Canadian Warplanes 1: Fairey IIIC Transatlantic

Fairey IIIC Transatlantic

(RCAF Photo)

Fairey IIIC (Mod) Transatlantic Floatplane (1) c/n F.333, Reg. No. G-CYCF.  

Fairey IIIC, C/N F.333, Reg. No. G-CYCF was specially modified for a trans-Atlantic flight in 1919.  On 7 Oct 1920, this biplane seaplane came to grief at Whelpley's Point, 20 miles north of Saint John, New Brunswick.  It was written off as damaged beyond repair.

The Fairey III was a family of British reconnaissance biplanes that enjoyed a very long production and service history in both landplane and seaplane variants.  First flying on 14 September 1917, examples were still in use during Second World War.  The Transatlantic was powered by a Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine.

Ex-RAF N9256. Also had British civil registration G-EARS, as Fairey Trans Atlantic, from 17 March 1920. In Canada being prepared for Trans Atlantic flight, when given to Canadian Government as part of Imperial Gift. Assembled in Canada by Canadian Vickers. Flew first leg of 1920 trans-Canada flight. Original plan was for non-stop Halilfax to Winnipeg, stops planned at Ottawa and Sault St. Marie after initial tests. Lost cowling west of Saint John, New Brunswick, damaging the engine fuel line when it flew off. Further damaged during forced landed in the Saint John River, never flown by CAB again. Returned to manufacturer, who repaired and sold it, subsequent fate unknown. (CASPIR)

The only complete and intact Fairey III in existence, a Fairey IIID, is preserved in the Museu de Marinha, Naval Museum, Lisbon, Portugal.

(Author Photos)

Fairey IIID "Santa Cruz".  Portuguese naval aviators Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral flew “Santa Cruz“ in the completion of the first air crossing of the South Atlantic from Lisbon, Portugal to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1922 to mark the centennial of Brazil’s independence.

Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral took off from the waters near the famous Torre de Belém in Lisbon on 30 March 1922 and headed for Brazil.  Due to some incidents on the way, they actually used three Fairey IIID aircraft to cover the distance of 8,383 kilometres between 30 March and 17June 1922.  The first aircraft, "Lusitânia", was lost upon landing on heavy seas near Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago in Brazilian waters on 17 April 1922.  The second aircraft "Pátria" was taken by sea to the same area to recommence the journey but was lost on 11 May during an emergency ditching in the ocean.  “Santa Cruz“ was shipped out to the same area (to the waters off Fernando Noronha) and the flight recommenced on 5 June 1922 with Coutinho and Cabralto finally arriving safely aboard “Santa Cruz” in Rio de Janeiro on 17 June 1922.  The journey had taken 79 days but the crew actually only flew 62 hours and 26 minutes to complete the crossing.

(Author Photos)

Fairey IIID replica, on display near the spot in Belém where the original "Lusitânia" took off in 1922.  Monumento Comemorativo da Iª Travessia Aérea do Atlântico Sul.

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