THAMES CARRIER

In November 1958, what was then the smallest ‘aircraft carrier’ yet seen on the River Thames appeared in Chiswick, and — with the help of a Westland Whirlwind — demonstrated the versatility of a fine bit of British engineering

Ben Dunnell explores The Aeroplane’s outstanding archives to cast new light on past stories

Whirlwind Srs1 G-APDY about to make its first touchdown on the Storey Uniflote ferry, mid-Thames at Chiswick.
ALL PHOTOS AEROPLANE

Some things just can’t be improved upon. Aviation is full of examples. Take the very different cases of the Douglas DC-3, the Cessna 172 and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. All of them have evolved, of course, but these veteran machines remain relevant and in service to this day. The same is true across the whole world of industrial design. Sometimes, a product comes about that it’s virtually impossible to better. The Uniflote pontoon system has now been around for more than 60 years — not quite as long as the B-52, and a good deal less than the DC-3 — but it remains one of the best offerings available in its field.

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