Short Empire Flying Boat

Air travel was never more romantic than in the era of the large flying boats. The magnificent Short S.23s that travelled Britain’s imperial routes in Ihe late 1930s offered their privileged passengers an unforgettable experience. The principal mission, however, of the “Empire” flying boats was the transportation of mail.
Il was in order to fulfil the terms of its Empire Air Mail Scheme that the British government initially ordered a fleet of 28 for Imperial Airways from Short Brothers. Known as the “C” class, because each aircraft had a name beginning with that letter, the fliving boats were advanced, streamlined, all-metal monoplanes. By the standards of their day. they were impressively large and powerful, capable of carrying heavy payloads at relatively high speeds – they covered the
longest of their routes, from London to Sydney, in nine days with overnight stops.
In total. 31 S.23s and 11 related types were built. Although eight were lost in fatal crashes during their first three years, the C-class flying boats remained in service for more than a decade from 1936. During World War II they flew BOAC’s “Horseshoe Route” to Australia via East Africa and India, while two S.23s and two S.30s served in the Royal Air Force. Sadly, only 13 Empire flying boats survived the war, and by the end of 1947 they had all been withdrawn from service.

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