Allied Powers

Great Britian

Sopwith Baby
Sopwith Baby – 1915

The Baby was used as a shipborne scout and bomber aircraft operating from larger ships such as seaplane carriers and cruisers, and smaller vessels such as naval trawlers and minelayers. It was even considered for operation from submarines. The main role of the Baby was to intercept German Zeppelin raids as far from Britain as possible.



The SPAD S.XIV was a single-seat French biplane seaplane fighter aircraft built by Société Pour L’Aviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD) and flown by the French Navy during World War I.


Grigorovich M-16
Grigorovich M-16 In Estonian Colors

The Grigorovich M-16 was a reconnaissance floatplane used by both the Russian Empire and Estonia Airforce during World War 1.

United States of America

Curtiss Model HA-2 - 1918
Curtiss HA-2 – 1918

The Curtiss HA (sometimes Dunkirk Fighter) was an American biplane seaplane designed by Captain B.L. Smith of the United States Marine Corps, and built by Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company.

Central Powers


Junkers CLS.I - 1918
Junkers CLS.I – 1918

Like the other Junkers designs of the period, the aircraft featured a metal framework that was skinned with corrugated duralumin sheets. Three examples were built as floatplanes under the designation CLS.I (factory designation J 11).

Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 - 1918
Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 – 1918

The Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 was a German monoplane fighter floatplane manufactured by Hansa und Brandenburgische Flugzeug-Werke, which served in 1918 in the closing months of World War I. The fighter was deployed from bases on the North Sea coast.

Table of Contents

Float Plane Overview

A floatplane is essentially a development of land-based aircraft, with floats mounted under the fuselage instead of a wheeled landing gear. Floatplanes are traditionally more popular than flying boats for small aircraft designs, since it permits a single piston engine to be installed at the nose of the fuselage. This could be done on flying boats only by mounting the engine high above the fuselage. The fuselages of floatplanes are typically more aerodynamic than flying boats; while the large floats underneath the fuselages add extra drag and weight to floatplanes, rendering them less manoeuvrable during flight than their land-based counterparts. The installation of the floats resulted in a loss of speed, slower rate of climb and increased empty weight.

A floatplane has slender pontoons mounted under the fuselage. Two floats are common, but other configurations are possible. Only the “floats” of a floatplane normally come into contact with water. The fuselage remains above water.

Some small land aircraft can be modified to become float planes and in general floatplanes are small aircraft. Floatplanes are limited by their ability to handle wave heights typically greater than 12 inches (0.31 m). These float pontoons add to the empty weight of the airplane, and to the drag coefficient, resulting in reduced payload capacity, slower rate-of-climb and slower cruise speed.

Seaplane Tenders

French Tenders

The first seaplane carrier, the French Foudre in 1912.

British Tenders

HMS Hermes
HMS Hermes at Simon’s Bay, Coronation Day, 1911.
HMS Empress
HMS Empress was a First World War Royal Navy seaplane carrier.

Russian Tenders

Emperor Nikolai I
Emperor Nikolai I attacked the port of Zonguldak. Among other damage they sank the Turkish collier Jamingard.

German Tenders

Santa Elena
The German seaplane tender "Santa Elena", a small converted merchant ship, active in the Baltic Sea during the First World War.