Friday, July 29, 2011

Britain - 1917 Port Victoria P.V.9

Britain's Final Float Plane

TGIF you say? Well here we are. Another Friday and we are looking forward to the end of another week. I hope you have a great weekend.

Today I am continuing with the aircraft developed by the RNAS Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot at Port Victoria. This is the last float plane of the development arc they produced. Britain changed naval aviation concept and moved to naval planes launched by the new batch of ships converted into earlier carriers. Unlike the Germans who continued producing several line of successful float planes; British float plane development ended in 1917.

The Port Victoria P.V.9 was a British single-seat biplane float plane fighter of the First World War. Although claimed to be the best aircraft of its type yet to be tested, only a single prototype was built.

In mid-1917, the RNAS Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot at Port Victoria on the Isle of Grain was instructed to build a new single-seat float plane fighter as a possible replacement for the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS)'s Sopwith Babys. The new aircraft was to combine the good maneuverability and pilot view of Port Victoria's earlier P.V.2 float plane with superior speed.

Like the P.V.2, the new design, the Port Victoria P.V.9 was a single-engined sesquiplane (i.e. a biplane with its lower wing much smaller than its upper wing) braced with faired steel tubes. The fuselage, wider than that of the P.V.2, was mounted between the upper and lower wings, almost filling the inter-wing gap, giving an excellent view for the pilot. Armament was a Vickers machine gun synchronized to fire through the propeller disc, with a Lewis gun mounted above the upper wing firing over the propeller. Power was provided by a Bentley BR1 rotary engine. While the designers had hoped to use the same high-lift aerofoil section as used in the P.V.2, this was rejected by the Admiralty, who demanded the use of the more conventional RAF 15 aerofoil, which resulted in a larger aircraft with a reduced climb rate and ceiling.

The P.V.9 made its maiden flight in December 1917, but trials were delayed by engine troubles and by a collision of the aircraft with a barge, which resulted in a propeller not matched properly to the aircraft being fitted, further reducing performance. Despite this, when the P.V.9 was officially tested in May 1918, the P.V.9 was said to be the best seaplane fighter tested up to that time. No production followed, however, as the availability of Sopwith Pup and Camel land planes which could operate from platforms aboard ships, removed the requirement for a float plane fighter.


  1. "Port Victoria P.V.9". (2010, September 18). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:02, November 9, 2010, from
  2. "Port Victoria P.V.9 1917" Virtual Aircraft Museum Retrieved 00:03, November 9, 2010, from
  3. "Port Victoria PV.9" (in Russian)
  4. Bruce, J.M. British "Aeroplanes 1914-18". London:Putnam, 1957.
  5. Collyer, David. "Babies Kittens and Griffons". Air Enthusiast, Number 43, 1991. Stamford, UK:Key Publishing. ISSN 0143 5450. pp. 50-55.
  6. Mason, Francis K. "The British Fighter since 1912". Annapolis, Maryland:Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.

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