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Air Department AD.1 Navyplane

The AD Navyplane, a reconnaissance aircraft, was developed by the British Admiralty’s Air Department for use in World War I.

However, the prototype’s performance was so underwhelming that production plans were scrapped almost at once.

Harold Bolas from the Admiralty, with help from R.J. Mitchell of Pemberton-Billing, designed the Navyplane.

This pusher floatplane biplane featured a pilot and observer seated in front of the wings within a streamlined, lightweight nacelle situated between the upper and lower wing sets.

A Smith Static radial engine and a pusher propeller were mounted behind them.

In 1916, two units were commissioned for the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).

Although serial numbers were assigned for seven Navyplanes, only one prototype, numbered 9095, was finished.

Testing of the Pemberton-Billing-constructed prototype began in August 1916, but it was found to be significantly underpowered and unsatisfactory.

The AR.1 rotary engine, later renamed BR.1 for Bentley Rotary 1, replaced the original engine and underwent retesting in May 1917.

Despite this, the Navyplane’s performance remained unsatisfactory even without a military load and observer, leading to the project’s cancellation on August 27, 1917, without a second prototype.

Supermarine sought to create an improved model to succeed the Short 184, resulting in the

Supermarine Seaplane design, equipped with a 200 hp (149 kW) Sunbeam engine.

Although contracts were issued for six aircraft, the project was halted before any prototype was constructed, as the Short 184 was deemed sufficient for patrol duties.






6 hr

Time to altitude

30 min to 2,000 ft (610 m)



1× .303 in (0.770 mm) Lewis machine gun on flexible mount for observer


Provision for bombs.


British Aeroplanes 1914-18-J M Bruce.

Supermarine Aircraft since 1914-C F Andrews & E B Morgan.

The British Bomber since 1914-F K Mason.



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