In 1908 Eustace, Oswald and Horace Short registered their partnership under the name Short Brothers. The Wright Brothers contracted with the new company the British rights to build the Wright Flyer; an initial order for 6 aircraft was taken, all of them taken up by members of the Aero Club. Short Brothers became the first aircraft manufacturing company in the world, based at Battersea, south London. In 1910 they moved, along with the Royal Aero Club, to Eastchurch, where the Short-Dunne 5, designed by John W. Dunne, was built, the first tailless aircraft to fly. In 1911 they built the world's first successful twin-engine aircraft, the S.39 or Triple Twin. At this time seaplanes had to be taken by barge to Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey to be launched and tested. During WW1 they supplied the Short Admiralty Type 184 (or simply "Short S.184"), which was the first aircraft to attack a ship with a live torpedo. Shorts had also been among the manufacturers of two flying boats, the F3 and F5, designed by Sdn. Cmr. John Porte at the Seaplane Experimental Station, Felixstowe. When the war ended, some 50 of them were being built in Rochester. John Lankester Parker became Shorts' Chief Test Pilot in 1918, a post he was to occupy for the next 27 years. In the 1920s and 1930s, Shorts took to the flying boat market, producing a series of three designs known under the Singapore name. The next design was the Calcutta, which went into service with Impreial Airways, followed by the Kent and eventually the Empire flying boats. In 1937 they won a British Government defence contract for a military flying boat, the Sunderland. Sharing the same basic design but a modified upper structure, the Sunderland was one of the most effective long-range seaplanes in use. In 1933, Shorts opened a new factory at Rochester Airport, which was becoming increasing important for the landplanes the company was producing. In 1934, they finally closed their Eastchurch premises and purchased the Pobjoy engine manufacturer, which had moved to Rochester Airport to be near Shorts and with whom they had worked on their latest designs. In 1936, the Air Ministry formed a new aircraft factory in Belfast, creating a new company owned 50% each by Harland and Wolff and Shorts, Short & Harland Ltd. The first products of the new factory were 50 Bristol Bombays followed by 150 Handley-Page Hereford bombers. Their work on seaplanes eventually culminated in the Short Sandringham and Short Seaford types, both based on the Empire/Sunderland boats. In WW2, they produced the the Short Stirling, the RAF's first four-engine bomber. In 1943, the Government took over the ownership and management of Shorts under Defence Regulation 78. By 1947 all of their other wartime factories had been closed, and operations concentrated in Belfast. In 1948 the company offices followed and Shorts became a Belfast company in its entirety. In the meantime, in 1947, Short Brothers (Rochester and Bedford) Ltd. had merged with Short and Harland Limited to become Short Brothers and Harland Limited, with Oswald Short remaining as Life President. In the 1950s, Shorts was involved in much pioneering research, including designing and building the VTOL Short SC1, the Short SB5 and the Short SB.4 Sherpa. They built the Short Sperrin, a backup jet engine bomber design in case the V-bomber projects failed and the Short Seamew. Canberras were built under subcontract, and then Bristol set up a production line for the Britannia. In the 1960s, Shorts found a niche for a new short-haul freighter aircraft and responded with the Short SC.7 Skyvan. In the 1970s, Shorts entered the feederliner market with their Shorts 330, a stretched modification of the Skyvan, called the C-23 Sherpa in USAF service, and another stretch resulted in the more streamlined Shorts 360. In 1977, the company changed its name back to Short Brothers, and in 1984 became a public limited company in preparation for privatisation. The government announced the sale of Shorts to Bombardier in 1989. In 1993, Bombardier Shorts and Thomson-CSF formed a joint venture, Shorts Missile Systems, for the design and development of very short-range, air defence missiles. In 2000, Thomson-CSF bought Bombardier's 50% share to become the sole owner. Shorts Missile Systems was renamed Thales Air Defence Limited in 2001.
RAF Canberra PR9
* High-altitude reconnaissance
* Design dates from 1940s
The biggest purely British aircraft ever! This gorgeous example is at RAF Cosford, and really needs ...
In limited use by the US Army. This one was parked for an unknown reason at the Rocky Mountain Regi...