It is may be too late to record the full story of the forty-two - nearly forty-three - Empire flying-boats. Although some small scraps the 'boats exist, none of the aircraft themselves have survived. So much about them as already vanished and so many of those who knew them are no longer here. For all practical purposes the drawings and most the calculations have gone up in smoke and unless someone, somewhere has a hitherto undiscovered hoard of prints, they too seem to have all disappeared.
The Empire flying-boats had a highly respectable pedigree. They were designed and built by the world's first aircraft manufacturing company, led by one of the pioneers of metal construction for aircraft, Oswald Short, now seemingly forgotten. Oswald short and Francis Webster designed the world's first metal-hulled flying-boat - the minute Cockle. Arthur Gouge, with an apparently faultless eye for a flying-boat hull, succeeded Webber as Chief Designer, to design the Singapore I and set the line of ancestry that led to the Empire hull. The Seaplane Works at Rochester built twenty-seven flying boats of eight different designs from the launch of the Singapore I in August 1926, to the roll out of the first Empire boat ten years later.
The Empire Boats were to carry the mail and for the first chapter of their history they did so. The sections of this book outlining the operations of the boats on the Empire Air Mail Service and later on the Horseshoe Route and their wartime exploits are no more than notes. A fully expanded account is needed to complete this corner of aviation history.
To the knowledge of the author, he has never seen an Empire Boat. Without the help of those who knew the Empire Boat inside and out, there would have been little to add to their story.
Condition: Some text on the inside page, good condition for a copy that has been read but remains clean, some creases on the back cover, on the end of the back cover a small edge of the plastic as uplifted. On one of the index pages it has some references highlighted (please see photographs).
Approx. 210 pages with diagrams and b/w photographs within the text.