The aircraft contained an individual cabin for its owner (complete with toilet, bath and bed) plus seating for 5 additional guests, a galley with full-cooking facilities beneath the wing, deep plie carpets and settees plus the luxury of electric lighting throughout.
The aircrew meanwhile, were accommodated in an open cockpit in the upper nose of the aircraft.
Guinness decided not to proceed with his order, opting for the SARO Cloud instead and after a period of storage an American, Mrs June James, an excentric aviation and motorboat enthusiast, purchased the Air Yacht in October 1932.
Mrs James came as a 'bit of a shock' for Supermarine, who were more used to dealing with pragmatic, long-winded negotiations with national governments.
Mrs James could not understand that having seen the aircraft and decided to purchase it that she could not simply take it there and then. It took Chief Test Pilot Henri Biard to explain that the aircraft was being serviced, not only that the tide was out - Mrs James would have none of it and could not understand why the 12-ton aircraft could not be simply lifted by the Supermarine engineers and placed in the water.
Christened 'Windward III, the aircraft left Woolston bound for Egypt later that month.
This, the first ‘cruise’ was not an resounding success as after landing at Cherbourg in worsening weather, and after spending three hours on a very rough mooring, Mrs James and her passengers were taken ashore.
Eventually reaching Naples, the aircraft had an accident during take-off near Capri in January 1933, resulting in a broken wing. Whilst thankfully there were no casualties and although the aircraft was salvaged and beached, it never flew again and was sold for scrap.
|Powerplant||Three 525 hp Armstrong Siddeley Panther IIA engines|
|Span||92 ft 0 in|
|Maximum Weight||23,348 lb|
|Capacity||Four crew and six passengers|
|Maximum Speed||117.5 mph|
|1||Sole example G-AASE|
|None||Destroyed in accident|