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Felixstowe F.3
Felixstowe F.3
Role Military flying boat
Manufacturer Short Brothers
Dick, Kerr & Co.
Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company
Malta Dockyard
Designer J C Porte,
First flight February 1917
Introduction 1917
Primary users RNAS
US Navy
Number built 182
Developed from Felixstowe F.2
Variants Felixstowe F.5
Felixstowe F5L

The Felixstowe F.3 was a British First World War flying boat designed by Lieutenant Commander John Cyril Porte RN of the Seaplane Experimental Station, Felixstowe the successor to the Felixstowe F.2

Design and development

In February 1917, the first prototype of the Felixstowe F.3 was flown. This was a larger and heavier development of the Felixstowe F.2a, powered by two 320 hp (239 kW) Sunbeam Cossack engines.[1] Large orders followed, with the production aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Eagles. The F.3s larger size gave it greater range and heavier bomb load than the F2, but poorer speed and agility. Approximately 100 Felixstowe F.3s were produced before the end of the war, including 18 built at Malta Dockyard.[2]

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 F3, in order to ease production, giving lower performance than either the F.2a or F.3. The Felixstowe F.5 was re-exported to America, and re-engined with Liberty V-12s, becoming the Curtiss F5L.

Operational history

The larger F3, which was less popular with its crews than the more maneuverable F2a, served in the Mediterranean as well as the North Sea.


  • Canadian Air Board

Felixstowe F.3 being hauled out of the water at Kalafrana, Malta, c. 1918. F.3s were operating throughout the Mediterranean by the end of the war.

 United Kingdom
United States

Specifications (F.3)

Data from British Naval Aircraft since 1912 [3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: four
  • Length: 49 ft 2 in (14.99 m)
  • Wingspan: 102 ft (31.09 m)
  • Height: 18 ft 8 in (5.69 m)
  • Wing area: 1,432 ft² (133.03 m²)
  • Empty weight: 7,958 lb (3,610 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 12,235 lb (5,550 kg)
  • Powerplant: two × Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII V12 inline piston, 345 hp (257 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 91 mph (79 knots, 147 km/h) at 2,000 ft (610 m)
  • Service ceiling: 8,000 ft (2,438 m)
  • Wing loading: 8.54 lb/ft² (41.8 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.056 hp/lb (0.092 kW/kg)
  • Endurance: Six hours
  • Climb to 2,000 ft (610 m): 5 min 15 s
  • Climb to 6,500 ft (1,980 m): 24 min


  • Guns: 4 × Lewis guns (one in the nose, three amidships)
  • Bombs: Up to 920 lb (418 kg) of bombs beneath wings

See also


  1. Bruce 16 December 1955, p.897.
  2. Thetford 1978, p.197.
  3. Thetford 1978, p.198.

External links

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