Aviation Historian 32
K.Hayward - Shorts: The perennial thorn
The prototype S.C.7 Skyvan, G-ASCN, seen here at the SBAC show at Farnborough in September 1964, was initially fitted with Continental piston engines for its first flight on January 17, 1963, but was re-engined four months later with Turbomeca Astazou turboprops and rebranded the Turbo Skyvan. Note the original blunt nose.
By the time of the 1968 SBAC show at Farnborough that September, problems with the Skyvan’s Astazou engines in “hot and high" conditions had led to the fitting of American Garrett AiResearch TP331 turboprops on production aircraft instead, these being Skyvan Series 3s. Seen here is Series 3 N4917 of Wien Consolidated Airlines, one of five Skyvans at the ’68 show.
The S.D.3-30 (later rebranded Shorts 330) was a larger development of the Skyvan, the prototype, G-BSBH, making the type’s first flight from Sydenham on August 22, 1974. Powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A turboprops driving five-bladed Hartzell propellers, the type was later acquired by the USAF as the C-23 Sherpa.
Shorts designed and built two prototypes - XG900 and XG905 - of the S.C.1 experimental jet-powered vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, fitted with four vertical-lift engines and one horizontally mounted for conventional flight. Both had completed transitional flights from vertical to horizontal flight by the end of 1960.
The first Belfast C Mk 1, XR362, made the type’s maiden flight at Sydenham (now George Best Belfast City Airport) on January 5, 1964. Only ten were built (the type suffered from suction-drag on the tail and rear fuselage), all of which entered service with the RAF. Named Samson in RAF service, XR362 is seen here landing in July 1969.
Shorts coined the term “stractical” to describe the capability of its S.C.5/21B to meet OR.351. The Belfast variant was fitted with a dorsal engine pack to feed the boundary-layer control system for STOL operations. The removable dorsal pack incorporated three RB.176 compressors which would “blow” the control surfaces on the wings and tail. Note also the 12-wheel main undercarriage bogies for semi-prepared strips.
Two Short Sperrins were built to Air Ministry Specification B.14/46 for a long-range jet-powered bomber. The first, VX158, made its maiden flight on August 10, 1951, from Aldergrove in Northern Ireland. The second, VX161, seen here at Farnborough in July 1955, made its first flight at the same location on August 12, 1952.