Is this a flying hotel.....Or what?
No but these were-
And they represent a time when air travel was truly unique and exciting for the places it opened up to the world's consciousness and the rate at
which you could change centuries as much as time zones in discovering them. Usually as merely an 'addon' to postal services between far flung
points of Imperial colonial (resource) settlement. Typically, at pennies per mile compared to what passenger airlines cost as a 'principal' air
While the notion of the CA.60 is probably flawed due to unequal torsional stresses (note the leveling of the wings) and lack of a central keel, the
fact that it was climbing out of the ground effect at the time of structural failure indicates that the concept itself was probably workable.
Indeed, while the only other triplane flying boat I can immediately think of is the old Judson-
If you think about it, the multiwing configuration does offer some advantages as shown here in the early generation:
1. A 'semiplane' puts stabilizing floats out away from the fuselage without necessarily having to match the full span (weight) of the airfoil. Or
deal with endplate and vortice lift effects of the tips.
2. The upper airfoil is that much higher on the back of the plane which reduces the chance of wave clipping in rough seas and salt water
contamination of the engines.
3. You can increase rigidity of both airfoils with traditional wire and cabane strut options at minimal weight while the added lift again provides
for a shorter span overall which must imply less directional moment (if a single float catches first in chop or on a bad landing) as well as problems
inherent to riding wave-swell with longspan wings.
4. Unlike the fully developed 'sponson' system of the later M130 and B314 aircraft, you get a tailored airfoil surface which doesn't require
structural crossbeams through the belly of the aircraft for what remains a more or less thick hydrofoil (equal curveature on both sides = maximum
inflight drag) design. More lift gets the aircraft out of the water sooner which means the surface drag (air:water) is less of a concern even if
friction drag rises overall.
While seaplanes and flying boats have numerous drawbacks in terms of comfort and safety, flying in the heart of the weatherband between 10-20K,
volumetrically they are very efficient for lading (volumetric) weight versus structural weight, even as amphibians. Thus, many people believe that as
petroleum shortages, land shortages (especially those related to coastal inundation and global warming) plus overall monetary values reduce in a
stagnating world economy. We may well see a move back towards 'the journey is half the fun' travel, on simple pricing. The ability of these huge
hulled monsters to provide economical transport in the 1,500-2,000+ 'uniclass' or 500-1,000 'mixed' seating, while using comparitively half or one
third the equivalent refined fuels (relative to any of the jet-kerosene planned megaliner concepts of today) must surely be tempting.
From an 'impossible dream'-
To an unrealized dream-
To the potential of an viable achievement-
May be a shorter trip than most think, based solely on the same perceived needs as drove the original development of flying boats: to maintain
logistical contact with far flung areas at minimal cost. While tangentially opening up our awareness of a greater world.