At the end of the Great War, many aircraft designers were
faced with new possibilities. Fledgling firms which produced
materials and airplanes for the war effort now had a wonderful
future of opportunity before them. Air travel was in its infancy
and air cargo shipping had become an ever-growing part of
daily life. To this end, many new aircraft building companies
and corporations joined in on exploring this aviation gold
Among these was Conwing Aircraft Corporation. Founded just
before the start of the Great War, Conwing originally served
in creating war aircraft and components for them. After the
war ended, Conwing revamped its assembly factories and began
making commercial aircraft to supply the burgeoning aeronautics
Conwing’s designers realized that the public was yearning
for cargo and passenger craft, but could not decide which
would be more profitable to build. Due to the discontinuation
of Conwing’s war contract, the company's profits would slowly
diminish, and everyone at Conwing knew that their next venture
would have to be a big success in order to keep them in business.
But the question was, what type of plane would people want
a plane to transport people from place to place, or
one that could transport goods to and from those people? The
answer the Conwing L-16 seaplane.
Designed just after the end of the War, the Conwing L-16
was one of the first "multi-purpose" aircraft, serving
as either a cargo or passenger transport, or both. Designed
with a roomy hull and all the features available at that time,
the L-16 was the plane to end all planes.
The Conwing L-16 became one of the greatest successes in
the history of the aviation industry. Sales of the aircraft
flew through the roof in the first week alone. Flyers everywhere
loved the Conwing L-16: it was well-equipped enough for pilots
who demanded the latest features, but affordable enough for
pilots who demanded fair pricing. In addition, the construction
of the plane lent itself to virtually limitless upgrades and
modifications, especially to the engines and controls.
stylized Conwing L-16, one of the legendary planes of
For the next decade the Conwing was a plane unchallenged
by almost any other cargo plane. Even newer and more modern
aircraft could not compete with the L-16’s ease of use and
efficiency in flight and cargo hauling. However, legends do
grow older as time passes, and Conwing L-16s decreased in
sales as more advanced aircraft began showing up on the market.
Even an all-purpose aircraft could not compete with newer,
more specialized planes.
Today the Conwing is all but extinct. Despite this fact,
dozens of dedicated L-16 pilots love their craft and have
taken great pains in preserving this plane’s long, rich heritage.
A few Conwing pilots have made names for themselves in the
air cargo business, and one or two in particular have even
attained hero status in their own customized Conwing L-16s.
Type: Cargo/passenger seaplane
Length: 75 feet
Skill: Aircraft piloting: Conwing L-16
Crew Skill: Varies widely
Passengers: Up to 16, depending on function
Cargo Capacity: 6,000 lbs.
Cost: $50,000 (used)
Top Speed: 200 mph