Automatic Landing Device for Flying Boats

From Curtiss through to the Felixstowe 'boats

Automatic Landing Device for Flying Boats

Postby Queenie1911 » Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:20 pm

I have found various references to an automatic landing device invented by my grandfather, Major A.Q. "Queenie" Cooper DSC AFC, while serving with the RNAS at Felixstowe in WW1. J.M Bruce describes it in Part 2 of his article 'The Felixstowe Flying-Boats' in Flight magazine (1955) and T.D Hallam describes it in the last chapter of 'The Spider Web'. In Bruce's words "it consisted of a long arm which trailed below the aircraft in flight and was connected to the pilot's control column by an elastic linkage. The aircraft was flown at a shallow gliding angle, and when the trailing arm struck the water its movement was transmitted to the control column in such a way that the flying-boat flattened out". Apparently it was designed for landings at night and in poor visibility, when it was very difficult for the pilot to gauge the height of the aircraft above the water.

According to Bruce it was tested on a Felixstowe F.3 at the Isle of Grain and according to Sturtivant and Page it was also tested on a Curtiss H.4 (serial number 3560), a Curtiss H.16 (N4060), and a Phoenix P.5 Cork flying boat (N86). They describe the device tested on the F.3 as the 'Cooper "autoflare" landing stick device'.

Does anyone have any more information about this device, such as whether it was ever tested on any other aircraft and whether it was ever fitted as standard on any production aircraft?
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Re: Automatic Landing Device for Flying Boats

Postby dogsbody » Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:58 pm

"What young man could possibly be bored
with a uniform to wear,
a fast aeroplane to fly,
and something to shoot at?"
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Re: Automatic Landing Device for Flying Boats

Postby Queenie1911 » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:04 pm

Hi dogsbody,

Yes, that's the article from which I quoted J.M. Bruce. I was hoping for some additional information about the device and ideally some photos of it. Are you aware of anything?

Queenie1911
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Re: Automatic Landing Device for Flying Boats

Postby schneiderman » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:24 am

Nothing in Major Mayo's material in the RAeC collection and no patent, unlike his servo motor in both cases.
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Re: Automatic Landing Device for Flying Boats

Postby Queenie1911 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:45 pm

Thanks for checking. It's interesting that he didn't patent the landing device. Perhaps it wasn't considered very useful, unlike the servo motor. I would love to see a photo of the landing device fitted to a flying boat. I bet such photos exist.
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