What Happened To Giant Flying Boats? Saunders-Roe Princess Story | Summary and Q&A

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February 14, 2020
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What Happened To Giant Flying Boats? Saunders-Roe Princess Story

TL;DR

Flying boats were once considered the future of air travel, offering luxury and safety, but ultimately lost out to land-based airliners.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why did flying boats lose popularity in the post-WWII era?

The decline of flying boats can be attributed to several factors. First, land-based bombers used during the war proved the long-range capabilities of land planes. Additionally, the construction of new airports with concrete runways made it easier for land-based airliners to operate. Flying boats also required more maintenance and training for pilots, making them less profitable for airlines.

Q: What were the advantages and disadvantages of flying boats compared to land-based airliners?

Flying boats offered advantages such as the ability to land on water, making them accessible to remote areas. They were also seen as more comfortable and safer for long-haul flights. However, flying boats had disadvantages including heavier and less aerodynamic designs, difficulties in pressurization, and exposure to corrosive saltwater, leading to higher maintenance costs.

Q: Why did Saunders-Roe remain committed to flying boats despite their decline in popularity?

Saunders-Roe believed that flying boats still had advantages in terms of size, safety, and ease of operation in areas without infrastructure. The company launched an extensive marketing campaign to promote the Princess flying boat and tried to argue that land-based aircraft had been wrongly favored. However, their efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

Q: What happened to the Princess flying boats and Saunders-Roe?

After failing to find buyers, the Princess flying boats were placed in long-term storage and eventually dismantled. Saunders-Roe shifted to other fields and eventually merged with another British aircraft builder. The era of flying boats came to an end, and land-based airliners took over as the preferred choice for air travel.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • In the 1930s, flying boats emerged as a viable option for air travel, especially in areas with limited airports and runways.

  • Flying boats were seen as luxurious and safe, with the ability to land on water in case of emergencies.

  • Despite the advancements made by the Princess flying boat and Saunders-Roe's ambitious designs, land-based airliners eventually became more profitable and popular, leading to the decline of flying boats.

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