The Sopwith Aircraft Company was at the forefront of producing aircraft capable of operation on water. This is not surprising given that Tommy Sopwith, the pioneer British aviator, was also a keen yachtsman and power boat racer. In 1912 and inspired by Rudyard Kipling he started to design a flying boat called a Bat Boat. The first attempt, using an S E Saunders hull and Sopwith wings was abandoned and never flew. Another Bat Boat was built using a different design but despite the efforts of both Sopwith and Hawker, was not a success. A further attempt had happier results. It used a 100hp Green engine and an amphibious undercarriage. On July 8 this aircraft won the Mortimer Singer Prize of £500 for a flight in an amphibian aircraft, Britain’s first flying boat and the world’s first practical amphibian.
Further designs resulted in a couple of 2 seat tractor seaplanes being built. The 1913 Circuit of Britain Waterplane was a two seat tandem biplane fitted with floats and a 100hp Green engine of 6 cylinders inline. Although hurriedly built, it covered over 1,000 miles before an unhappy mistake led to its destruction and, unfortunately few details of the construction of this one-off aircraft exist but the engine was salvaged and used in the prototype 807 seaplane for the Admiralty. Sopwith built 12 of this design.
|Aircraft||Sopwith Waterplane||Catalina G-PBYA|
|Wingspan||49 feet 6 inches||104 feet|
|Wing area||500 sq feet||1400 sq feet|
|Length||31 feet||63 feet 10 inches|
|Height||8 foot 6 inches||18 foot 10 inches|
|Engine||100Hp Green 6 cylinder inline||2 x Pratt &Whitney R1830 1200Hp each|
|Fuel||50 Imp Gallons||1458 Imp Gallons|
|Oil||?||40 Imp gallons|
|Crew||Pilot & Mechanic||Captain, Co-Pilot & Crew Chief|