a rebuilding France, the major threat that soon emerged was the high-speed, high-flying nuclear-capable bomber of the Soviet Air Force. In response there was heavy investment in interceptor types, particularly those centered on turbojet power, to counter the threat and, for the British, this led to requirements like "F.155T".

To this point (early-to-mid-1950s), Saunders-Roe had completed a good deal of research and physical work in the realm of turbojet-and-rocket-assisted aircraft types. The "SR.53" - detailed elsewhere on this site - was of particular note as it served as a single-seat, single-engine high-performance interceptor (in prototype form) which failed to garner the needed support of British authorities mainly due to the advance of ground-based enemy missile technology - rendering the once-untouchable interceptors moot. Nevertheless, two flyable examples of this aircraft were completed by SARO and the data collected during the program heavily influenced the design of what would become the P.187 project airplane.

The assistance provided by SR.53 was notable for it was to enable SARO engineers to get a working product into the air in the shortest amount of time possible en route to Initial Operating Capability (IOC). Beyond its general form, which only superficially followed that of the SR.53, the P.187 would be wholly unique. it would carry a crew of two - pilot and navigator - and house radar in its nose section, an assembly that was designed to "slide" so as to provide enhanced vision out-of-the-cockpit when landing, taking-off and general ground-running actions while become streamlined when the aircraft was in flight to maintain aerodynamic efficiency (similar to the feature used in the later Aerospatiale / BAC Concorde supersonic airliner).

The aircraft had a deep, portly body in its side profile and this was partly due to the engine placement within the fuselage, set low and against the sides with aspiration (each component was bifurcated/split) had under the cockpit floor line and exhausting through ports located under (and ahead) of the tail section. The tail section was given a single vertical fin with the horizontal planes seated at the absolute top of the structure. Airbrakes would be installed at either side of the rear fuselage. Ground-running was to be handled by a heavy-duty, wheeled tricycle arrangement with a dual-wheeled nose leg and dual-wheeled (in line) main legs - all retracting into the body.

The mainplanes were clipped deltas with sweepback found along their leading edge and the trailing edges would be straight-lined. The clipped nature of the wing tips allowed for mounting of wingtip missiles. Control surfaces would line the trailing edges of the mainplane members and the complete unit would be mid-mounted along the sides of the fuselage, each given noticeable anhedral (downward angle).

The cockpit was drawn up to seat its crew side-by-side though the heavier glazing found at the pilot's position. Because of the speeds and altitudes at play, an ejection system and pressurization figured into the mix.

To propel this oversized interceptor, a full complement of turbojet engines supplemented by rocket power would be in play: 2 x de Havilland PS.52 "Gyron" increased-pressure ratio, afterburning turbojet engines of 35,000lb thrust and no fewer than 4 x de Havilland "Spectre 5" series rocket boosters of 10,000lb thrust. The turbojets would set under the aircraft as normal with the Spectre boosters installed over them (under the tail unit) in a side-by-side arrangement. Collectively, and coupled with the streamlined form of the fuselage, the aircraft was expected to reach speeds near Mach 2.5 (at altitude), or a rather impressive 1,855 miles-per-hour.

To satisfy the actual air-to-air "interceptor" portion of the requirement, the P.187 was to make use of two advanced Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs) of the period, "Blue Jay" Mk.4 and "Red Dean". There would be four total AAMs missiles carried by the aircraft, two of each kind (these set to cover radar-guided and InfraRed types), with a hardpoint found at each wingtip (for the Red Dean missiles) and a single hardpoint under each wing (for the Blue Jay missiles).

As drawn up, P.187 sported an estimated empty weight of 55,000lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) nearing 97,000lb. Overall length reached 83.5 feet with a wingspan of 51.6 feet and a height of 21.7 feet. Additional estimates rated the aircraft to altitudes greater than 60,000 feet with an intercepting range out to 260 miles.

For the F.155T requirement, this aerial machine was not only powerful for the period but also quite large and heavy and would have made for an impressive design should it have come to fruition. However, as promising as it was, it was not furthered beyond its line drawings. Plans were had for additional engineering work to be had including wind tunnel testing but all this came to naught - mainly due to the 1957 defense review which saw a future battlefield dominated by air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.


The S.R.177 is being built to O.R.337, issued by the Air Staff on 2nd December, 1955. This is a development of an earlier requirement, O.R.301, first issued in 1951. The aircraft being built to this latter requirement is the S.R.153.

May 1951.Particulars of a proposed requirement for a rocket propelled fighter were circulated to the Air Staff by A.C.A.S.(O.R.)'s staff. Because of the limitations of the early warning system and the likely scale of enemy attack, it was thought that a large force of high performance day fighters would be required. The ability of the fighters then being developed to deal with the very high altitude raider was doubted. The aircraft proposed was intended to fill the gap until effective Guided Weapons became available and to provide a strong backing for the day fighter force against mass daylight raids of B.29 type bombers. The operational role of the aircraft was to be based on an exceptional rate of climb, probably obtainable only by rocket propulsion. Target date for the first production aircraft was Spring, 1954. The aim was to combine simplicity and ease of manufacture with operational efficiency. Certain operational refinements were therefore to be sacrificed.

August O.R.301 was issued for a rocket fighter with the following main features :
(a) Climb 60,000. ft. in 2 1/2 mins.
(b) Speed. Aircraft of this type were required ultimately to be supersonic above 30,000ft. In the first instance, a maximum speed of M = 0.95 would be acceptable if this would shorten development time substantially.
(c) Landing speed. A low landing speed - this was more important than supersonic speed since landings would have to be made from the glide.
(d) Armament: Battery of 2" air-to-air rockets, with provision for fitting direct hitting air-to-air guided Weapon as an alternative.

November Ministry of Supply accepted O.R.301.

January. Ministry of Supply issued Specification (F.124T). This enlarged on O.R.301 by specifying that provision should be made for carrying Blue Jay.

February Ministry of Supply circulated the specification widely to aircraft firms and invited tenders from Bristol, De Havilland, Fairey, Blackburn and A.V. Roe. Tenders were submitted by Bristol, Fairey, Blackburn, A.V. Roe, and by Westland and Saunders Roe.
While firms were preparing designs, the Air Staff decided to ask for an ancillary jet engine to assist the return to base phase.

July The Tender Design. Conference decided to recommend to C.A. that three prototypes each of the Avro and Saunders Roe aircraft should be ordered.

October Ministry of Supply raised a Technical Requisition to initiate contract action.

Advisory Design Conference decided on the specification.

May Ministry of Supply awarded a contract for three aircraft to Saunders Roe. The history of the Avro design is not followed in detail hereafter.

June Ministry of Supply issued Specification (F.138D) calling for Spectre, (Rocket) and Viper (jet) engines, supersonic performance above 40,000 ft. and a subsonic cruising ceiling of not less than 70,000 ft. The rate of climb and endurance originally specified were slightly relaxed, mainly because of the limitations imposed by the external carriage of Blue Jay.

August The Air Staff. issued O.R.301 (2nd Issue). This followed closely Specification F.138D, but stated a requirement for a subsonic cruise ceiling of at least 75,000 ft. (as against 70,000. ft.) and supersonic capability with armament at all heights above 30,000 ft. (instead of 4.0,000 ft.). The target date for the aircraft to be in service was 1957.

January. For reasons of economy, the Ministry of Supply order was reduced from three prototypes each from Saunders Roe and Avro to two prototypes each.

June The Ministry of Supply forecast the first flight of the first Saunders Roe prototype for July 1955.

January. The D.R.P.C. decided that for reasons of economy, either the Avro or the Saunders Roe development should be stopped. The Ministry of Supply made a study of the relative merits of each aircraft and its development potential.
March D.M.A.R.D.(R.A.F.) concluded that the Saunders Roe aircraft was likely to be more successful and would have an attractive performance in its developed form.
July A.C.A.S.(O.R.) recommended to D.C.A.S. that the Air Staff should support the Ministry of Supply's proposal to abandon the Avro aircraft.

The first prototype S.R.53 is expected to fly in July, 1956.

March Delays have been due to two main reasons, each of which would have held up the first flight date
(a) The fuel and designing a H.T.P. system were more difficult than was first realised and required a large amount of testing.
(b) Development of the Spectre rocket has slipped and the engine has not yet been airtested. Tests with a Canberra are expected to begin in March, 1956.


January The Air Staff considered the further development of the aircraft to O.R.301. A.C.A.S.(O.R.) suggested that the O.R.301 prototypes might be used to provide early technical information for building a more advanced aircraft on similar principles.

February Saunders Roe submitted a brochure to the Ministry of Supply proposing that a jet engine of similar thrust to that of the rocket be fitted to the aircraft being built to O.R.301.

June Ministry of Supply asked R.A.E to assess the performance of the aircraft proposed by Saunders Roe when fitted with a Gyron Junior engine.

February Ministry of Supply raised a Technical Requisition for design studies of the possibility of using an engine of 7,000 to 8,000 lbs. thrust in the P.138D.

May Ministry of Supply issued a contract for a design study on the basis of the Technical Requisition.

August Air Staff circulated Draft O.R.

September Ministry of Supply issued a further contract instructing the company to proceed with fullscale design, pending a main contract, on the basis of the Draft O.R.

December The Air Staff issued O.R.337. The preamble stated that the main threat to the country was still subsonic, but attacks by aircraft capable of speeds up to M = 1.3 at heights up to 55,000 ft. might be expected in 1960/62. The main features of the O.R. were:-
(a) Climb to 60,000ft at M= 1.6 in not than than four minutes.
(b) 1 1/2 G ceiling - 65,000 ft. at not less than M =1.6.
(c) Speed supersonic speed above 40,000 ft. not less than M = 1.6 at 60,000 ft M= 2 for a short period.
(d) Endurance - about 4.5 minutes, depending on flight profile, extensible to 75 minutes with overload tanks.
(e) Armament - 2 Blue Jay with 2 rocket batteries as an alternative.
The flexibility given by A.I., navigation aids and auto-pilot facilities was essential.
The aircraft was required in service as soon as possible and not later than July, 1959.

January The Ministry of Supply accepted the O.R. with the following conditions:
(a) the aircraft should be confined to the high altitude interceptor role with a possible g restriction for operation below 40,000 ft.
(b) the acceleration time from M= 0.95 to M = 1.6 to be extended by approximately 1 minute.
(c) cruising altitude when carrying overloads to be reduced from 40,000 ft. to 36,000 ft.
(d) Target date for C.A. release to be mid-1960.

February D.R.P.C. accepted the S.R.177 as a development project for R.A.F. and Navy. Ministry of Supply sought Treasury approval to place an order for a development batch of 27 aircraft. As this was not readily forthcoming, in April the Firm were authorised the expenditure of a further £100,000 to maintain continuity.

February The two S.R.53 prototypes are now regarded primarily as a lead in to the F.177, rather than as a research project.

April Advisory Design Conference held. Specification agreed.

July Specification [handwritten F177 to meet OR337] issued by Ministry of Supply.

July Treasury agreed to a development batch of 27 aircraft, but authorised the build of only 9 aircraft with long dated materials being allocated to support the remaining 18 aircraft. The delay in Treasury approval being granted was due to reviews of patterns of fighter defences of the future, and the atmosphere of financial stringency and economy generally.

July The S.R.53 has not yet made its first flight. [handwritten The first F177 (SR177) is scheduled to make its first flight in April 1958, but this is likely to slip by 6 months]

September Ministerial approval having been granted, O.R.337 is formally accepted for action by the Ministry of Supply. Design work has however been proceeding since September 1955. The main adverse effect of the delay in placing the final contract has been that it has prevented Saunders Roe placing sub-contract orders.

March The first flight of the S.R.53 remained "imminent" until the end of 1956, but it has not yet flown and is scheduled for mid-April 1957. There have been troubles with the Spectre engine, but the airframe also is not fully ready.

handwritten 29th March. Air Staff cancellation of OR337 was formally sent to the M of S on the 29th March.

Saunders-Roe SR.A-1

The flying boat had certainly proved its worth during combat service in World War 2 (1939-1945). Prior to the conflict, it was a passenger-hauling attention-getter with many top carriers showcasing all sorts of breeds under catchy names to help generate interest. These typically large platforms held inherent boat-like qualities that allowed for landing on open water, never requiring the services of a prepared runway. Their military counterparts were similar in form but wholly different in function - capable of loitering over contested areas for hours on end and hunting down enemy warships and submarines. The designs were sound handlers over the sometimes tumultuous seas and showcased the long endurance required for operational service over thousands of miles of vast ocean space - particularly in the Pacific Theater against the Empire of Japan. Despite the obvious benefits, militaries placed little emphasis on development of a "flying boat fighter" during the war - relying instead on carrier-based fighter types and land-based fighters where territorial gains allowed.

Additional challenges lay in converting these large - sometimes massive - prop-driven aircraft into more useful, compact fighter design forms. Performance would always be a key limitation for water-based aircraft as would the assault of the salty sea - easily damaging mechanical components and metal skin being exposed to the air.

TG263 completed several powered test flights on and over water in the period following. It was found to offer strong performance and good handling characteristics. However, one aero phenomena called "Dutch Rolling" was soon found to be a consistent issue with controlling - the phenomena being an inadvertent motion of the aircraft which rocked it side-to-side though a tail-wagging action. This led engineers to develop and install a conical, "bullet-shaped" fairing halfway up the leading edge of the vertical tail fin to counter this. During one other test flight, both engines failed the pilot, forcing the aircraft into a rather precarious - though successful for the pilot and aircraft - unpowered landing. Poor weather then delayed additional testing for the short term.

The second prototype - TG267 - was finally on hand to further the testing phase for SARO. Its first flight was recorded on April 30th, 1948 but this airframe only saw limited action. Another aero phenomena being encountered resulted in revised wing sections being utilized, improving control further. However, the program suffered a severe - and fatal - setback on September 17th, 1949 when TG267 was lost during maneuvers (killing its test pilot in the process).

The third, and final, prototype of the series became TG271. This airframe was given more powerful Beryl turbojet engines to help it achieve better performance. First flight was recorded on August 17th, 1948 and it was later wooing crowds over Farnborough in September during the classic British-hosted air show. It was this airframe that managed to record a maximum recorded speed of 624 miles per hour during dive testing. Unfortunately, TG271 was also lost when, upon landing, its hull was pierced by something in the water, causing it to split open and take on water and sink. The pilot managed to escape but the aircraft was a complete loss.

With only TG263 remaining, testing continued into the early 1950s though with far more reduced interest on the part of the Royal Air Force - particularly with the rise in improved land-based and carried-based fighter forms as well as continued development into the turbofan propulsion system. The program was eventually written off and not furthered beyond the three airframes contracted for. The dedicated flying boat fighter age never was as it gave way to more advanced, jet-powered swept-wing concepts appearing throughout the world. Even the Beryl engine was given up for good by Armstrong Siddeley during 1948, essentially killing the propulsion system relied on by the SARO aircraft. A move to another powerplant would have proven costly and complicated for an already overblown program.

From Graces Guide

Saunders-Roe Limited of East Cowes, Isle of Wight was a British aircraft manufacturing company.

1929 The name Saunders-Roe was adopted after Alliott Verdon-Roe and John Lord took a controlling interest in the boat and aircraft-builders S. E. Saunders.

1931 Whitehall Securities, a large shareholder in Spartan Aircraft, wanted to merge that company with Saunders-Roe Ώ] . This was finally agreed after Whitehall bought out the owner Oliver Simmonds.

Saunders-Roe continued using the Spartan name, and built 13 Arrows, a small two seat biplane. They then designed the Mailplane, a plane for mail-carrying services. Only the prototype was built, as it was developed into the Cruiser, a passenger-carrying aircraft. Fifteen were built, and sold as far away as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Egypt and India, but the majority were kept by Saunders-Roe.

1933 Designers and constructors of flying boards, seaplanes and aeroplanes. Works: Cowes, Isle of Wight. Head Office: Bush House, Aldwych, London, W.C.2. ΐ]

1933 S. E. Saunders died. In the 4 years since the change of name, the company had constructed 12 further life boats for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution Α] .

1933 Established air-travel company, Spartan Airways, from Somerton Airfield

By the end of 1933 Spartan Airways had proved so successful that it became part of Southern Railways and the Railways Air Services network, with flights to Ryde, Isle of Wight, as well as services to London and Birmingham as well as a stop-over at Bembridge Airport, Isle of Wight. The last Spartan design was the Clipper, but only one of those was built.

1935 Spartan Airways merged with United Airways which, in 1936, became Allied British Airways, then British Airways, which in 1939 became part of British Overseas Airways Corporation, which later became the British Airways of today.

1937 Aircraft flying boats. "Saro" Flying Boats and Amphibians Β]

Saunders-Roe, commonly abbreviated Saro, concentrated on producing flying-boats, but none were produced in very large quantities - the longest run being 31 Londons. They also produced hulls for the Blackburn Bluebird, and during the Second World War manufactured Supermarine Walrus and de Havilland Sea Otters.

Somerton remained open throughout the war for the use of Saunders-Roe.

1942 Three hangars were destroyed in air raids, including the last Spartan aircraft.

1951 Saunders-Roe took over the interests of the Cierva Autogiro Co whose helicopter design was developed to be the Skeeter helicopter.

1952 The prototype of the Princess flew but the age of the flying-boat was over and no more were produced at Cowes.

1958 The last fixed-wing aircraft the company built was the experimental SR53 mixed-power interceptor.

1959 the company demonstrated the first practical hovercraft, the Saunders-Roe SR-N1.

1959 S. Pearson and Son sold the company to Westland Aircraft Γ] , who continued the Skeeter family with the Scout and Wasp.

1964 All the hovercraft businesses under Westland were merged with Vickers Supermarine to form the British Hovercraft Corporation. This in turn was taken over by Westland and was renamed Westland Aerospace in 1985, and hovercraft production ceased.

The company produced component parts for the aircraft industry, especially engine nacelles for many aircraft including the DeHavilland Canada 'Dash 8', the Shorts 330, the Lockheed Hercules, the British Aerospace Jetstream and parts for the McDonnell-Douglas MD-11. By the mid 1990s, over 60% of the world's production of turboprop nacelles took place in the East Cowes works.

1994 Westland was taken over by GKN when GKN sold its shares in Westland to form AgustaWestland, it retained the East Cowes works, where it continued aircraft component design and production, and more recently manufactured blades for wind turbines.

Saunders-Roe (Saro) - History

After a development period spanning some ten years, production examples of the Saro Skeeter finally began their career in 1957, with the British Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force. This attractive little 2-seater had originated as a Cierva design, the W.14 Skeeter 1 , whose prototype (G-AJCJ) flew for the first time on 8 October 1948 powered by a 106hp Jameson FF-1 engine. A second machine, the Skeeter 2 G-ALUF, was flown just over a year later, in which the most important of several design changes were the employment of a 145hp Gipsy Major 10 engine, increased rotor diameter and a slightly longer tailboom of circular instead of triangular cross-section. Two further-modified Skeeter 3 's were begun by Cierva, also with Gipsy Major 10's these were completed by Saro, for evaluation by the Ministry of Supply, after the latter company had acquired Cierva in January 1951. Later they were given 180hp Blackburn Bombardier 702 engines and redesignated Skeeter 3B 's one similar machine was completed as the Skeeter 4 .

Saro's two Skeeter 5 prototypes, built as a private venture, also had Bombardier engines, and were the first machines of the series to be really free of the ground resonance problems which had beset the earlier prototypes. These were followed by three government-sponsored Skeeter 6 prototypes with 183hp Gipsy Major 30's, and in 1956 the Skeeter 5 's also changed to this brand of engine, being refitted with 200hp Gipsy Major 201's.

After pre-service trials with the Skeeter 6 prototypes, initial production orders were given for two basically similar versions with the Gipsy Major 200 engine. These were the Skeeter 6A , ordered for the Army Air Corps as the AOP Mk.10 , and the Skeeter 6B as the T Mk.11 for the RAF. Follow-on orders were placed later for the Skeeter 7A ( AOP Mk.12 ) and 7B ( T Mk.13 ), which differed chiefly in having 215hp Gipsy Major 215 engines. The Skeeter 7 was also the subject of a small export order, the Federal German Army and Navy ordering eleven and four as Mk.50 and Mk.51 respectively. Final variant was the Skeeter 8 , basically an adaptation of the 7 for commercial operation. Three were built for C. of A. tests, but no civil orders ensued and Skeeter production came to an end in 1960 (by which time Saunders-Roe had become part of the Westland group) after a total of seventy-seven aircraft had been built.

Of the fifty or so Skeeters supplied to the British services, the AOP 12 's served mostly at the Army Air Corps Training School, while the RAF T13 's were allocated to the Central Flying School and to No.651 Squadron. Ten of the German Skeeters were handed over in July 1961 to the Forca Aerea Portuguesa , with whom they were still in service in 1968. Dual controls are fitted as standard in all Skeeters. During their early life various Skeeter prototypes were used to flight-test a supercharged Gipsy Major engine, a Blackburn Turmo shaft turbine, and a Napier rocket-powered tip-drive system. With only a single crewman aboard, the Skeeter could be flown in a casualty evacuation role with a stretcher pannier supported on each side of the cabin.

K.Munson "Helicopters And Other Rotorcraft Since 1907", 1968

After a long development period, the little Saro Skeeter was first used in 1958 by the British Army Air Corps. The prototype of this attractive two-seater, which was derived from a project by the Cierva company, made its first flight on 8 October 1948, with a 106hp Jameson FF-1 engine this was followed a year later by a second model ( Skeeter 2 ) which had the more powerful 145hp Gipsy Major and a larger rotor. The two prototypes were submitted to the Ministry of Supply for evaluation after Saro (Saunders-Roe) took over Cierva in January 1951.

The Skeeter had a small, steel tube fuselage structure with a semi-monocoque tail boom section. The three-blade main rotor had metal spars with wooden ribs and a fabric skin, and the two-blade tail rotor was entirely of wood. All the aircraft had tricycle landing gear, although some tests were done with skids. Refitted with a 180hp Blackburn Bombadier engine, the helicopter was redesignated Skeeter 3 , while a Royal Navy version was called Skeeter 4 . The prototype of the Skeeter 5 , built as a private venture, finally succeeded in eliminating the ground resonance problems found on the early models and was followed by the Skeeter 6 (of which three were built) with 183hp Gipsy Major 200 engines. At this point, the British Army ordered a trial batch of four Skeeters (one of which had dual controls), followed by another 64 production models designated AOP Mk.12 (Air Observation Post). Delivery of these aircraft was completed in autumn 1960 and some of them were used as trainers. The final Skeeter 8 version was offered for private use, but no orders from civil operators were forthcoming.

The Skeeter also had some success on the export market: the German Army and Navy received six and four respectively, which were transferred to the Portuguese Air Force in 1961 but never flown. One Skeeter was also used as a test-bed for the Turmo turbine.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

With the post-World War II lack of interest in flying-boats, Saunders-Roe sought to diversify within the aircraft industry and in January 1951 acquired the Cierva company to gain a foothold in rotary-wing aircraft. Cierva had flown on 8 October 1948 the prototype of an experimental two-seat helicopter which it designated Cierva W.14 Skeeter I, and Saro continued development of this design. Three prototypes of the Saro Skeeter 6, powered by the 149kW Gipsy Major 200, were evaluated by the British Army Air Corps, leading first to an order for four more evaluation aircraft delivered as three Skeeter AOP.Mk 10s and one Skeeter T.Mk 11 dual-control trainer. The Army Air Corps acquired 64 production AOP.Mk 12 Skeeter helicopters which differed by having a 160kW Gipsy Major engine, and a small number of similarly-powered Skeeter T.Mk 13 aircraft were used by the RAF to train army helicopter instructors. In addition, under the designations Skeeter Mk 50 and Skeeter Mk 51 the Federal German army and navy acquired six and four helicopters respectively. These helicopters had a main rotor of 9.75m diameter and could attain a maximum speed of 267km/h. A civil variant was planned as the Skeeter Series 8, but only a single example was built and no civil orders were received. When production ended, in 1960, the Saunders-Roe rotary-wing activities had been acquired by the Westland group.

D.Donald "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft", 1997

Jon Kelly , e-mail , 14.11.2020 reply

The Skeeter would have been impressive if it could have attained 275km /h, should be 175km /h (on a good day)

I was with 23 Flt Iserlohn Germany.
We had a small problem we had flown into orchard which had a 4 ft fence.
When we came to leave, the other two pilots had no problems, no passengers, when it came to Major Hickey to leave I was his passenger
I was 12 stone (168 Lbs) Major Hickey was larger.
As we approached the fence after start we did not seem to be able to "climb over it " I had to get out, the Major then flew as close to the fence as he could & I had to assist lift the Skeeter over the fence.
Onthe other side with plenty of space for forward flight we were able to get altitude & continue on our way.

Somewhere I have a copy of a publication with the Skeeter fitted with a Jet Engine .One photo showed personnel stood on the outside in a Demo.of its lift capability. Spent a few years at Middle Wallop with the Skeeter before being involved with the intro of the Scout into service.A great time and fond memories

I would like to contact Mr Tiplady re the Rover Turbine in the Skeeter.
In 1956, Auster Aircraft and Rovers collaborated in the design of the Auster Skyrover powered by the excellent Rover Aurora free power turbine. Was that the engine installed in the Skeeter?
Sadly, the air minister at the time decided to stop the sale of the Skyrover which brought it to an end and also lost the Aurora engine in the process.

Saunders-Roe Queen

The Saunders-Roe P.192 Queen was a British jet-powered seaplane project designed by Saunders-Roe after the Second World War. It was intended for the carriage of passengers on intercontinental flights, especially between Great Britain and Australia. No prototype was built because of a lack of funding.

1. History. (История)
Before the Second World War, British aircraft manufacturer Saunders-ROE Saro is often referred to considered in the construction of seaplanes on a transatlantic flight. In 1939, the firm had planned the car from 85 to 90 tons, but plans were foiled due to the outbreak of the war. Resumed in 1943, the study design of 150 tons, which eventually became the Saunders-ROE Princess, of which was made in only three examples.
Despite this setback, Saro contacted by J. Meenan Dundas, consulting engineer from the firm of Heenan, winn & steel, on behalf of the Peninsula and Oriental shipping company. He was interested in the plane that can carry less than 1.000 passengers in luxury transatlantic ocean liner. Then Saro proposed project 192, 670 tons for seaplane powered by a 24 rolls-Royce RB.80 jet engines with Conway 18.500 kg 8.400 kg of thrust each. The aircraft was intended to be flown at a cruising speed of 450 km / h 720 km / h and an altitude of between 30.000 and 39.000 feet 9.000 and 12.000 meters. Its range would be 2.100 3.400 km Mi Route between London and Sydney are already planned, via Cairo, Karachi, Calcutta, Singapore and Darwin, Australia.
The fuselage will be divided into 5 decks with passengers are divided into compartments of 6 places with chairs in the bed at night, similar to railway cars. First class passengers would have their own bars, canteens and toilets. Improved galley have all the decks on the freight elevators. The crew consisted of 7 flight crew technical with own rest quarters, and 40 cabin crew and as a steward on the liner.
The engines were set very far from the case, to avoid splashing on the rise. They were equipped with two sets of holes for air intake, one mounted above the wing when the plane was on the water, and the other at the leading edge during flight. Marine rudders would facilitate maneuvers on the water. No reason, no British taxpayers were willing to Fund such a project, it is not beyond the drawing Board stage.

2. Specifications Queen. (Спецификации Королева)
General characteristics
Height: 55 ft 9 in 16.99 m.
Length: 318 ft 97 m.
Powerplant: 24 × Rolls-Royce Conway turbofan engines, 18.500 lbf 82 kN thrust each.
Max takeoff weight: 1.500.500 lb 680.615 kg.
Capacity: 1.000 passengers. (Емкость: 1.000 пассажиров)
Wing area: 5.019 sq ft 466.3 m 2.
Crew: 7 crew and 40 cabin stewards.
Wingspan: 313 ft 95 m.
Range: 3.000 mi 4.800 km, 2.600 nmi.
Service ceiling: 40.000 ft 12.200 m absolute.
Cruise speed: 450 mph 720 km / h, 390 kn at 9.000 m 30.000 ft.

  • Verdon Roe see Avro and John Lord took a controlling interest in the boat - builders S. E. Saunders Prior to this excepting for the Sopwith Saunders Bat
  • The Saunders - Roe SR.N1 Saunders - Roe Nautical 1 was the first practical hovercraft. The concept has its origins in the work of British engineer and
  • States Saunders Wisconsin, United States Saunders - Roe British aero and marine - engineering company Saunders publisher now part of Elsevier Saunders Secondary
  • became a test pilot. After spending almost ten years working for the Saunders - Roe company, he was killed in 1958 while test flying the SR.53, an experimental
  • Armstrong Siddeley Holdings Ltd. In 1928 A.V. Roe resigned from the company he had founded and formed the Saunders - Roe company, which after World War II developed
  • Jubilee of the Queen s coronation in 1977, the main hangar doors of what was then the British Hovercraft Corporation a successor to Saunders Roe were painted
  • a Good Thing When We Are Queen A Train is Coming Send Me Someone to Love Singers: Catherine Russell, Marlon Saunders Leslie Alexander, Gyan, Jacob
  • would have covered it until introduction in 1963, namely the Saunders - Roe SR.53 and Saunders - Roe SR.177. The Avro 730 supersonic light bomber was also cancelled
  • the war effort to provide a Head Office and design drawing offices for Saunders Roe Ltd. At the end of the war the company took out a long lease with the
  • VL531 and VL532, were not built. A floatplane version was designed by Saunders - Roe as the Saro P.100, but was not built. Data from Flight International
  • With A Heavy Heart I Regret To Inform You We Are Rockstars Louise Roe and Tim Kash - Red carpet hosts Nicole Polizzi and Jennifer Farley - presented
  • several years later to mark the show s 20th anniversary for 2012. Jennifer Saunders Edina Monsoon Joanna Lumley Patsy Stone Julia Sawalha Saffron Monsoon
  • drown d under London - bridge in the Queen s Bardge Anno 1641. Anne s daughter Lucy Hamilton Sandys Lucie Saunders d. 1687 was a witness to Nell Gwyn s
  • Sigrist Desford Rogozarski SIM - Х RWD - 5bis RWD - 19 Saab 91 Safir SAI KZ IV Saunders - Roe Skeeter Spartan Cruiser Stampe SV.4 Thruxton Jackaroo VL Viima Many Gipsy
  • The Queen s Birthday Honours 1966 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and
  • Second World War. This led to a 17 - tonne prototype, the R - 103, built by Saunders - Roe in the UK, and sea - trialled in Canada. That experimental craft resulted
  • 201 1953 Daimler Freeline, 44 - seat under - floor diesel bus. Bodywork by Saunders - Roe in England. Exhibited at the 1953 Commercial Vehicle Show in Leeds, before
  • Bertha Garcia, Hunter 7: 18 Walking Blues Johnson 6: 48 Jack - a - Roe Trad. Arr. By Grateful Dead 5: 43 El Paso Robbins 5: 31 Built to
  • the Commonwealth realms were announced on 17 June 2006, to celebrate the Queen s Birthday of 2006. The recipients of honours are displayed here as they
  • The Queen s Birthday Honours 1961 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and
  • The Queen s Birthday Honours 1980 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and
  • The Queen s Birthday Honours 1964 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and
  • Department of Health for Scotland. Ernest Renaud Hooper, Chief Inspector, Saunders - Roe Anglesey Ltd. Janet Lilian Horn, Higher Executive Officer, Ministry
  • Corporation. Squadron Leader John Stanley Booth, DFC, Chief Test Pilot, Saunders - Roe Ltd. Captain Henry Lawrence Matthews Glover, Senior Captain, First Class
  • 15 seats, with the gains including taking all of the seats in Fryent and Roe Green wards and 1 seat in Queensbury ward from the Conservatives. The Conservatives
  • The Queen s Birthday Honours 1957 were appointments in many of the Commonwealth realms of Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and
  • Septimus Roe who served under Bremer on board the Tamar from 1824 to 1827 Bremer Range and its highest peak, Mount Gordon, Western Australia named by Roe in
  • for Osborne House, Norris Castle and as the home from 1929 to 1964 of Saunders - Roe the historic aircraft, flying boat, rocket and hovercraft company. Sandown
  • Strait via the wide Foxe Channel. It is also connected to Repulse Bay and Roes Welcome Sound via Frozen Strait. The terrain is rocky and rugged in the southern
  • Aircraft took place in early 1960 shortly after Westland had acquired the Saunders - Roe group and the helicopter division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. Westland

Saunders-Roe Queen: mustard youtube, saro princess

Saro princess.

Her Majestys Nuclear Seaplane. Doomed luxury airliner almost had. GV Saunders Roe Princess Flying Boat on the slipway. Angle shot of propellors. LV Flying boat on slipway. CU Huge wheels of the flying boat slowly moving.

The Saunders Roe Queen design concept. If only seaplane airliners.

Autogiro, A. V. Roe, Airspeed, Saunders Roe and Short Brothers. Seven two Queen Bees as it had a slightly greater g than the older type of cruiser. Saunders Roe P.192 V8 Seaplanes X Forum. Bristol submitted a version of the Britannia turboprop transport and Saunders Roe submitted a variant of due to it being too slow – along with Saunders Roes flying boat. Queen of the Aircraft Industry: Olive Ann Beech. Saunders Roe High Resolution Stock Photography and Images. The Saunders Roe P.192 Queen was a British jet powered seaplane project designed by Saunders Roe after the Second World War. It was intended for the. A venture worthy of success, the Saunders ST 27 and ST 28. Drawing Information: Category: Never Built. Type: Air. Classes: Saunders Roe ​Saro P.192 Queen. Roles: Transport Aircraft. Subroles.

What Happened To Giant Flying Boats? Saunders Roe YouTube.

Feb 16, 2020 Anything related to aircraft, airplanes, aviation and flying. Helicopters & rotorcraft, airships, balloons, paragliders, winged suits and anything. Saunders Roe SR.53 pedia. FRANK WOOTTON BRITISH, 1914 1998, Saunders Roe SR.45 Princess. Sold for £ 1.187 ium, US$ 1.557. Contract. This lot sold at. £ 1.187. The future of the flying boat Wiley Online Library. The site was allocated to Saunders Roe, who used it for modifying American and a view to becoming a fishing vessel, under a new name, the Herring Queen. Melchet Court DiCamillo. Three prototypes of the giant Saunders Roe SARO SR.45 Princess the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth have been doing for some.

Whats a similar looking aircraft to this illustration? Aviation Stack.

CAN578 QUEEN ELIZABETH II AND PRINCE PHILIP MAKE OFFICIAL VISIT TO THE 20. low angle ws hanger sign: Westland Aircraft Limited, Saunders Roe. Buses SARO Saunders Roe 1929 1964 Isle of Wight UK – Myn. Queen Victoria really did prefer Cowes to Ryde or just about any other place Quays, once home to seaplane manufacturers Saunders Roe. The history of Hobbs of Henley established in 1870. And at the other extreme was the Saunders Roe Queen, it never got off the drawing board 24 x Rolls Royce Conway turbofans each rated at. Beachcombers exterior Queen of the Solent Sky Museum Travel. Saunders Roe P.192 Queen – concept only for a 24 jet engine, 313 ft wingspan flying boat for P&O with accommodation for 1.000 passengers.

Spruce Goose: Howard Hughes Giant Flying Boat Air and Space.

At top The Saunders Roe S.R.45 Princess in flight. But though Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne as Queen, the Princess did not. Beaumaris films by Huntley Film Archives. Happy hair 2019 by Roe, Mechal Renee. Place Hold. Summary. African American girls and their beautiful hair are celebrated in this bright, joyful read ​together.

Air Notes Taylor & Francis Online.

Including one from a Mr. S. Saunders who goes onto co form Saunders Roe, which Tony Hobbs is appointed a Royal Waterman to Her Majesty the Queen,. Saunders Roe Archives Wingborn Ltd. Local legend claims that Queen Elizabeth Is vessel, called the Rat OWight, was built at Cowes The old Saunders Roe boat factory now makes wind turbines. Airwork Cambridge University Press. Saunders Roe P192 Queen would have, if she had been built, with out rival. At 1,​500000 lbs in weight would have put all comers to shame.

XM528 Saunders Roe Skeeter Mk.12, British Army, Middle Wallop.

An even larger flying boat, the Saunders Roe Queen, was also proposed around the same time. Unlike the Princess, however, no examples of the Duchess ever. File:SA5 media Commons. The Saunders Roe Duchess also known as the model P.131 was a British design for a large An even larger flying boat, the Saunders Roe Queen, was also proposed around the same time. Unlike the Princess, however, no examples of the.

3D model Saro P192 Queen CGTrader.

Photo of a Saunders Roe Princess, Public Domain. The largest flying boat was probably SaRo P.192 Queen enter image description here. Saunders Roe Duchess pedia. English: Artists conception of Saunders Roe P.192 Queen jet powered flying boat. Date, circa 1956. date QS:P, 1956 00 00T:00Z 9. Historic Aircraft A Dart From The Sea USNI News. Wrather Corporation purchased it with the intent of creating a tourist attraction adjacent to the Queen Mary in Long Beach Harbor. Saunders Roe Princess.


Le projet du Saunders Roe P 192 Queen, un hydravion monstrueux equipe avec 24 turboreacteurs Rolls Royce Conway, 5 ponts et une capacite de 1000. Court of Appeals of Virginia Published Opinions in PDF Format. Опубликовано: 14 февр. 2020 г. Frank Wootton British, 1914 1998 Huntsman & hounds Bonhams. Roe, Nicholas, planter Elizabeth City. 1628. Roote Saunders, Roger, mariner Accomac. Plantation, 1628. Lafon, John King & Queen Co., 1635. Lawrance. Saunders Roe Saro P.192 Queen Great Britain Shipbucket. Saunders Roe Princess Story的視頻效果分析,可以幫助您追踪並分析YouTube​視頻觀看量、粉絲互動率的表現數據,獲取視頻分析報告,預估視頻產生的價值。. Racing Around the Isle of Wight at Cowes British Heritage. Опубликовано: 13 апр. 2014 г.

John Stanley Booth Military Fandom.

Beachcombers exterior Queen of the Solent Sky Museum The legendary Supermarine S.6A and the Saunders Roe flying boat jet fighter. Search Catalog Responsive. ROE HAMPTON. $1.391.20. 3 QUEEN. $1.037.00. 2. 16207291. JACKSON ​BOULET, WILLIAM FIFER. ST. CLAIR SAUNDERS, CARRIE CHRISTY. The first pioneer families of virginia jstor. Queen of the Skies: The Boeing 747 is playing a heros role during Covid 19 crisis Clear Solution Hot Wings Harbour Air & MagniX are Electri Flying First​.

Saunders Roe By Raymond L. Wheeler Used Very Good.

P.192 Queen, a concept flying boat designed by Saunders Roe in response to a commission from the shipping line, P & O. The P.192 design had five decks. Chairmans message Canadian Aviation Historical Society. XM528 Saunders Roe Skeeter Mk.12, British Army, Middle Wallop 1960 XM296 De Havilland DH114 Heron CC.4, RAF Queens Flight, Speke Buy. Aeronautical Reviews AIAA ARC. King, King, King and Queen, King George, King William, Kingfisher, Kingman Saunders, Sawyer, Schenectady, Schleicher, Schley, Schoharie, Schoolcraft South Dakota At Large Dusty Johnson, Tennessee District 01 David P. Roe. Friars Bay Beach Beaumaris, the Life Boat station & Puffin Island in. SAUNDERS ROE LTD. SAROI.

Saunders Roe, Beaumaris

I took a trip to Anglesey to indulge in a spot of sight seeing and thought I'd swing by and have a look at this place.

The site was built in the early 1940's by Saunders Roe (or SARO for the purposes of brevity), as much of their production capacity at Cowes on the Isle of Wight was taken up with the Supermarine Walrus. SARO were given the contract to equip the Catalina flying boats bought from America, and this site was chosen. The Menai Straits provided excellent water for flying boat operations, and was, I suppose, more accessible for the American built aircraft flying in over the Atlantic.

In total 399 Catalinas came through the site. Substantial work was done, including installation of ASV (air to surface vessel) radar, work carried out in strict secrecy.

The Saunders Roe design and development department had also moved to Beaumaris, as work at Cowes was being constantly interrupted by air raids. Two of the company sites at East Cowes were totally destroyed in one air raid in May 1942.

As well as the main effort on the Catalinas, a lot of other design work was done. One example was a wooden hull for the Walrus which was used in the final 191 Walruses produced. The first five of these hulls was made at Beaumaris.

Another undertaking was the wing for the Shetland flying boat, a project shared with Short Brothers who were responsible for the hull.

The flying boats were hauled out on the slipway which remains on the foreshore. Most of the wartime hangars remain on the site, although some have been substantially altered. During this period 2000 people worked on the site, and were bussed in from all over North Wales.

After the war had ended, the company decided to transfer its marine activities to the Beaumaris site, under the name Saunders Shipyard. At first, little shipbuilding work materialised. The exception was the motor torpedo boat P1602, which was the first in the world to be made of aluminium alloy. Other work included the refurbishment of wooden military bridging pontoons, many of which had been produced by the company in Edmonton.

The main product at this time was bus bodies for both the home market and for export, and 620 were built for export to Cuba.

In 1968, Laird (Anglesey) Ltd was formed and incorporated the Beaumaris and Llangefni factories of SARO and the engineering business of Birkenhead shipbuilders Cammell Laird. Laird developed the Centaur, which was half Land Rover and half light tank.

All manner of equipment was built including air bridges for middle east airports and bridging for military applications.

I'm not entirely sure when this site was closed, but I'm guessing 1997, which was when Faun Specialist Vehicles (who then owned the site) opened their new factory in Llangefni.

Flight Stories

In the early 1950s, the Saunders-Roe S.R.45 Princess was the largest flying boat ever built in Britain and, indeed, one of the largest aircraft ever conceived in history. It could carry 105 passengers in style and the comfort of spacious sleeper cabins on two decks within a pressurized hull. Fine seats, stand-up bars, a lounge and spacious bathrooms were part of the deck plans. All of the comforts of “modern air travel” were envisioned, making the plane the crown jewel of airline travel. Further, the Princess would have linked Britain with the Far East since the aircraft boasted a non-stop range of over 5,000 miles. Amazingly, it could have cruised at 39,000 feet of altitude. Yet the Princess was doomed from the start, finding no buyers despite its extraordinary capabilities. Caught at the crux of change, it was the pinnacle of flying boat designs launched into the dawn of the new, land-based jet age.

The Bristol turboprop engines with counter-rotating propellers on the wing of the S.R.45 Princess.

A Technical Triumph

The Saunders-Roe S.R.45 Princess was an engineering marvel. Not only was the design huge, nearly rivaling the scale of the rather less capable Spruce Goose, but it also featured new generation turboprop power plants. The Princess was fitted with ten Bristol Proteus turboprop engines, eight of which were coupled in tandem to drive counter-rotating propellers, while the remaining two outboard engines each drove a single prop. The Proteus engines produced over 3,000 hp each and thus, the aircraft would have produced a combined 30,000 hp.

The interior layout of the S.R.45 Princess as depicted in the company’s promotional literature — advertised as a “Richard Lonsdale-Hands design” — click to review the details of the layout.

Based on design specifications offered by Saunders-Roe Ltd., the British Government requested that three of the giant seaplanes be built specifically to serve BOAC’s trans-Atlantic route between London and New York. The three Princesses were together constructed in the largest hangar in the Saunders-Roe company, located at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Even then, the planes were so huge that they had to be winched down to ensure that the 54 foot high tail cleared the hangar doors. Only when the prototype Princess was outside of the hangar could the engines be fitted. Thereafter, the plane was issued the tail number G-ALUN and readied for its first test flights.

First Flight — 60 Years Ago Today

On August 22, 1952 (sixty years ago today!), the Saunders-Roe S.R.45 Princess prototype G-ALUN was taken out by the company test pilot, Geoffrey Tyson. Once motoring around on the light waves off the Solent, Tyson reported that the conditions were perfect for a test flight — and likewise, the Saunders-Roe management thought it would be a public relations coup to fly the plane earlier than planned. A more extensive set of taxi-trials were skipped over and the plane made its first flight, lifting off the waves and orbiting the Solent. It reached 225 mph while the cameras rolled and the first flight covered 120 miles of distance flown, ending in a perfect touchdown back on the Solent.

The Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess in flight.

After landing, Geoffrey Tyson described the Princess as handling like a fighter plane, not like a huge airliner at all — a perfect public relations coup. The plane was stable, light on the controls and had an abundance of power. After its first flight, the prototype returned to the carefully outlined test program and was soon issued a type certificate. In short order, Saunders-Roe was advertising the giant flying boat to as many airlines as it could, reaching even as far as Australia’s QANTAS with offers for it to be an early launch customer. Meanwhile, with faltering support from BOAC, the other two aircraft in construction at the Cowe hangar were held back. In 1953, the Princess was brought to the Farnborough Airshow in an attempt to drum up business. It even made a surprise flyover to the amazement of the crowds.

The End of the Line

Despite the best efforts of the marketing team, the projected high operating costs of the Princess drove off the few buyers who might have been enticed to consider the giant flying boat for their line operations. Put simply, ten engines and a huge hull that had to be constantly maintained against salt water corrosion carried a huge cost. Furthermore, by the early 1950s, commercial airlines were abandoning seaplane operations. They opted to acquire land-based jets as being more cost-effective. Ultimately, even the giant aircraft’s original buyer, BOAC, abandoned the project entirely. BOAC and the Government of Britain made an ill-fated decision to proceed not with the Princess but with the de Havilland Comet. That fateful decision would not only spell the end of Saunders-Roe as a fixed wing commercial airline manufacturer but also result in the disaster of the Comet.

The S.R.45 Princess in all of its glory, on the day of its first flight, 60 years ago today in aviation history.

Certainly the Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess would have set a new standard for luxury air travel. Certainly it would have driven airlines in a different direction, for at least a while longer away from land-based airports toward seaplane bases around the world. Yet also certainly the Princess would have been a maintenance and fuel hungry nightmare. It would have been non-competitive from the start. With the failure of the Saunders-Roe Princess, the era of the seaplane and flying boat had come to an end. Today, as we sit cramped in the “cattle car” section of the modern airliners that ply the routes between Europe and the United States and Asia, we can look back with wonder at the luxury that would have been within reach aboard the Saunders-Roe Princess.

Above all, it was a grand plane, the penultimate flying boat airliner of history.

One More Bit of Aviation History

The de Havilland Comet 1, the world’s first commercially produced jet airliner, entered in the early 1950s. From the start, design flaws resulted in a number of crashes in the first few years of the airliner’s service career. Many lives would be lost due — at first due to unknown causes. A government commission of inquiry was convened to uncover and fix the plane’s flaws and after extensive research, the findings of the commission pointed to a number of key issues to address. The one flaw that everyone points to as the most compelling was a simple one. The de Havilland designers had eschewed the common round or oval passenger windows in favor of more visually interesting square frames. The square corners of these windows were stress points that soon suffered from the effects of metal fatigue. This seemingly minor issue resulted in catastrophic inflight structural failures with the loss of all lives — the plane literally came apart in midair. In later iterations of the Comet’s design, the plane’s flaws were resolved and it would go on to fly for decades in successful commercial and military service.


Your daily aviation history files are most interesting and I look forward to them each day. I might make one suggestion, that the text on each of the Daily Stories could be a bit darker so as to make it easier to read. It is too grey in my opinion.

Watch the video: Τζορτζ Σάντερς - Το φεγγάρι και μία πεντάρα 1942 (May 2022).