Felixstowe F.5

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Felixstowe F.5
Felixstowe F5s in flight.jpg
Felixstowe F.5
Role Military flying boat
Manufacturer Seaplane Experimental Station (1)
Short Brothers (23)
Dick, Kerr & Co. (2)
Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company (17)
Gosport Aircraft Company (10)
Hiro Naval Arsenal (60)
Aichi (40)
Designer John Cyril Porte
First flight May 1918
Introduction 1918
Primary users Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Air Force
United States Navy (F5L)
Imperial Japanese Navy
Number built 153 (F.5); 227 (F5L)
Developed from Felixstowe F.2
Variants Felixstowe F5L
Hiro H1H

The Felixstowe F.5 was a British First World War flying boat designed by Lieutenant Commander John Cyril Porte RN of the Seaplane Experimental Station, Felixstowe.

Design and development[edit]

Porte had designed a better hull for the larger Curtiss H-12 flying boat, resulting in the Felixstowe F.2A, which was greatly superior to the original Curtiss boat. This entered production and service as a patrol aircraft. In February 1917, the first prototype of the Felixstowe F.3 was flown. This was larger and heavier than the F.2, giving it greater range and a heavier bomb load, but poorer agility. The Felixstowe F.5 was intended to combine the good qualities of the F.2 and F.3, with the prototype first flying in May 1918. The prototype showed superior qualities to its predecessors but the production version was modified to make extensive use of components from the F.3, in order to ease production, giving a lower performance than either the F.2A or F.3.[citation needed]

Operational history[edit]

The F.5 did not enter service until after the end of the First World War, but replaced the earlier Felixstowe boats (together with the Curtiss machines), to serve as the Royal Air Force's (RAF) standard flying boat until being replaced by the Supermarine Southampton in 1925.[citation needed]


Felixstowe F5L[edit]

US built version of the F.5 with two Liberty engines numbers built:

  • Naval Aircraft Factory (USA): 137
  • Curtiss Aviation (USA): 60
  • Canadian Aeroplanes Limited (Canada): 30

Short S.2[edit]

In 1924 the Air Ministry invited tenders for two hulls of modern design to suit the wings and tail surfaces of the F.5. Short Brothers submitted a proposal for an all-metal hull built of duralumin, then a largely untried and untrusted material. The aircraft was first flown on 5 January 1925 and delivered to the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe on 14 March, where it was subjected to a series of strenuous tests, including dropping the aircraft onto the water by stalling it at a height of 30 ft (9 m): the aircraft withstood all trials, and after a year an inspection revealed only negligible corrosion. This succeeded in overcoming official resistance to the use of duralumin, and led to the order for the prototype Short Singapore.[1]

Gosport Flying Boat[edit]

One of the ten RAF aircraft built by the Gosport Aircraft Company was civil registered as a Gosport Flying Boat in 1919 to appear at the First Air Traffic Exhibition at Amsterdam in August 1919.[2]

Hiro H1H[edit]

An improved Japanese version. The Hiro Naval Arsenal first licence-built the Felixstowe F.5 for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) between 1921 and 1929,[3] then produced their own variant, as the H1H. The first version, Navy Type 15 was powered by either Lorraine W-12 or BMW VII engines, the Type 15-1 had a longer wing span, whilst the Type 15-2 had four-bladed propellers. It was retired in 1938.


F.5 of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN)

 United Kingdom

 United States

 Japan - (Post-war)

Specifications (F.5)[edit]

Data from Aircraft of the Royal Air Force[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: four
  • Length: 49 ft 3 in (15 m)
  • Wingspan: 103 ft 8 in (31.6 m)
  • Height: 18 ft 9 in (5.7 m)
  • Wing area: 1,409 ft² (131 m²)
  • Empty weight: 9,100 lb (4,128 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 12,682 lb (5,753kg)
  • Powerplant: two × Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII, V-12, 345 hp (257 kW) each



  • Guns: 4 × Lewis guns (one in the nose, three amidships)
  • Bombs: Up to 920 lb (417 kg) of bombs beneath wings

See also[edit]

Related development


  1. ^ Barnes 1967, p. 197.
  2. ^ Jackson 1974, p. 342
  3. ^ "Hiro (Hirosho) Navy Type F.5 Flying-boat.". Japanese Aircraft of WWII. Japanese Aircraft of WWII. Retrieved 31 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Thetford 1979

External links[edit]