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Short S330 and the story of Short Brothers

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[Note: This post (including the leisurely flight) was fun and a bit of (needed) diversion from the doldrums...]

First of all, while the "cylindrical" shaped aeroplane fuselages are the norm, that we're well used to, the "square" shaped airframes such as from Short aircraft are quite unmistakable, and have always held my personal fascination (Do 228 also comes to mind). One of the reasons this shape works for these aircraft is because their cabins are/were unpressurized (as opposed to their pressurized counterparts which would dictate the conventional circular shape). The 30-passenger S330 was developed from Short's earlier Skyvan STOL utility transport (retaining the characteristic twin tail fin, please see images below), and went on to become a popular (and inexpensive) commuter airliner, replacing the (smaller) likes of Beechcraft 99 and DHC-6 Twin Otter. In U.S. military service, the Short 330 was designated C-23A Sherpa. The aircraft was "portly" for sure, but whether "ungainly" or "pretty", I leave that to the "eyes of the beholder"....I myself like it!

The Short Brothers (or abbreviated Shorts for the three Brothers - Horace, Eustace and Oswald) were some of the earliest pioneers of aviation. Their business had started in 1897 when Eustace Short bought a second-hand coal-gas filled balloon, and, with his brother Oswald, started a company to develop and manufacture balloons. The quality of their work attracted the attention of Charles Rolls (who would later become famous, as one of the two founders of Rolls-Royce, along with Henry Royce). In 1908, on hearing reports of the Wright brothers' demonstrations of their aircraft in France, Oswald Short reportedly said to Eustace, "This is the finish of ballooning: we must begin building aeroplanes at once...!". Shorts was founded, in 1908, in South West London, England, near the bank of the River Thames, and, on record, was the first company in the world to make production aeroplanes. So, the Short brothers had made history by founding the world's first aircraft manufacturing company!

During the 1920s and 1930s, flying boats were the airliners of choice for long-range civil/military aviation, and the Shorts built a solid reputation in the flying boat market. One of their most memorable creations was the massive (and magnificent) seaplane, the Sunderland! Tough and reliable, with a range approaching 3,000 miles, and capable of staying airborne for 16 hours, the Sunderland would prove its worth as a versatile aircraft handling any role that was asked of it!

In 1936, a new aircraft factory was established in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the Shorts moved their main base from Rochester, Kent, England, to Belfast, in 1948. [Side Note: More recently, the firm was bought over in 1989 by Canada's Bombardier, and the city of Belfast has been, since, the site of Bombardier Aerospace, responsible for the production of fuselage components for e.g. A220/A320neo etc. Moreover, in 2019, Bombardier has announced the sale of its aerostructures activities and operations to Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, KS), the company that also builds fuselage/cockpit sections of large airliners (including B787)].

Today, a statue of the Short Brothers stands on the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent, England, where they had constructed their first factory on the adjacent land, which was also the site of the first recorded flight/circular mile in Britain. The statue shows the three brothers wearing Chesterfield style coats, with arms outstretched. You may search for "statue of the Short Brothers images" to see pictures of this striking statue.

So, finally, here, below, please find a collection of screenshots from a symbolic (SIM) flight of (Carenado's) S330, flying from the Short Brothers' "root" (Rochester, Kent, EGTO), across the Irish Sea, to the city of Belfast (EGAA), to which they had re-located their plant, in 1948.

Thanks for viewing...(comments/thoughts/edits are always welcome)! And, it goes without saying: Stay healthy and stay safe!

[Carenado(S330)/Orbx(England)/REX]

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What a wonderful post! And thanks for sending me to those Short Brothers images. I never realized the story behind the planes.

John

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Interesting read. Thanks!

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Martin 

Sims: MSFS and X-plane 11

Home Airport: CYCW - Chilliwack, BC Canada

I7-4770K OC 4.2ghz, 16GB DDR3 2800 RAM, GTX1070TI 

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Aaah, the good old Shorts S330, which, if you include all variants, has a lot of nicknames... The Whispering Nissen Hut (there's a much filthier version of that name too, and I bet you can guess what it is), the Two Tailed Shed, the Horse Float, the Milk Carton, the Winnebago, the Box Car, the Short Van, the Shoe Box, the Barn, the Shed, the Long Short, the box that the Skyvan came in, the Winnabego with Wings and the Irish Concorde. All jokes aside though, it does have a pretty good safety record.

Here's a question: Which one of the Short brothers was the tall one? 🤣

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Alan Bradbury

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Another, smaller, square-fuselage twin is of course the Flying Land Rover - the Britten Norman Islander. :cool:

 

Thanks again for the interesting read and screenies.

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Mark Robinson

"What's it doing now?"

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

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12 hours ago, Chock said:

Aaah, the good old Shorts S330, which, if you include all variants, has a lot of nicknames... The Whispering Nissen Hut (there's a much filthier version of that name too, and I bet you can guess what it is), the Two Tailed Shed, the Horse Float, the Milk Carton, the Winnebago, the Box Car, the Short Van, the Shoe Box, the Barn, the Shed, the Long Short, the box that the Skyvan came in, the Winnabego with Wings and the Irish Concorde. All jokes aside though, it does have a pretty good safety record.

Here's a question: Which one of the Short brothers was the tall one? 🤣

The longest short brother ?

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Brian Ridal

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John, Martin, Alan, Mark, Brian: Great to get some feedback (and humor) in these times....!!

John: Welcome! Although the Short Brothers aircraft were not new to me, the statue (and some details) were new to me too.

Martin: Glad you found it interesting!

Alan: Hmm...you almost sent me to the Wild West of Google-land of biometrics, before I realized that it cannot be that easy...🙂...(Looks like, Brian, above, has (answered?) posed the question back to you). And, about the nicknames, I knew, beforehand, about the "Shed" variants, but learning many more, now, as part of this research activity here...But, more Seriously, agree, the aircraft seemed to have been quite popular (reliable, sturdy, inexpensive, low-cost maintenance etc.). I also notice many are still in service...

Mark: The BN Islander...yes, another "beauty"....maybe a bit "boxy", and, I'll take your word for it that it's the Flying Land Rover...

Thanks all, and a good week!!

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I don't know if there's any other names for the Islander, but I'd read about the flying landy:

https://www.pilotweb.aero/features/flight-tests/flight-test-britten-norman-bn-2-islander-1-5293959

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Mark Robinson

"What's it doing now?"

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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I just remember my best-mate tried to build the Airfix Shorts Skyvan, and pretty much threw it in the bin. The tailplane was not the easiest I've seen in a kit.

 

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Jude Bradley
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Posted (edited)

An unusual topic and an interesting story.

To pick it up, when Shorts moved to Belfast they became Short Brothers and Harland. The Harland part coming from Harland and Wolff, who were major shipbuilders, famous for the Titanic, and the biggest employers in Northern Ireland. They actually operated from Belfast Sydenham airfield - EGAC - later called Belfast City and then George Best City Airport. The other Belfast airport EGAA - Belfast Aldergrove became the main civil airport in 1963, while Sydenham continued in use by Shorts and the RAF until 1983 when it went over to civil operation.

In Belfast,  Short Brothers and Harland were used to build the Canberra PR9, as a specially developed high altitude reconnaisance aircraft. Only 24 were built, and continued in service until the late 90's. It was a standing joke that it was the only land based RAF aircraft to be built by a shipyard.

Edited by Biggles2010
correction
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John B

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Looking through these images again, the more I look, the more I like them.  The graphics are some of the best I have seen on any software and the selection of the images really shows them up to their best advantage. A superb display.

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John B

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Mark: Great article and a good read of a first-hand account...yes...the (versatile) BN as "the Land Rover of the skies"...sounds good...

Jude: Just looked up AIRFIX Short Skyvan (Kit) forum a bit....interesting pictures of planes in preparation...someone there talks about, even, simultaneously, building a BN-2A Islander from kit...!

Torsten: Thanks! Credits to Carenado...their interiors usually have quite an appeal...I like their aircraft for some easy flying fun...

John B: Very interesting details, you recount, of Belfast...I had read about the connection of Shorts company to Harland/Titanic...(shipyard expertise adapted to aeroplane building)....And, appreciated the kind words!! This is all still good-old FSX/SE with the limitations we know so well. I start always with my "Ultra-max" setting...until I get into trouble...🙂...but no issues here....

Best...

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