Saro London

Saro London

infobox Aircraft
name = Saro London
type = Reconnaissance flying-boat
manufacturer = Saunders-Roe Ltd

caption =
designer =
first flight = March, 1934
introduction = 1936
retired =
status =
primary user = Royal Air Force
more users = Royal Canadian Air Force
produced =
number built = 31
unit cost =
developed from = Saro A.7 Severn
variants with their own articles =
The Saunders Roe A.27 London was a British military biplane flying boat built by the Saunders Roe company. Only 31 were built, entering service with the Royal Air Force in 1936. Although due for replacement by the oubreak of World War II, they saw some active service pending the introduction of the ultimately unsuccessful Lerwick.


The A.27 London was designed in response to the Air Ministry Specification R24/31 issued for a "General Purpose Open Sea Patrol Flying Boat" and was based on the Saro A.7 Severn. The London and its contemporary, the Supermarine Stranraer, were the last biplane flying-boats to see service.

The first prototype flew in 1934 fitted with two Bristol Pegasus II radial engines, mounted on the upper wing to keep them clear of spray while taking off and landing. The initial aircraft then went on to serve from 1934 - 1936 with 209 and 210 Squadrons RAF at Felixstowe and Gibraltar respectively.

The first deliveries of production aircraft began in March 1936 with Pegasus III engines, and from the eleventh aircraft onwards the Pegasus X engine was fitted instead and the aircraft's designation changed to London Mk. II. Earlier Londons were retrofitted with the Pegasus X and were given the "Mk. II" designation. This model equipped 201 Squadron RAF at Calshot, replacing Supermarine Southamptons. Others were delivered in October of the same year to 204 Squadron RAF at Mount Batten, Plymouth, also replacing Southamptons.

More were delivered to the same squadron the following year to replace Blackburn Perths, and to 202 Squadron RAF at Kalafrana, Malta, replacing Supermarine Scapas, and 228 Squadron RAF at Pembroke Dock.

In 1938 209 Squadron RAF used five Londons equipped with auxiliary external fuel tanks for a long-distance training flight to Australia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the State of New South Wales. In this configuration they had a range of 2,600 miles (4,180 km).

Operational history

By the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Londons still equipped 201 Squadron RAF which was by now stationed at Sullom Voe in Shetland, and 202 Squadron RAF at Gibraltar. 240 Squadron RAF at Invergordon had also re-equipped with Londons in July 1939.

These aircraft carried out active patrols over the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Some were fitted with a dorsal fuel tank to increase operational radius. Armaments in the form of bombs, depth charges and mines up to a total weight of 2,000 lb (907 kg) could be carried beneath the lower wings.

Gradually, the Londons' duties were assumed by newer aircraft such as the Lockheed Hudson while squadrons flying Atlantic and Mediterranean patrols were re-equipped with Short Sunderlands. Some were transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force.


;Prototype:One only;London Mk I:10 built with two 820 hp Pegasus III engines and two-bladed propellers. Later converted to Mk II.;London Mk II:20 built with two 915 hp Pegasus X engines and four-bladed propellers.


* Royal Canadian Air Force;UK
* Royal Air Force
** No. 201 Squadron RAF
** No. 202 Squadron RAF
** No. 204 Squadron RAF
** No. 209 Squadron RAF
** No. 210 Squadron RAF
** No. 228 Squadron RAF
** No. 240 Squadron RAF

pecifications (London)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?= plane
jet or prop?= prop
crew= Five
length main= 56 ft 6 in
length alt= 17.2 m
span main= 80 ft 0 in
span alt= 24.4 m
height main= 18 ft 9 in
height alt= 5.7 m
area main= 1,425 ft²
area alt= 132.4 m²
empty weight main= 11,100 lb
empty weight alt= 5,030 kg
loaded weight main= 18,400 lb
loaded weight alt= 8,340 kg
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main= 22,000 lb
max takeoff weight alt= 9,980 kg
more general=
engine (prop)= Bristol Pegasus X
type of prop= 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engines
number of props=2
power main= 915 hp
power alt= 680 kW
power original=
max speed main= 135 knots
max speed alt= 155 mph, 249 km/h
max speed more= at 6,250 ft (1,900 m)
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
range main= 956 nm
range alt= 1,100 mi, 1,770 km
range more=
ceiling main= 13,300 ft
ceiling alt= 4,050 m
climb rate main= 1,180 ft/min
climb rate alt= 360 m/min
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=
* Ferry range: 1,510 nm (1,740 mi, 2,800 km)
* 3 × Lewis guns
* 2,000 lb (900 kg) of bombs, mines or depth charges

ee also

similar aircraft=
Supermarine Stranraer - Supermarine Walrus
* List of aircraft of the RAF
* List of seaplanes and flying boats
see also=


*cite book | last = Mondey | first = David | authorlink = | title = The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II | publisher = Hamlyn | date = 1982 | pages = p. 180 | doi = | isbn = 1 85152 668 4

External links

* [ Saunders Roe & British Hovercraft Corporation Archive]
* [ British Aircraft Directory]

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