Friday 23 September 2022 05:41 PM Replica of Waterbird plane championed by Winston Churchill but destroyed in ... trends now

Friday 23 September 2022 05:41 PM Replica of Waterbird plane championed by Winston Churchill but destroyed in ... trends now
Friday 23 September 2022 05:41 PM Replica of Waterbird plane championed by Winston Churchill but destroyed in ... trends now

Friday 23 September 2022 05:41 PM Replica of Waterbird plane championed by Winston Churchill but destroyed in ... trends now

A replica of Waterbird, the UK's first successful seaplane, has made its inaugural public flight.

Its take off at Windermere marks 28 years since any seaplane has flown at the Cumbria lake and 111 years since the original Waterbird flew for the first time.

The event in the Lake District marks the climax of a 13-year-project to create an exact copy of the 35ft-long aircraft.

Apart from having a modern engine, it faithfully recreates the detail of the original and has been constructed from wood, bamboo and wires.

In June, display and test pilot Pete Kynsey took the replica on its full maiden flight, at first attempt, in secret trials on Windermere.

On Friday it was repeated for public viewing in two demonstration flights.

Special permission was granted by the Lake District National Park Authority, including an exemption from the normal speed limits on the lake.

The Waterbird's original historic flight was on November 25, 1911, before it was destroyed in a storm the following year. The historic plane was ruined when the bad weatherdestroyed the hangar it was being stored in.

Writer Beatrix Potter opposed the noisy test flights of seaplanes near her home and was involved in a campaign to have them banned.

The campaign was overruled by the Government, including the then First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, who regarded the test flights as vital to developing the nation's air forces.

A replica of Waterbird, the UK's first successful seaplane, has made its inaugural public flight. Its take off at Windermere marks 28 years since any seaplane has flown at the Cumbria lake and 111 years since the original Waterbird flew for the first time

A replica of Waterbird, the UK's first successful seaplane, has made its inaugural public flight. Its take off at Windermere marks 28 years since any seaplane has flown at the Cumbria lake and 111 years since the original Waterbird flew for the first time

The event in the Lake District marks the climax of a 13-year-project to create an exact copy of the 35ft-long aircraft

The event in the Lake District marks the climax of a 13-year-project to create an exact copy of the 35ft-long aircraft

Waterbird was commissioned by Edward Wakefield from A. V. Roe & Co ('Avro'), of Ancoats, Manchester, as a landplane and converted to a seaplane at Windermere, where the pilot was Herbert Stanley Adams. Her original historic flight was on November 25, 1911. Above: Creator Edward Wakefield, standing next to Waterbird with his pilot Herbert Stanley Adams in the cockpit

Waterbird was commissioned by Edward Wakefield from A. V. Roe & Co ('Avro'), of Ancoats, Manchester, as a landplane and converted to a seaplane at Windermere, where the pilot was Herbert Stanley Adams. Her original historic flight was on November 25, 1911. Above: Creator Edward Wakefield, standing next to Waterbird with his pilot Herbert Stanley Adams in the cockpit

Speaking ahead of the flights, Ian Gee, director of organisers Wings Over Windermere, said: 'It's a thrilling opportunity to step back in history to the very earliest days of aviation when pioneers pushed the boundaries of what was possible through innovation and imagination.

'Waterbird has a lasting legacy that transformed seaplane designs.'

Waterbird was the first seaplane to successfully fly in the UK.

She was commissioned by Edward Wakefield from A. V. Roe & Co ('Avro'), of Ancoats, Manchester, as a landplane and converted to a seaplane at Windermere, where the pilot was Herbert Stanley Adams. 

The idea of making a replica was first mooted by Richard Raynsford, the great-great nephew of Captain Wakefield, in a letter to The Westmorland Gazette newspaper.

The cudgels were taken up by retired solicitor Mr Gee, who lives in South Lakeland.

Mr Gee, himself a pilot, is director of The Lakes Flying Company, which was set up after blueprints from the original designs were found in the Wakefield family archives and work was started on making the replica plane.

Apart from having a modern engine, it faithfully recreates the detail of the original and has been constructed from wood, bamboo and wires

Apart from having a modern engine, it faithfully recreates the detail of the original and has been constructed from wood, bamboo and wires

Display and test pilot Pete Kynsey is seen at the controls of the Waterbird on Lake Windermere in the Lake District

Display and test pilot Pete Kynsey is seen at the controls of the Waterbird on Lake Windermere in the Lake District

The fabric, which was more durable than the type used in 1911, was shrunk with heat and made taut by the use of a specialist varnish called dope

The fabric, which was more durable than the type used in 1911, was shrunk with heat and made taut by the use of a specialist varnish called dope

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