In a flying boat, the main source of buoyancy is the fuselage, which acts like a ship’s hull in the water. Most flying boats have small floats mounted on their wings to keep them stable. All large seaplanes have been flying boats, their great weight supported on their hull.

Italian Flying Boats 1914

Curtiss Model F

Curtiss Model F
Curtiss Model F-4 – 1913

The Curtiss Models F made up a family of early flying boats developed in the United States in the years leading up to World War I. Widely produced, Model Fs saw service with the United States Navy under the designations C-2 through C-5, later reclassified to AB-2 through AB-5. Several examples were exported to Russia, and the type was built under licence in Italy.In Italy, the Curtiss representative Enea Bossi secured rights for local licence-production of the Type F by the Zari brothers, who built eight examples at their workshop in Bovisia, near Milan. The first of these was demonstrated to the Italian Navy on Lake Como on 22 September 1914.

In configuration, these were biplane flying boats powered by a single engine mounted amongst the interplane struts and driving a pusher propeller. The pilot and a single passenger sat side-by-side in an open cockpit. The wing cellule was derived from the Model E landplane and was of two-bay, unstaggered, equal-span construction with large ailerons mounted on the interplane struts and extending past the span of the wings themselves. The earliest examples of this design were built and sold by Curtiss in 1912 without any designation applied to them; the Model F name only coming into use the following year. Confusingly, Curtiss also used the designation Model E to refer to some early machines in this family, although these were quite distinct from Curtiss landplanes that bore this same designation and all but identical to the Model Fs.
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Curtiss Model F 1917
  • Role: Utility flying boat
  • Manufacturer:
    • Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
    • Zari Bros. – Bovisia, Italy
  • Designed by: Glenn Curtiss
  • First flight: 12 January 1912
  • Primary users:
  • United States Navy
  • Russian Navy
  • Italian Navy
  • Number built: over 150
  • Powerplant: 1 × Curtiss OXX-3 V-8, 100 hp (75 kW)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 1⅜ in (13.75 m)
  • Wing area: 387 ft² (36.0 m²)
  • Length: 27 ft 9¾ in (8.47 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 2⅞ in (3.42 m)
  • Empty weight: 1,860 lb (844 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,460 lb (1,116 kg)
  • Maximum speed: 69 mph (111 km/h)
  • Range: 851 miles (1370 km)
  • Endurance: 5 hours 30 min
  • Service ceiling: 4,500 ft (1,370 m)
  • Rate of climb: 230 ft/min (1.2 m/s) 2,300 ft (700 m): 10 min
  • Crew: Two


  1. Curtiss Model F. (2010, October 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:59, November 1, 2010, from;=390334667
  2. The Great War Society Aircraft of the A E F Curtiss F Boat Retrieved 12:59, November 1, 2010, from
  3. Virtual Aircraft Museum Curtiss Model F 1913 Retrieved 12:59, November 1, 2010, from
  4. Aerofiles Those Curtiss Boats Retrieved 12:59, November 1, 2010, from
  5. Bowers, Peter M. (1979). Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947. London: Putnam. ISBN 0 370 10029 8.
  6. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. pp. 193, 278.
  7. The Curtiss Flyleaf. Hammondsport, New York: Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Local History. 1987.
  8. World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 891 Sheet 43.

Italian Flying Boats 1916

Macchi M.3 Flying Boat

Macchi M.3 Flying Boat - 1916
Macchi M.3 Flying Boat – 1916

The Macchi L.3, or later Macchi M.3, was an Italian biplane flying boat developed from the earlier L.2.

Over 200 M.3s were built and delivered to the Italian Navy and were used on a variety of missions which including bombing, reconnaissance, patrol and escort. For a short period in 1917, it was also used as a fighter. Several aircraft were used in commando-style operations behind Austrian lines. The aircraft were highly regarded by the Italian Navy and they were used on bombing raids and pioneered the Italian use of aerial photography. After the war, the type was used by training units until 1924.
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Macchi M.3
  • Type: Biplane Flying Boat
  • Manufacturer: Macchi
  • First Flight: 1916
  • Retired: 1924
  • Primary User: Italian Navy
  • Number Built: 200
  • Wingspan: 52 ft 4 in (15.95 m)
  • Loaded Weight 2,976 lb (1,350 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Isotta-Fraschini V.4B, 160 hp (119 kW)
  • Maximum Speed: 90 mph (144 km/h)
  • Range: 239 miles (385 km)
  • Crew: 2
  • Armament:
    • Guns: 1 × Fiat machine-gun or a light cannon
    • Bombs: 4 × light bombs


  1. From Wikipedia, “”
  2. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions.
  3. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing. pp. 2392.
  4. Sapienza Fracchia, Antonio Luis: "La Contribución Italiana en la Aviación Paraguaya”. Author’s edition. AsunciÓn, 2007. 300pp.

Italian Flying Boats 1917

Macchi M.5

Macchi M.5 - 1917
Macchi M.5 – 1917

The Macchi M.5 was an Italian single-seat fighter flying boat designed and built by Macchi-Nieuport at Varese. It was extremely manoeuvrable and agile and matched the land-based aircraft it had to fight.

The first prototype of a single-seat sesquiplane fighter was the Type M which first flew in 1917. Developed by engineers Buzio and Calzavera it had single-step hull and an open cockpit forward of the wings and was similar to the earlier Macchi M.3. It was followed by another prototype with a revised tail unit designated the Ma and further developed as the M bis and Ma bis.
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Macchi M.5
  • Type: Single-seat fighter flying boat
  • Designed By: Buzio and Calzavera
  • Manufacturer: Macchi-Nieuport
  • First flight: 1917
  • Introduced: 1917
  • Primary user: Italian Navy Aviation
  • Number Built: 244
  • Powerplant: 1 × Isotta-Fraschini V.4B inline piston engine, 160 hp (119 kW)
  • Wingspan: 39 ft 0½ in (11.90 m)
  • Wing Area: 301.4 ft² (28 m²)
  • Length: 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 4½ in (2.85 m)
  • Empty Weight: 1,587 lb (720 kg)
  • Loaded Weight: 2,183 lb (990 kg)
  • Maximum Speed: 117 mph (189 km/h)
  • Endurance: 3 hours 40 min
  • Service Ceiling: 20,340 ft (6,200 m)
  • Crew: 1
  • Armament: 2 × fixed, forward-facing 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns


  1. From The Great War Society, “”
  2. From Wikimedia, Macchi M.5 “”
  3. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions.
  4. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). Orbis Publishing.