Princess flying boats at Southsea seafront

One of the three Princess flying boats
One of the three Princess flying boats
One of the  more unusual rafts competing in the race was this Volkswagen Beetle

THIS WEEK IN 1975: ‘Water-beetle’ seen on Southsea beach

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Imagine looking out to the Solent from Southsea seafront and seeing one of these magnificent aircraft shooting across the water at 250mph and taking to the sky.

This is one of the three Princess flying boats built by Saunders Roe at Cowes in 1952.

These aircraft could take 100 passengers 5,000 miles non-stop at 450 mph. They had a 219ft wing span and had 10 engines.

They were also going to be used as troop carriers but the jet age intervened.

Comets and Boeings came into use and the Princesses were redundant before they flew in any revenue-earning capacity.

The three cost £10m to design and construct, but went for scrap in the mid-1960s for just £18,000.