FRED KULLAS COLLECTION
No. 8225. Short S.23 (VH-ABC c/n S.849) Qantas Imperial Airways "Coogee"
Source unknown

Short S.23

08/31/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "In 1934 the British Government announced the Empire Air Mail Program under which most first class mail for British territories was to be carried by air without surcharge. Imperial Airways invited Shorts' proposals for an improved Kent flying boat to carry 24 passengers and 1.5 tons of mail, and cruise at 150 mph (241 kmh) over an 800 mls (l,287 km) stage. The Air Ministry had also invited Shorts to tender for a four-engined long-range flying boat. After studying biplane designs, Shorts submitted clean high-wing cantilever monoplanes to meet both requirements. These were the S.23 (better known as the Empire Flying Boat, but also referred to as 'C' Class Flying Boat) and the S.25 Sunderland). Imperial Airways ordered 28 S.23s and the Air Ministry a prototype Sunderland.

The S.23 was of very advanced design with a deep hull, single fin and rudder, cantilever wing with camber-changing flaps, and fixed wingtip floats. The four fully-cowled 920 hp Bristol Pegasus XC engines were mounted on the leading edge and drove three-blade propellers. The lower deck contained four passenger cabins with an initial total of 24 seats and the flight-deck and mail hold were on the upper deck.

Canopus, the first S.23, flew on July 4, 1936 and the order was changed to provide a total of 31 of which six were for Qantas Empire Airways while two of Imperial Airways' aircraft, the Caledonia and Cambria, were to be built as long-range aircraft for North Atlantic trials. Canopus made the first scheduled flight, from Alexandria (Egypt) to Brindisi (Italy), on October 30, 1936 and the same aircraft flew the first through service from Southampton (UK) to Durban (South Africa) in June 1937. View the Canopus wireless room and kitchen. On June 26, 1938, Camilla and Cordelia left Southampton to inaugurate flying-boat services to Australia, Challenger taking over at Singapore on July 2. The type maintained essential services during the war, undertook some military duties in Europe and the Mediterranean and played a major role in the Pacific war.

Nine heavier Perseus-engined S.30s were built, and four were equipped to enable flight refueling for North Atlantic operation. In 1938 three high-weigh S.33s were ordered to replace aircraft lost in accidents. Two were launched at the end of April 1940 but the third was not completed.

Created October 31, 2008