Saunders-Roe Princess

There was one last attempt at designing a marine aircraft to keep up with land planes and revive the flying boat as the carrier of choice.  Initial design work had begun in 1945 by the Isle of Wight company Saunders Roe, when it was decided that the UK to America route would be best served by flying boats. This project carried on from the pre-war attempts made by Imperial Airways at crossing the Atlantic non-stop. The company began work on what was hoped to become the new airliner to cross the Atlantic flying from Southampton to New York. 

Designed to carry 100 passengers and cruise at 395mph (635 kmh) the Saunders Roe Princess was described as the finest flying boat ever built and a rival to the greatest liners. Three were commissioned at great expense to the taxpayer with rising costs in 1950 from the estimated £2.8 million to £10 million. Two years later one eventually flew and the sight according to observers was an impressive one, she ran high and proud in the water in front of a great cloud of spray. 

Despite the advanced fly-by-wire control technology on the aircraft being ahead of its time, this wasn’t seen as enough to persuade manufacture and the airlines decided not to order any. The flying boats were scrapped and the only completed Princess was towed up the River Itchen for demolition. The last hope of the flying boats proved to be sadly out of her time. The competition was proving to be just too great and the sight of the flying boats landing and taking off on Southampton Water was quickly to become only a memory.