Short p.23

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Short p.23 Empire
Short p.23
Short p.23
Type: Flying boat
Design country:

United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom


Short Brothers

First flight:

July 3, 1936



Number of pieces:

P.23: 31
p.30: 9
p.33: 2

The Short S.23 Empire was a British flying boat . The first flight took place in July 1936. 31 copies were built, which from September 1936 were used by Imperial Airways as mail and passenger aircraft on routes to Australia , Bermuda , Durban , Egypt , Malaya , New York as well as East and South Africa .


Empire class flying boat of the Qantas

In the mid-thirties, the Short company received an order from the British Ministry of Aviation to develop a flying boat that would connect the colonies, and especially Australia, with Great Britain. The result was the Short S.23 Empire Class, also known as the C-Class, since starting with the prototype, the "Canopus", all flying boats were given names that began with a "C". The "Canopus" flew for the first time in July 1936, and from October of the same year other machines began to operate the Genoa – Baghdad route. From 1937 the S.23 was also used on the route to Australia, later also on the London-Durban route.


The S.23 met the British requirements, but in the USA it was criticized that its range was not sufficient for transatlantic air traffic. Four machines designated as S.30 were therefore equipped for refueling in the air. They started with full fuel load and after the end of the gas-guzzling start phase were supplied with new fuel via an elastic hose from a Handley Page Harrow bomber converted into a tanker . Three harrows were distributed on the flight route, so the S.23 were able to cope with the route between Great Britain and Canada. In August 1939, the first flight based on this model was successfully completed. Under the designation S.21 , an Empire-class aircraft was also used for another technology of range extension: the "Maia" carried a smaller mail machine piggyback to flight altitude, then the mail machine disconnected and continued to fly alone. So the routes to Canada and Alexandria could be managed by mail.

Technical specifications

Three-sided view (English labeling)

Parameter Data
length 26.82 m
span 34.75 m
height 9.70 m
Wing area 139.35 m²
Wing extension 8.7
Empty mass 10,659 kg
Max. Takeoff mass 18,370 kg
Engine four radial engines Bristol Pegasus XC 920 PS (677 kW)
Top speed 322 km / h
Service ceiling 6,095 m
Range 1,223 km

See also


  • Václav Nemecek: Airplanes. Civil aircraft from the years 1903–1957 . Dausien, Hanau 1991, ISBN 3-7684-0125-1 .
  • Christopher H. Barnes: Shorts Aircraft since 1900 . Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD 1989, ISBN 0-87021-662-7 .

Web links

Commons : Short Empire  - collection of images, videos and audio files