Felixstowe F.2A

The Felixstowe F.2A was a first-rate flying boat that gave sterling service to Britain’s Royal Naval Air Service on anti-submarine and maritime patrol missions. It derived from the Curtiss H2 “Large America” flying boats supplied to the Royal Navy in early 1917. These American aeroplanes were excellent flyers, but the hull was structurally weak. Squadron Commander John Porte of the Royal Naval Air Station at Felixstowe, Suffolk, designed a more efficient and seaworthy hull that was fitted to the H.12 the resulting new aircraft went into production as the F.2A.
Armed with four to seven machine-guns and a pair of 230lb bombs, F.2As destroyed many German submarines and airships during long patrols over the North Sea and other home waters. With some adaptation, an F.2A could carry sufficient fuel to patrol for more than
nine hours; however, it suffered from a weak fuel system, often leading its crews to put down in the “drink”.
Enemy seaplane fighters found that, despite its size, the flying boat was a surprisingly agile and tough opponent in air-to-air combat. In
the summer of 1918, to prevent them from being mistakenly attacked by their own side, North Sea F.2As were given eve-catching “dazzle” paint schemes.

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