The Lakes Flying Company Limited, a registered charity, has been set up to celebrate and to inform the public concerning the importance of the innovative contributions made to the development of naval and civil marine aeroplanes by Captain Edward Wakefield and  by Waterbird® at Windermere.

Waterbird was the first aeroplane to successfully take off from and alight on water outside of France and the USA, on 25 November 1911.

It was the world’s first successful flight to use a ‘stepped’ float.

The charitable objects of the Lakes Flying Company Limited are to advance the education of the public by:-

1) The establishment and maintenance of a heritage centre, that will tell the story of early powered seaplanes with the emphasis on the history of their early development and their activities in and around Windermere and the Lake District;

2) The construction, displays and flights of an airworthy replica of Waterbird;

3) Exhibiting the replica of Waterbird in perpetuity;

4) Providing historical and technical information regarding the historical context and design of Waterbird.

We have established an Adopt a Part Scheme, full details of which are here

You can view a photo of the replica build so far here

‘The combined efforts of designers, aviators, ship and boat builders-turned aircraft manufacturers at Barrow and Windermere during 1908-1914 justify the area’s claim to be the birthplace of British naval and civil marine aviation.’ – Triplane to Typhoon by James H Longworth.

‘It was Captain Wakefield’s Waterbird which made the first successful flight in November 1911 and Windermere thus gave birth to the age of the seaplane.’ – The Great Age of Steam on Windermere by George H Pattinson.

 ‘The great tradition of innovation and successfully overcoming the severe and unique difficulties of operating aircraft on water all stemmed back to Waterbird and the pioneering designs and spirit that she represented.’ – Navy Wings

‘Edward Wakefield’s ideas were scorned, but he never lost faith in the hydro-aeroplane and Waterbird was a successful expression of that faith.’ – Historic Military Aircraft by J M Bruce.

Windermere: birthplace of British naval and civil marine aeroplanes

Want to find out more?


Waterbird Float