Felixstowe Porte Baby

From Wings of Linen
Felixstowe Porte Baby
Role Flying Boat
Manufacturer Felixstowe
Designer John C. Porte
First flight Nov 1916[1]
Primary user U.K. (RNAS)
Number built 10 [2]-11[1]
Wingspan 37.8 m (124 ft) [3]
Engine 3×250hp Rolls-Royce Eagle[note 1]
Crew 5-7
Max Speed 140 km/h (87 mph)[3] - 148 km/h (92 mph)[2]
Climb 610 m (2,000 ft) in 5:20[2]
1,500 m (5,000 ft) in 17:00[3]
2,000 m (6,500 ft) in 25:05[2]
2,700 m (9,000 ft) in 49:00[3]
Service Ceiling 2,400 m (8,000 ft) [2][3]
Endurance 9:00[3]

John C. Porte, commander of the Felixstowe naval air stations, began experiments to improve the Curtiss H-4 flying boat in 1914. Using that experience, he designed a large three-engine flying boat, dubbed with a sense of irony the Porte Baby. Ten Babies were built by Airco's subsidiary May, Harden, and May. They were flown out of Felixstowe and Killingholme and at least one was still flying in October 1918. They were relatively slow and maneuverable, though, easy prey for German seaplanes, and by October 1917 it was decided not to fly them without escort of Curtiss H-12 or Felixstowe F.2A flying boats.[2]

In one experiment, a Bristol Scout was mounted to the top wing of a Porte Baby and launched from an altitude of 1000' over Harwich.[2]

They were inspired by the Curtiss Company's plans for a three-engined flying boat. The first two were delivered in November 196 and May 1917 respectively. Eleven were delivered to service but only two were still in service at the Armistice. Those had a crew of seven and triple Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII 345hp engines.[1]

For more information, see Wikipedia:Felixstowe Porte Baby.


  1. Sometimes a 260hp Green vee-twelve was substituted for the the central engine. Later models used the 325-360hp Eagles.[2]
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nowarra, p.106.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Bruce'69, p.236.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Nowarra, pp.200-201.
  • J.M. Bruce. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. Great Britain: Funk & Wagnalls, 1957, 1969. ISBN 0370000382
  • Heinz J. Nowarra, Bruce Robertson, and Peter G. Cooksley. Marine Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Letchworth, Herts, England: Harleyford Publications Limited, 1966. ISBN 0900435070