Aeroplane Monthly 1991-09
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J.Bruce - The Sopwith Bat-Boats (2)
A relatively rare shot of a Salmson (Canton-Unne)-powered Bat-Boat in flight.
The Naval Wing’s first Bat-Boat after its arrival at Brighton on August 23, 1913. Moored out overnight, it was found to be sinking next morning, and well-intentioned efforts to bring it ashore only brought about its destruction.
The Mortimer Singer Bat-Boat later went to the Naval Wing of the RFC with its wheels removed and its Austro-Daimler engine reinstated. It is seen here at Calshot Naval Air Station with its serial number 118 on the rudders. Also noteworthy are the twin fixed fins that had been fitted by May 18, 1914, and the CAV headlight that was first tried out in a night flight made by Lt A. W. Bigs worth RN on June 25.
This photograph of the amphibious twin-rudder Bat-Boat that won the Mortimer Singer prize on July 8, 1913, was taken at Folly. As the engine appears to be an Austro-Daimler driving a Levasseur propeller, this may be an early photograph. Features of this historic aircraft were its ailerons, one-piece elevator and its landing wheels, seen here in the raised position. At this time there were no interplane struts between the forward ends of the tailbooms.
The twin-boom Bat-Boat in the form in which it won the Mortimer Singer prize, with a 100 h.p. Green engine replacing the Austro-Daimler.
In this closer view of No 118 the starboard bearing for the shaft that had carried the landing wheels may be seen on the hull side immediately below the elevator actuating lever. The engine had no vestige of cowling or fairing and was flanked by two large radiator surfaces, and interplane struts had been fitted between the points where the tailbooms met the rear spars.
This single-rudder Bat-Boat was the first to serve with the Naval Wing and must have been the first to be allotted the serial number 38, a marking that was never painted on. Here it is seen off Netley on August 16, 1913.
Presumably taken shortly after the original No 38 was delivered to the Naval Wing, this photograph clearly illustrates the side-by-side positions of the crew.