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Flying Boats

Southampton's relationship with flying boats and seaplanes stretched over forty-five years of exciting developments in aviation, leading to the founding of the first national airline.
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Beginnings

In the pioneer period of aviation aircraft could not be considered reliable and a landing on water was a softer option than land. Read about the beginnings of marine aviation in Southampton.
 Town Quay And Flying Boat
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1924 Supermarine Royal visit  Supermarine

Find out about the small company that made an impact on the world aviation stage.  First to start commercial flights across the channel and winner of the Schneider Trophy outright for Great Britain.
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BMANC to Imperial Airways

Discover the history of how the first national airline came to life and how it expanded its flying boat operation carrying mail for the price of a stamp all over the British Empire.  
 Empire Air Mail Scheme
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'Bristol' in camouflage  BOAC and WW2

In this section discover what the outbreak of World War Two meant for Southampton and the flying boats, the change from Imperial Airways to BOAC and the company’s move to Poole in Dorset during the war years.
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Aquila to the end

The decline of Southampton's relationship with flying boats began with the withdrawal of B.O.A.C.  Discover how Aquila Airways tried to keep it alive and what caused it to eventually end. 

 Aotearoa II in flight
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