Supermarine Southampton: an R.J. Mitchell first?

From the Singapore and Southampton through to the Short Empire

Supermarine Southampton: an R.J. Mitchell first?

Postby Schneiderspit » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:22 pm

Was Mitchell the first designer of large flying-boats to employ an upswept rear fuselage – as per the attached copy of my painting of the Supermarine Southampton MarkI?
Earlier small ’boats often had quite slender, elegant upsweeps, as in the Grigorovich machines of World War I and the FBA and Latham LI aircraft of the Schneider Cup competitions of 1914 and 1923 respectively.
However, the large Felixstowe, American derived, ’boats essentially had a flat dorsal fuselage line with an upwardly tapered underside.

The Southampton predecessor, the Swan, needed an upward slope, top and bottom, to raise the empennage well above water level, without the structural problems of mounting the large tailplane etc. half-way up the fin. Curtiss and Sikorsky moved to the employment of "canoe" hulls with the empennage attached to booms subtended from the wings and supported well away from the water by girders from the hull.

Does anyone know of a large flying boat employing the elegant Southampton curve before Mitchell? (First flight of Southampton I – 10 March, 1925).

Or can we credit him with a first? Comments/queries to:
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Re: Supermarine Southampton: an R.J. Mitchell first?

Postby schneiderman » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:02 pm


It may not actually have been the first, as you say the Latham L1 is similar, but he did patent the concept in 1924.

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