Short Sunderland

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Short p.25 Sunderland
Canadian Short Sunderland
Canadian Short Sunderland
Type: Flying boat
Design country:

United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom


Short Brothers

First flight:

October 16, 1937


June 1938

Production time:

1937 to 1945

Number of pieces:


Short Sunderland Mk V
NZ4115 in the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland

The Short S.25 Sunderland was a four-engine flying boat from British production. It was developed as a military version of the airliner S.23 Empire . From 1937 to October 1945 Short Brothers built 749 of these long-range multi-purpose flying boats , which were used by 19 squadrons of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and in the naval forces of other countries. After the Second World War , some copies were converted to the civilian version Short Sandringham .


Even before the S.23 had completed its first flight in July 1935 , the British Air Ministry demanded that it be further developed into a purely military version. The specifications of 1933 provided for a four-engine flying boat that could be used as a sea ​​reconnaissance aircraft . In 1934 the ministry commissioned the construction of a prototype to compete with the Saunders-Roe A.33 . In March 1936 the order was converted into an order for 21 aircraft. Short's chief designer Arthur Gouge was responsible for the implementation. The first flight of the prototype ( K4774) took place on October 16, 1937 from the Medway by J. Lankester Parker.

In the autumn of 1938 the first machines entered service with the RAF Coastal Command . The Sunderland was the most effective British flying boat of the Second World War and was used for sea ​​reconnaissance , anti -submarine defense, for transport tasks and in the sea emergency service. Over 60 German submarines of the Kriegsmarine were sunk by the aircraft. 16 copies were in service with the Royal New Zealand Air Force .

Many of the Sunderlands were deployed on the northern corridor to Berlin during the Berlin Airlift . They started on the Elbe in Hamburg-Finkenwerder and landed in Berlin on the Havel near Lindwerder . In Great Britain it was in active service until mid-1958, in New Zealand the last specimens were retired in 1966.

After the Second World War, 27 Sunderland flying boats were converted into passenger planes and renamed Short Sandringham . The airline BOAC put some of them into service as Plymouth class and used them for transatlantic traffic . Others came into the possession of TEAL and were used between Auckland and Sydney and on different Pacific routes. The NZ4115 is preserved in the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland, one of four that are kept in museums worldwide . The aircraft acquired by Ansett and partly from the inventory of the Royal New Zealand Air Force operated between Sydney and Lord Howe Island . Other users were DNL - Norwegian Airlines , which operated the scheduled service from Oslo to Tromsø with this type of aircraft between 1946 and 1952 , the British Aquila Airways , which operated the flying boats and the like. a. used during the Berlin Airlift and from 1949 to 1956 in the liner service between Southampton and Madeira , as well as the French Transports Aériens Intercontinentaux (TAI), which started a line connection between Nouméa and Bora Bora in 1958 with these flying boats .


The model was designed as a cantilevered shoulder wing in all-metal construction with a normal tail unit. High, spacious hull and two support floats with one step each. The curb weight increased to 16,800 kg by 1944, the maximum take-off weight to 29,550 kg, as the military payload doubled. Of the five series (Mk. I - Mk. V), three were equipped with Bristol Pegasus engines (850 to 1,025  hp ) and two with Pratt & Whitney "Twin Wasp" engines (1,200 hp).

Production numbers

The Sunderland was built in Great Britain at Short in Rochester and Windermere, Short & Harland in Belfast and Blackburn in Dumbarton.

The total number of Sunderland produced was 749 machines. This deviates from the tables below, the source of which is cited with the wrong year of publication, without page numbers and publisher, and in which prototypes are not listed. The deviations affect not only the total number, but also the individual series.

Production of the Short Sunderland
version Short / Rochester Short / Windermere Short & Harland Blackburn total
Mk I 73 73
Mk II 23 15th 20th 58
Mk III 186 35 70 170 461
Mk V 47 47 60 154
total 329 35 132 250 746
Annual production of the Short Sunderland
year number
1938 23
1939 27
1940 18th
1941 30th
1942 129
1943 210
1944 189
1945 110
1946 10
total 746


  • On August 28, 1947, a Sandringham 6 of Det Norske Luftfartselskap (DNL) ( aircraft registration LN-IAV ) was flown at a height of only 290 meters on the flank of the 400-meter-high Kvammetind mountain, which was lying in the fog. The machine was on its way from the then sea airport Harstad / Narvik to Bodø . All 35 people on board (8 crew members, 27 passengers) were killed. This was the worst accident involving a Sandringham and at the time the worst fatal aviation accident in Norway.
  • On October 2, 1948, a Sandringham 5 of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines (LN-IAW) had an accident while landing at the then sea airport Trondheim-Hommelvik. When landing in heavy seas and cross winds, there was a loss of control. 19 of the 45 occupants were killed (see also flight accident involving the Bukken Bruse flying boat) .
  • On May 15, 1950, a Sandringham 6 of the SAS Scandinavian Airlines (LN-IAU) crashed back into the sea shortly after taking off from the then sea airport Harstad / Narvik on the way to Tromsø Airport and sank an hour later. All 33 occupants (7 crew members and 26 passengers) survived.

Technical specifications

Short Sunderland I / II
Parameter Data (Sunderland Mk I) Data (Sunderland Mk V)
crew 7-9 10
Wingspan 34.38 m
length 26.00 m
height 10.00 m 10.50 m
Wing area 138.2 m² 156.8 m²
Wing extension 8.6 7.5
Empty mass 12,830 kg 16,770 kg
Takeoff mass normal 20,750 kg
maximum 22,800 kg
normal 27,270 kg
maximum 29,545 kg
drive four Bristol Pegasus XXII with 1,025 HP (754 kW) takeoff power each four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90 B Twin Wasps each with 1,200 PS (883 kW) takeoff power
Fuel supply 5,200 kg
Top speed 338 km / h at an altitude of 1,900 m 343 km / h at an altitude of 1,500 m
Cruising speed 286 km / h at an altitude of 1,900 m 215 km / h at an altitude of 600 m (economical)
Rate of climb 360 m / min 256 m / min
Summit height practically 4,850 m,
absolute 6,250 m
practically 5,460 m,
absolutely 7,000 m
Range normal 3,100 km at 260 km / h
maximum 4,600 km at 210 km / h
normal 3,150 km
maximum 4,350 km with 760 kg drop ammunition
Radius of action 2,200 km 1,740 km
Flight duration normal 10 h at 260 km / h
maximum 21 h at 220 km / h
normal 12 h at 260 km / h
maximum 20.2 h at 215 km / h
Armament 7–10 machine guns in 3–4 command
posts 8–16 depth charges (dropping ammunition up to 1,800 kg)
7-10 MGs in 3-4 command posts
4 in the fuselage nose rigid MG
launched munitions to 2254 kg

See also

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Philipp Prinzing: Short Sunderland. Guardian of the Seas. In: Classics of Aviation No. 3/2020, pp. 40ff.
  2. ^ John Stroud, Short Sandringham (Post-war propliners) , in Airplane Monthly, April 1993, p. 57
  3. ^ CH Barnes: Shorts Aircraft since 1900. Putnam Aeronautical Books, London 1989, ISBN 0 85177 819 4 , pp. 345-368, 528, 529.
  4. a b National Archives, Kew, stock AVIA 10/311; Hamlin, John F .: Ocean Sentinel. The Short Sunderland , undated 2012
  5. ^ Accident report Sandringham LN-IAV , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on November 25, 2018.
  6. ^ Accident report Sandringham LN-IAW , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on November 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Accident report Sandringham LN-IAU , Aviation Safety Network (English), accessed on November 25, 2018.
  8. ^ Ulrich Israel: Flying Boats of the Second World War . In: Wolfgang Sellenthin (Ed.): Deutscher Fliegerkalender 1969 . German Military Publishing House, Berlin 1968, p. 194 .
  9. ^ Ulrich Israel: Flying Boats of the Second World War . In: Illustrated series for type collectors . German Military Publishing House, Berlin 1972, p. 94 .