Saunders Roes SARO

Around 1910 the Cowes boatbuilding firm S.E.Saunders, became involved in building aircraft. Over the next four years several aircraft were built for various designers. During WW1 the company built sea and landplanes to other companies' designs, including Avro 504s and Short 184s.In addition a large number of major components were produced for other manufacturers.

After the war the company concentrated on seaplane designs, but times were hard and after a series of reorganisations, in 1929 A V Roe took over the company which became known as Saunders-Roe Ltd ,or SARO.

During the 30s a number of flying boat designs were built ,none of them in large numbers. In addition SARO became closely involved with Spartan Aircraft from 1931 onwards, and in 1933 the companies were effectively merged. For details of Spartan Aircraft see the Spartan page)

During WW2 the main activity was the building of Supermarine Walrus and Sea Otter aircraft as well as repair and overhaul activities.

Following WW2 SARO built the Princess flying boats. Unfortunately, the day of the flying boat was just about over and the three Princesses (only one ever flew) became the last fixed wing aircraft produced by SARO.

From the 50s onward, SARO became involved in helicopters, producing the Skeeter (a Cierva design), the Scout and the Wasp. After becoming part of Westland Helicopters, all aircraft work moved to Hayes in Middlesex and the Isle of Wight premises turned to Hovercraft production.