The Saunders-Roe name was adopted in 1929 after Alliot Verdon Roe (see Avro) and John Lord took a controlling interest in the boat-builders S.E. Saunders. The company, commonly abbreviated to Saro, concentrated on producing flying-boats, but none were produced in very large quantities – the longest run being 31 Londons. They also produced hulls for the Blackburn Bluebird. Spartan Aircraft Ltd. was merged into Saunders Roe in 1931. During WW2 Saro manufactured Supermarine Walrus and Supermarine Sea Otters. In 1951 Saunders-Roe took over the interests of the Cierva Autogyro Company, a helicopter design of which was developed into the Skeeter helicopter. In 1952 came the prototype Princess, but the age of the flying-boat was over, and no further new seaplanes were produced at Cowes, Isle of Wight. Modification work on Short-built flying boats continued at Cowes until 1955. The last fixed-wing aircraft built by Saro was experimental SR53 mixed-power interceptor. In 1959 it demonstrated the first practical hovercraft built under contract to the National Research Development Corporation to Christopher Cockerell's design, the SR.N1. In the same year Saro's helicopter and hovercraft interests were taken over by Westland Aircraft which continued the Skeeter family with the Scout and Wasp.
Saunders-Roe SR 53
RAF Cosford has several really interesting experimental aircraft types in its collection, including ...
Saunders-Roe SR.53 XD145
Photographed at Cosford on 18 February 2004.
The Saunders-Roe response to specification F.138D was ...