A replica of the UK’s first successful seaplane, the Waterbird, has made its public flight.
Its take-off at Windermere marks 28 years since any seaplane has flown on the Cumbria loch, and 111 years since the original Waterbird first flew.
The event in the Lake District marks the culmination of a 13-year project to create an exact replica of the 35ft plane.
In addition to a modern engine, it faithfully recreates the details of the original and is made of wood, bamboo and wires.
In June, display and test pilot Pete Kynsey took the replica to its maiden flight in the first attempt at Windermere’s secret tests.
On Friday, it was repeated in two demonstration flights for public viewing.
Special permission was granted by the Lake District National Park Authority, including an exemption from normal speed limits on the lake.
Ian Gee, director of organizers Wings Over Windermere, said ahead of the flights: “This is an exciting opportunity to step back in history to the earliest days of aviation, when pioneers pushed the boundaries of what was possible through innovation and imagination.
“The Waterbird has a lasting legacy that revolutionized seaplane design.”
The Waterbird was the first seaplane to fly successfully in the UK.
She was commissioned by Edward Wakefield of AV Roe & Co (Avro) in Manchester, Ancoats, as a landplane and converted to a seaplane at Windermere, piloted by Herbert Stanley Adams. His initial historic flight took place on November 25, 1911.
Writer Beatrix Potter opposed noisy test flights of seaplanes near her home and campaigned to ban them.
The campaign was canceled by the government, including Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, who saw the test flights as vital to the development of the country’s air force.
The idea of making a replica was first suggested by Captain Wakefield’s great-grandson, Richard Raynsford, in a letter to The Westmorland Gazette.
Kaisad was picked up by Mr. Gee, a retired attorney who lives in South Lakeland.
Mr Gee, himself a pilot, is a director of The Lakes Flying Company, which was formed after drawings of the original designs were found in the Wakefield family archives and production of the replica aircraft began.
Ex-RAF serviceman Gerry Cooper began building the replica at Wickenby Airfield in Lincolnshire and managed a short flight from land. Mr Cooper, 80, and others have had to do the painstaking work of getting the seaplane to take off from the water.
The ultimate aim of Wings Over Windermere is to display the Waterbird at a heritage center on the shores of the lake, where it is hoped to host regular flights.
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