After an epic battle to realise their dream, Lincolnshire Skunk Works craftsmen and the Waterbird Trust have finally had the gratification of seeing their hand built replica sea-plane take to the skies for the first time. Though only a short hop, the aircraft gracefully took off, landed and made small adjustments in the skies. This hop was the first of hopefully more air tests necessary to satisfy aviation authorities of its airworthiness – which has proved quite a challenge for this design breaking pre-WW1 aircraft, some of whose struts are made of bamboo.
The star of this restoration story, Gerry Cooper, is a successful engineer and pilot who has thousands of hours as a crop spraying pilot, aerial survey pilot and vintage aircraft ace. Along with his team of woodworkers and aircraft engineers they’ve spent thousands of man hours perfectly replicating this early twentieth century aeroplane while also incorporating painstaking and necessary design alterations that allow it to be flown as a UK certified aircraft by the CAA.
Watch this space as we plan to launch a Web TV series documenting the full story of this phenomenal build, a story we hope to see culminate with the Waterbird replica flying from Lake Windermere where the namesake aircraft was designed, built and flew over 100 years ago.
To find out more about Waterbird Trust and the original aircraft’s history in the Lake District please visit http://www.waterbird.org.uk/.