|Curtiss F5L patrol plane at Pensacola Naval Air Station|
|Role||Military flying boat|
|Manufacturer||Naval Aircraft Factory (137)|
Curtiss Aircraft (60)
Canadian Aeroplanes Limited (30)
|Designer||John Cyril Porte|
|First flight||15 July 1918|
|Primary users||United States Navy|
Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company (Aeromarine 75)
|Variants||Naval Aircraft Factory PN|
The twin-engine F5L was one of the Felixstowe F series of flying boats developed by John Cyril Porte at the Seaplane Experimental Station, Felixstowe, England, during the First World War for production in America.
A civilian version of the aircraft was known as the Aeromarine 75.
Porte had taken the Curtiss H-12, an original design by the American Glenn Curtiss and developed them into a practical series of flying boats at the Felixstowe station. They then took their F.5 model and further redesigned it with better streamlining, a stronger hull using veneer instead of doped linen and U.S.-built 330 hp (later 400 hp) Liberty 12A engines. The prototype was built and tested in England and the design then taken over by the Naval Aircraft Factory, Philadelphia, where further modifications were made to suit their production methods under wartime conditions. The American-built version was also known as the Curtiss F5L and (in civilian operation) as the Aeromarine 75.
The F5L entered USN service at the end of the war and was the U.S. Navy's standard patrol aircraft until 1928, when it was replaced by the PN-12. In civil service, named the Aeromarine 75, the Felixstowe F5L could accommodate 10 passengers and was operated by Aeromarine Airways on flights from Key West to Havana, carrying the first U.S. Post Office international air mail on flights from New York City to Atlantic City, and from Cleveland to Detroit.
On 13 January 1923, the Aeromarine Airways Aeromarine 75 Columbus suffered engine failure during a flight from Key West to Havana and landed in the Florida Strait. Buffeted by 10-to-15-foot (3-to-4.5-metre) waves, its hull began to fill with water. Four passengers died, but the ferry ship H. M. Flagler saved the other three passengers and both crew members.
Both a hull and float from a US Navy F5L are preserved at the National Air and Space Museum (Smithsonian). The hull is only partially skinned with wood to reveal structure. Both artefacts are presently in storage and not available for public display.
Data from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era