In September 1931 Capt.K.C.Blard departed from Woolston, Southampton in the Vildebeest torpedo-bomber
prototype (Vildebeest II, G-ABGE) for a sales tour of the Baltic. Shown here is the aircraft being
inspected by Latvian military officers at Riga. No Vildebeests were ordered or purchased by the Latvian military.
In 1933 and 1934 senior Latvian aviation officials travelled to Britain to consider various aircraft designs for
purchase by the Naval Aviation Section. These included the Vickers Vildebeest, Blackburn B6, Short Gurnard and
Fairey Seal. At a meeting on June 13, 1934 the Fairey Seal was selected.
The second image shows the same aircraft at an earlier date. Originally, it was built with a radial engine and
a wheeled u/c. By 1927, when this photo was taken, the Hispano-Suiza and Supermarine floats are in place and
this is the configuration in which it visited Latvia in 1931.
The third image shows the same airframe some years later, now back in land-based configuration, and seeing service in the
Spanish Civil War.
The final two profiles show the demonstration aircraft from the 1933-34 visit(s). The same aircraft was displayed in
both the land and floatplane configuration, thus also displaying the process of transforming from one to the other.
- Bruvelis, Edvins Latvijas Aviacijas Vesture
- Profiles courtesy of Arvo Vercamer.
* Note: All performance data is for the radial-engined Vildebeest III.