Seddon Mayfly


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Seddon Mayfly

In 1908 Lieutenant John W. Seddon of the Royal Navy was inspired by a flying paper model to design a giant tandem biplane, with which he hoped to win a GBP10,000 prize for the first Manchester to London flight. Convinced that hoops of high-tensile steel tube were much more efficient than conventional wood and wire bracing, he persuaded the Navy to give him leave to work on his project and his mother largely to pay for it. The aircraft, named optimistically (and prophetically) the 'Mayfly', was built in a bicycle factory and used up 610m of steel tubing. On its only high-speed run, a wheel collapsed and the aircraft was damaged. Repairs and modifications were hampered by Seddon's return to duty and the Mayfly never did fly, eventually being dismantled by souvenir hunters.


The Mayfly was said to be intended to carry five passengers, but it is not clear where they were supposed to be accommodated.

Two piston engines in the same nacelle were connected by chains to two-bladed Beedle aluminium propellers, which look horribly inefficient, although Seddon wrote glowing letters in praise of their 'more than satisfactory pull' to the maker.

Control surfaces were a biplane elevator mounted forward and four small rudders. The outer wings pivoted forward and aft for lateral control, although their effectiveness seems unlikely.

Seddon Mayfly

 ENGINE2 x 65hp NEC six-cylinder water-cooled piston engines
  Take-off weight1180 kg2601 lb
  Wingspan15.20 m50 ft 10 in
  Length15.20 m50 ft 10 in

Anonymous, 25.11.2021 15:10

Are there 1 /72 plans for this intrigueing beastie. ?.
Hugh D H Soar


Terrence I. Murphy, e-mail, 11.02.2012 18:35

I can't tell from the wild mass of steel tubes. Was this pusher engine aircraft?


Noname, e-mail, 31.03.2020 10:24

Seddon Mayfly 1910,In 1908 Lieutenant John W. Seddon of the Royal Navy


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