Database: Curtiss H-12

DEVELOPMENT

For the Royal Naval Air Service’s first large waterborne aircraft, Britain looked across the Atlantic

A rendering of a decidedly weathered H-12B, N4337, sporting the ‘C’ station identifier for its Calshot base.
CHRIS SANDHAM-BAILEY
Unarmed US Navy H-12B BuNo A-767 at speed while serving at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on 24 November 1918. A-767 was finally deleted in July 1919.
US NAVY

At the outbreak of the First World War, Britain’s Royal Naval Air Service had only a few waterborne aircraft, mostly floatplanes. All were small, light and unarmed. But following an intense development eff ort, early 1917 saw the introduction into RNAS service of a large maritime machine weighing more than 9,000lb, twin-engined, equipped with multiple machine guns and able to carry substantial bomb loads over long distances. Th is was the Curtiss H-12 flying boat, imported from the United States to help combat Germany’s U-boats around Britain’s coastline.

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