Supermarine Stranraer
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Supermarine Stranraer

Designed to the same specification, R. 24/31, as the Saro London, the Supermarine Stranraer twin-engine biplane flying-boat survived in service slightly longer than the other, and was generally preferred by those crews who were able to compare the two types. The prototype, originally known as the Singapore V, was powered by Bristol Pegasus HIM radials driving two-blade wooden propellers and first flew in mid-1935, but was immediately renamed Stranraer. It also underwent comparative trials with the London on No. 210 Squadron in October and November 1935, during which it was found to be somewhat underpowered. Production deliveries of aircraft powered by a pair of Pegasus X radials driving a three-blade Fairey Reed metal propeller started December 1936, and the type was declared operational in April the following year with No. 228 Squadron at Pembroke Dock, remaining with this squadron until April 1939, In December 1938 Stranraers joined No. 209 Squadron at Felixstowe, and later moving to Invergordon and Oban for patrols over the North Sea until supplanted by the ill-fated Lerwick the following year. No, 240 Squadron was the only other RAF Coastal Command squadron to fly the Stranraer, converting to the aircraft in June 1940 at Pembroke Dock for short-range patrol work over the Western Approaches; the Stranraers were eventually replaced by Catalina 'boats in March 1941, Although RAF Stranraers did not serve at overseas stations, a total of 40 aircraft was licence-built by Canadian-Vickers between 1939 and 1941, and served in the coastal reconnaissance/anti-submarine role with the RCAF until finally replaced by the Consolidated Canso (Catalina) during 1943.

Supermarine Stranraer

 ENGINE2 x Bristol Pegasus X, 652kW
    Take-off weight8600 kg18960 lb
    Empty weight5100 kg11244 lb
    Wingspan25.91 m85 ft 0 in
    Length16.71 m55 ft 10 in
    Height6.63 m22 ft 9 in
    Wing area135.36 m21457.00 sq ft
    Max. speed266 km/h165 mph
    Cruise speed169 km/h105 mph
    Ceiling5640 m18500 ft
    Range1600 km994 miles
 ARMAMENT3 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 450kg of bombs

Supermarine Stranraer

Jolly Fucker, 14.02.2018

Anyone know where they were stationed in Scotland?

Bill Bambrick, 31.12.2016

I have a detailed 3-view drawing of the Stranny, complete with an itemized list of interior parts. I don't know how it would send over the net, but I'll try, if anyone is interested. I built a 1/12 scale model of the plane, and gave it to the Air Museum at Boise idaho (Gowen Field), but I doubt that they know anything about it, and let it rest in a corner of their hangar, gathering dust.

Murray Kriner, 25.12.2016

Appreciated the brief historical content, and personal comments, on what has become an albatross in British Aviation History. Still have a styrene model kit of this beautiful float plane, but always wished to find a set of scale drawings to build her in a larger scale in scruce rather. Thank you for the enjoyable article. Merry Christmas.

JOHN MANTOVA, 22.04.2016

I'm given to understand that the engines were given UPTHRUST somewhat unwwually. I believe this was 5o correct a pendulum effect. Can anyone confirm and explain this? Regards John Mantova

Sol Litman, 15.02.2015

Working at Cdn Vickerrs, Montreal. We helped cut out the mahogany wooden props for this aircraft. These props were 6 ft long and each engine had 2.Which made them 4 bladed not 3. This was in 1938 to 1942. I left to join the Cdn. Army and went overseas. If anyone has drawings of these props I would appreciate a copy, Many thanks Sol

Robin Luxmoore, 11.01.2015

A stranraer crash somewhere near Yellowknife in the 1950s. It had landed on a lake and was attempting to take off with a canoe attached. It hit the trees and burst into flames. No survivors. I remember meeting the pilot sometime earlier. He was a delightful character who wore a seaman's hat.

Murray, 21.06.2014

Here is some more of what I recall of the Hal's story as told on the Bob Fortune show:
The one about them being intercepted by jets from the McCord field near Seattle was fascinating. Whenever it was socked in over the top of Vancouver Island, the Strannies that had visited some place like Zabellos or Tahsis on the westcoast would have to fly down around the southern tip of the island to get to Vancouver, because they were not equipped with instrument flying (as note above, they were considered already obsolete when they were first manufactured). So whenever they did this, it would create a huge blip on the US radar (cold war years) and they would send out interceptors, who would come in, flaps down, trying to match the speed of this ancient beast, and mess up the air, making it uncomfortable and difficult to fly the Stranny. So the ex-pilot who was telling the story, decides to tell them to get lost, hooks a seat belt line to his waist, climbs down under the dash board, carrying a Dixy Cup tube (box) on which he has written two messages. HE opens up the front hatch. pops out waves at one of the pilots and shows him the messages written on a couple of sides.
Several months later, finds himself in a bar in the eastern states, (I think it was Detroit) talking to an American forces pilot. Somehow, this guy finds out he is from the west coast and says that he has a pal flying out of McCord field, who has been feeding him the damnedest tales about weird aircraft out there. "They got this big flying boat with a wing way up on top of it, and then there's another wing about 15 ft up above that!" So the Canadian whips out his wallet, pulls out a picture of his favourite Stranny, and says "You mean like this?? " The American looks at it in wonder, and says: "Yo' grandpappy fly that thang boy?" "No I fly it!" Yank, (looking entirely incredulous) "You boys from out west sure do tell some wild stories!!!"
Oh, and another part of the story was that the Yank reported about this guy popping out of the hatch with a sign that read: "HI THERE!" and then it was flipped around to say "BUZZ OFF"!
To which the Canadian corrected him and said: No, I wrote it and actually it said "FUCK OFF"!
"You boys from out west sure do tell some strange stories!!!"

Murray, 18.06.2014

The interview referred to by Hal (above) was probably the one on the old Bob Fortune show on the CBC.. He interviewed several pilots who had flown the Strannies, and they had fascinating tales of their incredible flying accumen. One was that you could come in 50 ft above the water, cut the engines, and make a complete 180 deg. turn and land.
Another was about a Strannie flying from Dartmouth over the Atlantic having engine trouble and having to set down on a very rough sea. The first thing the crew did was get out and kick the fabric off the lower wing to make sure it did not get caught by a wave and turn turtle. Then they put out a distress call which resulted in a Catalina being sent to their rescue. After the Strannie crew had rescued the crew from the Catalina, which promptly sank, they managed to fire up the Strannie engines again, and then taxied all the way back to Dartmouth, where the lower wing had to be re-fabriced before it went back in service.

Another story told was about a prank you could pull on a copilot.  The Strannie had fore and aft hatches (like a boat, naturally) and if you had a new copilot, you could tell him you wanted a break -- just keep her on course, and maintain the altitude -- these things had top speed only about 150 knots, cruising speed about 85 knots I think.  Then you could go thru the cabin and out to the rear hatch where, when you opened it you could access the rear ailerons and if you pushed down on them, the plane would start to nose down, requiring the copilot to haul back on the stick, so you could push harder and harder until the copilot was reefing on the stick just as hard as he could trying to maintain trim and altitude.  Then when you let go the plane go soaring up on a sudden short climb, and when you went back to the cockpit, you could look askance at your copilot, as if he was not doing a very good job! 
That brief story by Hal, above, by the way, was highly embellished on that show and truely fascinating. I saw the show twice on the TV. If anyone has any influence with the CBC and can get that show released and loaded onto UTube, it would be wonderful to see again. It was truely priceless!

Hal, 15.01.2012

I saw an interview with one of the crew that flew along the BC coast on TV several years ago. They strayed a little too close to US air space. Of course the plane created a large radar report and the US air force scrambled a couple of jets. The jets couldn't fly as slow as the Stranraer so they almost stalled while trying to communicate to the crew. Finally one of the Stranraer crew climbed to the hatch in the nose of the plane. He had made up a sign to communicate with the jets. The sign simply said, "F.. Off". Of course being an aircrew story it was probably embellished a bit.

Richard, 12.08.2011

The editorial doesn't mention it, but 240 Sq equipped with Stranraers were actually based on Loch Ryan at RAF Wig Bay just five miles from the seaport of Stranraer in Scotland, for a few months between 1940-41, where the aircraft was named after. The top picture is a wartime Supermarine Stranraer about to land on Loch Ryan.

Harmen Kooyman, 10.07.2011

The Stranreaer aircraft always had me fascinated. It was in the fifties when I worked up the coast of British Columbia and saw them often. I had only one ride in it and landing on choppy water which was the condition at the time,the noise when it hit was something else and where my feet were the floor was bobbing up and down hard enough to break one's ankle. (exaggerated of course) It felt much more comfortable to keep my feet off the floor.
Another incident with the aircraft was in 1955 when I went in my runabout powered by a 16hp Scott Atwater from Jumbo Island at the mouth of Knight inlet to Minstrel Island. There was a very strong Southeaster blowing at the time and the best route for me was to cross the inlet and continue in the lee of Village Isl. and Turnour Isl. As I crossed the inlet the Stranraer was nearly overhead and seemed to stay there for a long time bucking the wind. When I got to Minstrel Island the aircraft had just landed, but I was first at the dock. They were not an aircraft noted for speed.

Neil Bevan, 04.04.2011

I am looking for scale drawings to build a flying r/c model
If anyone can help?

Joe Deprest, 02.10.2010

Dear Mr. Bryan Lacey

In 1955 I flew in one of these planes on my way to Beaver cove for a job as boomman. I believe shortly after my flight it crashed. It was called the Tahsis Queen. If you have any information about this crash or the date when it occurred I would realy appreciate it.

Thank you


Bryan Lacey, 18.02.2010

I emigrated to Canada in 1949 and worked up in the logging camps and at a sawmill at Telegraph Cove on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Queen Charlotte Airlines flew Stranraers up and down the B.C. coast. The travel time prior to their use was about 22 hours by Union Steamships and they cut it to two hours. They flew in between the mountains over the ocean along the Inland passage. Low clouds, driving rain in the winter, but I never heard of an accident or problem,they always made it through. They flew north from Vancouver to Alert Bay and I believe up to Prince Rupert which is over 400 miles, I believe. They are mentioned on page 80, in a book (Raincoast Chronicles)written by a acquaintence Pat Wastell Norris. The book was published in 1995 by Harbour Publishing, P.O. Box 219. Madeira Park,B.C. Canada V0N 2H0. Everyone loved the Stranraers. I believe they went out of service in the mid 50's. Sincerely, Bryan Lacey

Garry Jantzen, 30.01.2010

I have two pics of a Stranraer leased by PWA on the water in Coppermine, NWT in 1963 if anyone is interested. I just wish I had taken many more! Flying, interior, etc. (mentally kicking myself!)

stephen law, 21.12.2009

My pride and joy is a large oil painting of this aircraft taking off in the Solent - signed by John Palmer '64. I bought it at the World Gliding Championships at South Cerney in (I think) 1965 before getting married when such indulgencies had to stop. This painting won top award in an exhibition of aviation artists at the Kronfeld Club - again either 1964 or 1965. Kind regards, Stephen Law.

Bob, 20.09.2007

Does anyone have any interior (cockpit, etc.) information on this aircraft? Thanks

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