Early British Float Planes
Avro 510 - 1914
The Avro 510 was a two-seat racing seaplane designed by Avro to compete in the 1914 Circuit of Britain Race. It was a conventional two-bay biplane of greatly uneven span equipped with two large central floats and two outriggers. The race was called off at the outbreak of the First World War, but the British Admiralty was aware of the type and ordered five examples, with modified floats and tail. In service, these proved completely unsuitable, and it was discovered that with a second person aboard the aircraft could barely fly. In October 1915, the 510s in service were sent to Supermarine for modification and improvement, but by March the following year all were removed from service.
Short Admiralty Type 166 - 1914
The Short Type 166 was a British two-seat seaplane designed by Short Brothers designed as a "folder" aircraft to operate from the Ark Royal as a torpedo-bomber. Six aircraft, known within Shorts as the Type A, were originally ordered before the outbreak of World War I and assigned the Admiralty serial numbers 161 to 166. As was normal at the time, the type was designated the Admiralty Type 166 after the naval serial number of the last aircraft in the batch. Sometimes the aircraft are referred to as the Short S.90 (S.90 was the manufacturer's serial number of the first aircraft, naval serial 161).
Similar to the earlier Short Type 136 but slightly larger, the 166 was designed from the start as a torpedo carrier, although it was never used in this role. The Type 166 was a two-bay biplane with twin wooden pontoon floats, with a water rudder fitted to the tail float and a stabilizing float mounted near the wing-tip under each lower wing. The 166 was powered by a nose-mounted 200hp (149kW) Salmson engine.
Sopwith Baby - 1915
The Sopwith Baby was a development of the two-seat Sopwith Schneider. Although the Schneider had won the Schneider trophy in 1914, the RNAS did not place a formal order until January 1915. The production version of the Baby differed little from the Schneider Trophy winner. The design was also built by Blackburn Aircraft, Fairey, and Parnall in the United Kingdom. In Italy licensed manufacture was undertaken by SA Aeronautica Gio Ansaldo of Turin.
The Baby was used as a shipborne scout and bomber aircraft operating from larger ships such as seaplane carriers and cruisers, and smaller vessels such as naval trawlers and mine layers. It was even considered for operation from submarines. The main role of the Baby was to intercept German Zeppelin raids as far from Britain as possible.
Fairey Campania - 1917
The Fairey Campania two-seat seaplane got its name from the ex-Cunard ocean liner Campania which the Admiralty had converted into a seaplane carrier during the winter of 1914-15. Fairey designed the Campania float plane in response to the Royal Navy's specification for a purpose-built, two-seat patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. The initial prototype first flew on 16 February 1917. This was the first of two prototypes, designated F.16 which was powered by a 250 hp (190 kW) Rolls-Royce Eagle IV. The second prototype was powered by a 275 hp (205 kW) Eagle V engine, it was designated F.17. Both prototypes would later see active service operating from Scapa Flow.