Fairey III D (Reconnaissance Seaplane, 1924-1925)

Early navy aviation main page

Page 1 (1)


One aircraft of this type was ordered from England for evaluation. In June 1924 it was flown from Southampton to Stockholm. 1800 km was covered in nearly 14 hours.

This three-seater was one of the most modern designs available. The intention was to compare this seaplane to other types in service and on order. The Fairey served as reconnaissance aircraft at the coast fleet. It was based in Gothenburg. The life-time of this excellent machine became short. One year after the delivery, it made a forced landing due to a engine failure. The crew was rescued, but the airframe got bad damages in the hard sea and had to be written off.
The Swedish Fairey IIID was fitted with a Rolls-Royce Eagle IX engine of 360 hp. It carried no armament.

The aircraft got the Navy number 30. It was taken to service in June, 1924 and struck of charge in November, 1926.

A Short Story of the Fairey III Aircraft

The prototype of the Fairey III was based on the N.10 floatplane from 1917. The next development was the Fairey IIIA reconnaissance aircraft. It was intended to operate from aircraft carriers, and as such was fitted with a wheeled or skid undercarriage. The Fairey IIIB was a floatplane bomber. Next variant was the Fairey IIIC, a two-seat reconnaissance, bomber and general-purpose seaplane fitted with the powerful and reliable 375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine.

The first major production model was the Fairey IIID was the first variant manufactured in large numbers (227 built). The aircraft was an improved IIIC, with provision for a third crewmember and capable of being fitted with either a floatplane or a conventional wheeled undercarriage. It first flew in 1920, powered by a Rolls-Royce Eagle, and initial production for the Fleet Air Arm, together with aircraft produced for Australia and Portugal retained the Eagle. Also the Swedish IIID was powered with an Eagle engine (Mk. IX). Later aircraft were powered by the more powerful Napier Lion. The IIID had a wooden, fabric-covered fuselage.

The most famous of the Fairey IIIs was the final model, the IIIF, which was designed to meet Air Ministry Specification 19/24 for a three seat spotter/reconnaissance aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm and a two seat General Purpose aircraft for the Royal Air Force. The IIIF, which first flew in April 1926, had a more streamlined engine installation and initially a fuselage of mixed metal and wooden construction, with similar wings to the IIID, although later production aircraft were fitted with an all-metal fuselages and wings. Over 350 IIIFs were operated by the Fleet Air Arm, making it the most widely used type of aircraft in Fleet Air Arm service between the wars. (Thanks to Wikipedia for the information).

Length: 10,97 m. Span: 14,50 m. Height: 3,96 m. Maximum take-off weight: 2.291 kg. Max. speed: 162 km/h




Replica of Fairey IIID "Santa Cruz", which took part in the Portugese  crossing of the Atlantic in 1922.

Replica of Santa Cruz, one of the three Fairey IIID's used when the Portuguese Lieutenant Commander Sacadura Cabral (pilot) and Cdr. Gago Coutinho (navigator) crossed the Atlantic from Portugal to Brazil in 1922. The two first aircraft (Lusitania and Portugal ditched and sank), but with Santa Cruz they completed the voyage. The replica is a part of a memorial in Lisbon.
Stamp from Sao Tomé west off the African coast.Motif: A Fairey 111D similar to the one used by the Swedish Navy. Scanning and photo procession: Lars Henriksson, www,avrosys.nu
Memorial stamp from 1979 of Fairey DIII Santa Cruz, the aircraft which completed the Portugese crossing of the South Atlantic in 1922. One Fairey IIID was tested by the Swedish Naval Aviaion in 1924-1925.

Model of the Swedish Fairey IIID displayed at the Air Force Museum, Linköping



Early navy aviation main page


Military Aviation in Sweden - main page

© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-06-10


Custom Search