Waterbird to star at Windermere seaplane celebration

Wings over Windermere event scheduled for May

A celebration of the key role Windermere played in the development of seaplanes is to be held on England’s largest lake in mid-May. Central to the event, named Wings over Windermere, will be the airworthy replica of the UK’s first successful seaplane, the Lakes Flying Company’s Waterbird, which is due to be flown by the first female pilot ever to take off and land on the lake.

Previously the Waterbird reproduction has taken to the air in the hands of well-known warbird display pilot Pete Kynsey. On this occasion, it will be his partner Anna Walker, herself a leading exponent of historic aeroplanes on the airshow circuit, at the controls. Anna is a seaplane instructor and runs Clipper Seaplanes, the UK’s only training establishment for such aircraft.

Taxiing the Waterbird on Windermere.
Taxiing the Waterbird on Windermere. MARK WRIGHT

For its flights in 2022 — the first by a seaplane on Windermere since 1994 — the Waterbird was based on a private estate on the western side of Windermere. This year it will be located on the popular eastern side, on land next to the Windermere Jetty Museum, off Rayrigg Road, Bowness. The Rayrigg Wyke site is private and not open to the public, but between flights, visitors to the museum will be able to look across Rayrigg Wyke bay to see the Waterbird in its temporary hangar.

The Lakes Flying Company Waterbird replica climbs off Lake Windermere with Pete Kynsey at the helm.
The Lakes Flying Company Waterbird replica climbs off Lake Windermere with Pete Kynsey at the helm. MARK WRIGHT

Two other seaplanes will also be flying in and resting in the bay. The two examples of the Aviat Husky will, says Lakes Flying Company boss Ian Gee, “participate even if the replica Waterbird is subject to postponement or cancellation due to inclement weather.”

Anna Walker with the Clipper Seaplanes Aviat Husky, G-WATR, which she and Pete Kynsey will be flying to Windermere.
Anna Walker with the Clipper Seaplanes Aviat Husky, G-WATR, which she and Pete Kynsey will be flying to Windermere. VIA ANNA WALKER

Subject to the necessary approvals, and the weather, the provisional programme for Wings over Windermere is as follows:

Wednesday 10 May: In the evening, Anna Walker and Pete Kynsey arrive in their Husky seaplane.

Thursday 11 May, 07.00-09.30hrs: Practice by the replica Waterbird, based at Rayrigg Meadow, immediately to the north of the Windermere Jetty Museum.

Thursday 11 May, 08:30hrs: The second visiting Husky seaplane, owned by Jet2 captain Angus Whyte, arrives.

Thursday 11 May, 19.00-20.00hrs: Displays by the replica Waterbird and the second seaplane. The spectator area is at Brockhole on Windermere.

Friday 12 May, 19.00-20.00hrs: Displays by the replica Waterbird and the second seaplane. The spectator area is at Brockhole on Windermere. The second seaplane departs.

Saturday 13 May: In the morning, prior to 09.30hrs, the first seaplane departs.

Saturday 13 May, 10.50-14.10hrs: The replica Waterbird will be static on the lake at the Windermere Jetty Museum, where the Windermere Science Festival is being held. The main theme of the festival is Flight.

A photo taken by Herbert and Sons of the original Avro-built Waterbird overflying Windermere. It flew at least 38 times.
A photo taken by Herbert and Sons of the original Avro-built Waterbird overflying Windermere. It flew at least 38 times. VIA LAKES FLYING COMPANY

In other news, the Windermere Jetty Museum, with the support of the Lakes Flying Company, has been successful in bidding to the RAF Museum for the transfer of ownership of the original surviving Waterbird parts, including the original float and the rudder, marked A. V. Roe, although their condition means they will need skilled conservation before going on public display.

The Waterbird’s float in storage at the RAF Museum’s Stafford facility.
The Waterbird’s float in storage at the RAF Museum’s Stafford facility. BEN DUNNELL

For updates on Wings over Windermere and the project as a whole, visit https://www.waterbird.org.uk