Short S.25 Sunderland

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Hobilar, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    [​IMG]

    The Short S.25 Sunderland, in spite of being one of the last flying-boats designed, was durable enough to remain in service for some twenty-one years, and is generally considered to have been one of the finest flying boats ever built.

    To meet the requirements of the Air Ministry Specification R.2/33 Short's Chief Designer, Arthur (later Sir Arthur) George, prepared a tender which was submitted to the Ministry in 1934. The Design was based on the Company's C Class "Empire" flying boats which had been operated by Imperial Airways in the 1930s. The Air Ministry, already sufficiently familiar with the aircraft's civilian counterpart, accepted the proposal and placed an order in March of 1936, a full eighteen months before the prototype (K4774) made its maiden flight (16 October 1937). Deliveries to the Royal Air Force began in June 1938 with the first batch of production Sunderland Mk Is being delivered to No.230 Squadron based in Singapore. These Sunderlands would replace the RAF's mixed fleet of biplane flying boats and represented a huge leap forward in capability.

    Initially two squadrons were equipped with the Sunderland Mk.1 during 1938, but by the outbreak of war in the following year a further two squadrons had converted to the type (with a further three being formed within the opening months of the war). Sunderland 1 production would eventually total 90 machines (15 of which were built by the Blackburn Aircraft Company). These first machines were powered by four 1,010 hp Bristol Pegasus XXII radial engines.
     
  2. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    Throughout the Second World War the Short Sunderland would play a decisive role in the defeat of German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. The first confirmed U-Boat kill being achieved in January 31, 1940 when the mere appearance of a lone Sunderland from No.228 squadron on patrol, caused the crew of U-55 to panic and immediately scuttle their submarine. The large Sunderland was also much in demand for convoy escort work, due not only to its striking power but its ability to land on the water for immediate rescue. The Sunderland was a very welcome sight to the many seamen from sunken vessels and airmen who had had to ditch (When the British Merchant ship Kensington Court was torpedoed, 70 miles of the Scillies on September 18, 1939 two patrolling Sunderlands had the entire crew of thirty-four personnel back on dry land within an hour of the vessel sinking). In this, and during many subsequent desperate evacuation operations early in the war, Sunderlands were regularly found carrying a large number of personnel in an almost continuous stream without ever needing the use of a land airfield.

    As more capability was added to the airframe, anti-shipping strikes were undertaken across the globe. With their great endurance, Sunderlands could easily spot German ship movements when other types were forced back to base due to lack of fuel. In addition the aircraft's excellent defensive armament became so notorious perilous to the Germans that it gained the nickname of the 'Flying Porcupine'.
     
  3. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    In 1941 production switched to the improved the Sunderland Mk.II. This model differed from its predecessor in having 1,050hp Bristol Pegasus XVIII engines; a two gun dorsal turret (replacing the single guns in the waist (beam) position of the Sunderland I); and the addition of a surface search radar. 58 Sunderland IIs were built.

    The Sunderland III was first flown in June 1942. This was basically similar to the Sunderland II but with a revised planing bottom. The Sunderland III would become the major production version with some 407 machines being manufactured until late 1943. Six Sunderland IIIs would be converted for use as long range passenger aircraft, operated by BAOC from 1943 (firstly from Poole to Lagos, West Africa and to Calcutta, India, and from then on gradually extending their routes).

    The final model of the Sunderland was the G.R. Mk.V, of which 143 would be completed by the time that production finally ended in 1946 (Bringing total Sunderland aircraft built to a total of 739 machines), The G.R.Mk.V switched to the 1,200 hp Pratt and Whitney R-1830-90B Twin Wasp engines. It also had better armament and other detail modifications.
     
  4. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    Often overshadowed by more glamorous aircraft, the Sunderland served throughout the war, and would later deliver nearly 5,000 tons of essential supplies during the Berlin airlift. It was also the only RAF aircraft to be used from the beginning to the end of the Korean War. The last Sunderland was finally retired from RAF service on the 20th May 1959 after an extensive and notable career.

    Bibliography
    Aircraft of World War II (Chris Chant, Dempsey-Parr, 1999)
    Collins-Jane's Aircraft of World War II (Harper Collins Publishing, 1995)
    World Aircraft Information files file 254 (Aerospace Publishing-Periodical)
    The World Encyclopedia of Bombers (Francis Crosby, Anness Publishing, 2004).
     
  5. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    SPECIFICATIONS

    Sunderland I

    Powerplant: Four 1,110 hp Bristol Pegasus XXII, 9 Cylinder radial engines
    Span: 112 ft 9.5 in (34.38 metres}
    Length: 85 ft 3.5 in (26 metres)
    Height: 34 ft 6 in (10.52 metres)
    Wing Area: 1,487 sq ft (119.85 m².)
    Weight: Empty: 30,589 lb (13,875 kg), Maximum takeoff: 49,000 lb (22,226 kg)
    Speed: 209 mph (336 km/h)
    Service Ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,570 metres)
    Range: 2,500 miles (4,023 km)
    Crew: up to 10

    Armament:Two 0.303-in (7.62mm)trainable forward firing machine guns in bow turret.
    Four 0.303-in trainable rearward firing machine guns in tail turret
    One 0.303-in trainable machine gun in each beam position.
    Internal bomb, depth charge or mine load of 2,000 lb (907 kg)
     
  6. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Hobilar,

    >Often overshadowed by more glamorous aircraft, the Sunderland served throughout the war, and would later deliver nearly 5,000 tons of essential supplies during the Berlin airlift.

    Being an ocean-going flying boat, the Sunderland was saltwater resistant and so it was used to fly in sacks of salt. Other types would have soon suffered from bad corrosion in that job ...

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  7. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Perplexing for Shorts was the Sunderlands general inability to take off from rough seas in an overloaded state without sustaining fatal structural damage. Sunderlands were lost attempting air-sea rescues in high swells, such that they were forbidden from picking up survivors.

    Yet it could survive incidents as illustrated, with minimal structural damage.

    It wasn’t until 1950-51 after undertaking tests at Flexistowe using low-lag electronic transducers that answers were found. Under certain swell conditions persistent pressures of no more than 5 lb/sq in caused severe damage. Revealed was the fact that instantaneous pressures greater than 45 lb/sq in were being generated just forward of the main step.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    My Dad was a wireless operator on Sunderlands post-war.

    Said he liked the aircraft, though overload takeoffs in rocky harbours entailed something of a pucker factor.
     
  9. AL Schlageter

    AL Schlageter Banned

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    Yes it is an Osprey book but still worth the read.

    Sunderland Squadrons of WW2 by Jon Lake.

    Osprey Combat Aircraft #19.
     
  10. 16KJV11

    16KJV11 Member

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    How many kills are credited to Sunderland crews during the war?
     
  11. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    uboat.net - The U-boat War 1939-1945 states the Sunderland sunk 27 U-boats in WWII, 7 being shared kills.
     
  12. daveT

    daveT Member

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    ASV was installed in a wide range of aircraft. Early ASV equipment was first installed operationally in the Royal Air Force (RAF) Short Sunderland four-engine general-purpose flying boats of Coastal Command and the Fleet Air Arm because it was too big to fit on smaller aircraft. The flying boats were ideal because they had huge cabins and could remain aloft for more than 12 hours. The ASV radar equipped Sunderland was identified by aerial masts and transmitter loops on the rear fuselage, and central and under wing Yagi homing aerials. The earliest model ASV Mark I employed a frequency of 176 megacycles (1.7 meters) reduced from 214 megacycles because it interfered with other radio devices then in use. The main equipment components included R 3009 Receiver, T 3010 Transmitter, Type 3 Indicator, and Type 21 Power Unit. If anyone has more info concerning Short Sunderland radar equiped aircraft I would like to know. I wonder how hard was the maintenance on both the aircraft and the radar equipment? The sea water environment must have been a problem. I also wonder if the antennas slowed the speed of the aircraft or if they broke off?
     

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  13. daveT

    daveT Member

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    Royal Navy. ASV (air to surface vessel) mark II mounted on a Sunderland flying boat. The receiver antennas are seen on the top of the hull forward of the rudder, which allowed scans to be made perpendicular to the flight direction. This combination of a long range aircraft and the ASV mark II became an extremely valuable weapon, especially during the very dark months for the Allies in 1942-43.
     

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  14. SteveH

    SteveH Member

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    RAAF ordered them in '39, only to take delivery in '44. My depiction of their eventual arrival in Sydney, entitled 'Better Late Than Never'. (RAAF collection)

    Steve

    [​IMG]
     
  15. 16KJV11

    16KJV11 Member

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    How many attacking German fighters/seaplanes/ were victims of Sunderland guns?
    I don't know much about them, but I believe they were well respected b/c of their defensive armament.
     
  16. iangedwards_104

    iangedwards_104 New Member

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    Hi mhuxt, I was a post-war Air Sig on Sunderlands (56 - 58). What was your Dad's name? Cheers, Eddy
     
  17. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Hi Eddy:

    Last name = Huxtable. Dad was born in January '34, so I imagine he was called up for National Service in '52 or so. I believe he flew from Pembroke Dock, among other misadventures.

    Cheers,

    Mark
     
  18. lynxszr

    lynxszr New Member

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    are there any sunderlands in museums anywhere
     
  19. lynxszr

    lynxszr New Member

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    an interesting book, although probably very difficult to get is Maritime is number ten (the Sunderland Era ) by Baff 1983 isbn 0 9592396 0 X griffin press

    10 squadron RAAF during WW11
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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