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Maritime aviation at Melksham Probus Club

The Melksham Probus April meeting was held on 5th April at The Kings Arms Hotel, Melksham.

After another very satisfying lunch, we listened to a very interesting talkĀ  by Alan Smith, about “the Birth of Maritime Aviation”.

Maritime aviation started in 1911 around Lake Windermere. Shorts built their new factory there a year earlier in 1910. On November 11th Stanley Adams flew the planes and the first successful take-off and landing, on water, was achieved on the South Lake. The birth of planes not using runways had started. Shorts then started building further planes.

The Lakes Flying Co. came into being and trained R.A.F. pilots to use the water for take off and landing.

Shorts continued to build planes and in 1930 the first Empire Flying Boat was built. In the 1930s it flew to Australia, which took 12 days.

Shorts expanded their factories in 1941 on Lake Windermere and built 35 Sunderland Flying Boats, but unfortunately they did not appear to be successful and the last one flew in 1990.

The Commercial Industry did not seem interested due to landing and take off areas being at a premium.