Tag Archives: Schneider Trophy

I’m leaving, on a Sea Plane, Don’t Know When I’ll be Back Again!

The Loch was calm, the sun was shining through scattered cloud and the air was still and warm as we waited for the arrival of the sea plane which was to take us on one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It had been my greatest wish to fly in a sea plane or flying boat, ever since I embarked on research for Ancasta ~ Guide me Swiftly Home three years ago.

Although Ancasta is a family saga, part of its tale is the story of the birth of Supermarine through the eyes of my main characters, Harriet and her sons. This was a Supermarine long before the Spitfire was thought of, when RJ Mitchell was designing innovative flying boats, with ever faster capabilities, in order to compete in the famous Schneider Trophy contest which first began in 1913.

While researching, I discovered Loch Lomond Sea Planes, the only company, as far as I am aware, who offer flights to the public in the whole of the UK. I mentioned it to my husband, which sewed a seed in his memory, and he bought me a pleasure trip for my birthday. What a birthday present!

To say that I was excited is an understatement. We ‘checked in’ in the grounds of the Cameron House Hotel, a stately Victorian Castle on the banks of the Loch, popular for weddings. The pilot gave out safety instructions before we settled in our allotted seats, ten people including the pilot, and he taxied out into the more open waters of Loch Lomond.

‘We’ll gain speed and the nose will dip just before we lift off the surface of the water,’ he explained.

The take off was so smooth as we glided out, and the water’s spray beneath us gathered momentum until we were gracefully sweeping up into the sky above the mountains, the swell below us sending ripples to the  water’s edge. Hills, valleys, mountains, streams, all swathed in sunlight below us. Soon we were in sight of the Western Isles; Mull just visible in the far distance and the sun on its course to set above Islay ahead of us, before we banked and turned back across the highlands.

With the mountains to our left and the lowlands of Scotland in the distance we glided in a gentle descent towards the Loch and landed on the water as smoothly as if we were icing a cake. Magic!

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Filed under Ancasta, Early Flight, Flying Boats and Sea Planes, Research

Goodwood Revival remembers The Schneider Trophy Pilots

If you were at Goodwood Revival over the weekend you would have been treated by the guest appearance of the actual plane the S6a, which flew in the contest The Schneider Trophy back in 1929. Britain had to win the contest twice in a row in order to win the trophy outright, which they did in 1931.

The observation most people make when seeing the sea plane for the first time is usually, ‘Isn’t the cock pit tiny. The pilots must have been quite small in those day.’

It was pointed out to me when I saw the plane for the first time at its usual home at ‘Solent Sky,’ the museum of flight in Southampton, that most of the pilots used to be jockeys. I’m not sure whether the man who gave me that nugget of information was pulling my leg! They were certainly full of courage and daring, whatever the truth is.

Anyway, the write up in the telegraph is excellent:

Goodwood Revival

Of course the technology to develop sea planes to such an amazing standard led  RJ Mitchell to his most famous achievement, the Spitfire, which was also celebrated in style yesterday.

Although Goodwood 2011 will be remembered  most for commemorating the Spitfire, I like to think that the Supermarine plane will remain in the hearts of those who saw it as they appreciate that, without the motivation to produce a sea plane of such quality, far advanced of other aviation of that era, the Spitfire may never have been conceived.

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Filed under Flying Boats and Sea Planes, Schneider Trophy, Southampton, Woolston

1931 – 2011 The Schneider Trophy Commemorated over Calshot

I cannot describe the commemoration flights at Calshot yesterday afternoon better than the BBC. If you follow the link below you will see footage from yesterday’s flights, when sea planes flew over the Solent and landed on the famous spit at Calshot.

You will also see remarkable footage of the famous victory flight in 1931 when Britain won the Schneider Trophy.

BBC Solent


If any photographers would like to share their photos of this event with me and give me permission to use them on my blog, then I will send the person with the best photos a signed copy of Riduna and advertise your work for free! Please send them to dianariduna@yahoo.com

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Filed under Flying Boats and Sea Planes, Schneider Trophy, Southampton, Supermarine, Weston Shore, Woolston