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Flying Empires Book Documents

Flying Empires Book Documents

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Published by: johncrusoe on Jul 27, 2012
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1. Ancestry_____________________________________________________________________________
Flying Empires
Short ‘C’ class Empire flying boats
Written by Brian Cassidy3 Queen’s Parade BATH BA1 2NJ UK.
Originally typed on an Amstrad 8512 in Locoscript 10pt. LX Roman type and published as a book in 1996.Transferred from Locoscript to Microsoft Word in 10pt. Times Roman.Revised June 2011.Copyright © Brian Cassidy 2009 All rights reserved.British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataISBN 0 9529298 2 1Universal Decimal Classification 629.135.5Dewey Decimal Classification 20 629.133.347
It may even be too late now to record the full story of the forty-two, nearly forty-three, Empire flying boats.Time and history move on quickly. Although some small scraps
the flying boats exist, none of the aircraftthemselves have survived. So much
them has already vanished. Most of those who flew and worked the‘boats are, sadly,
longer here. For all practical purposes, the Short Brothers drawings and most of thecalculations have gone up in smoke and unless someone, somewhere, has a hitherto undiscovered hoard of prints,they too seem to have all disappeared.The Empire flying boats had a highly respectable pedigree. They were designed and built by the world’s firstaircraft manufacturing company, led by
of the pioneers of metal construction for aircraft, Oswald Short, nowseemingly forgotten. Oswald Short and Francis Webber designed the world’s first metal-hulled flying boat, theminute Cockle. Arthur Gouge, with an apparently faultless eye for a flying boat hull, succeeded Webber as ChieDesigner, to design the Singapore I and set the line of ancestry that led to the Empire hull. The Seaplane Works atRochester built twenty-seven flying boats of eight different designs from the launch of the Singapore I in August1926, to the roll-out of the first Empire ‘boat ten years later.The Empire ‘boats were designed
carry the mail and
the first chapter
their history they did so. Thesections of this book outlining the operations of the ‘boats on the Empire Air Mail Programme, and later on theHorseshoe Route and their wartime exploits, are no more than notes. A fully expanded account is needed
complete this corner of aviation
fact that an authentic general arrangement drawing
an Empire ‘boat could not be found is a considerabledrawback. None of the existing three-view drawings, and most
are no
more than small scale diagrams, arewholly accurate. Over the years, I have assembled – the correct word as the sources are many – a set of GeneralArrangement drawings. Until a print of an authentic Short Bros. GA can be found to check these drawings, theyare probably the best available. The drawing number for the hull lines is Short Brothers S.23.C.1000.
To my
certain knowledge, I have never seen an Empire ‘boat. Without the help of those I have met, who knew theEmpire ‘boats inside and out, there would have been little to add to their story.Most of the photographs have been provided by Short Brothers plc. as prints of Mr Galloway’s magnificentphotographs. My Maintenance Manual is a photocopy of Major Mayo’s, now lodged as part of the Mayo papers atthe Science Museum. The photocopied text of the Manual has been reunited with an original screw bound hardcover, a gift of Eddy Gosling acquired during his time in the Drawing Office at Rochester. Diagram 29 of theManual, showing the construction of the tail of an Empire ‘boat, is one of his drawings. Permission to publish thephotographs and the diagrams from the Maintenance Manual has been granted by Short Brothers plc. and isacknowledged with thanks.
1. Ancestry_____________________________________________________________________________
 My thanks also goes to the following have contributed material, advice and assistance of all kinds:Aerofilms Limited, Aéroport International Marseilles-Marignane, Air Historical branch Ministry of Defence,Captain M.J.R.Alderson, G.Angell, Air New Zealand,. W.Appleton, Arms and Armour Society, J.Ashmead,C.H.Austin, Australian War Memorial., G.H.Aveil, J.Bagley, C.H.Barnes, Bath City Library, Birmingham Publicand Reference Libraries, Bristol Industrial Museum, BritishAerospace, British Airways, British Library, G.Brown,G.Bruce, P.B.Buckley, Captain J.W.Burgess, Canopus Inn, Chatham News, Chatham, Rochester and GillinghamNews, Mrs. Chorley, Civil Aviation Agency, Konedobu, Papua-New Guinea, G.Clements. Coley Metals Ltd.H.Conway, A.Cormack, A.Cowling, D.Crook, G.W.Cussans, D.Dean, Defence Research Agency, Department of Civil Aviation, Melbourne, Department of Defence (Air Force Office) Canberra, Director
Civil Aviation,New Delhi, L.R.Dougal, Dowty Aerospace, Captain L.A,Egglesfield. Evening Post Chatham A.Finch.Commander Finseth, J.Fisher, Flight Refuelling Limited, Foynes Flying Boat Museum, J.D.Froggat,Captain B.Frost, Captain H.L.Fry, R.Funnell, B.Gardner, GEL-Marconi, P.Gilbert, Gillingham Reference Library,J.Gnosspelius, H.Gordon, E.L.Gosling, H.M.Coastguard. B.Halstead, P.Hammond, N.Harry, S.G.Hill, C.A.Hills,Hydrographic Department Ministry of Defence, Imperial War Museum, R.Jambon, Captain J.C.Kelly-Rogers,B.C.Kervell, J.Lamb, Kaptein B. Larsen, U.Larsstuvold, H.R.G.Lee, Mrs.P.Lowman, Lucas-CAV Ltd.,W.H.Mares, J.W.McNeill, Ministre de I’Equipment du Logement de l’Amenagement du Territoire et desTransports, W.W.Morgan, H.Morris, R.W.Morris, D..Mack Muir, Museum of Transport and Technology,Auckland, National Film Archive, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, New Guinea Mission, P.Newnham,Newport (lOW) Reference Library, R.Parsons, H.Penrose. B.Pettman, QANTAS Press Relations Sydney,S.Redman, Rhône-Poulenc, Rochester Museum, Rochester Public Library, R.Rodwell, H.Rolfe, N.F.Rose, RoyalAeronautical Society Library, Royal Air Force Museum Library, Royal Military Academy, Royal NationalLifeboat Institution, Royal Naval Air Station, Yeovilton, Science Museum, Shell UK., Smiths Industries Ltd.,Southampton Central Library and Record Office, Solent Sky Museum (formerly Southampton Hall of Aviation),Southern Evening Echo, Sperry Flight Systems,. J.Tattershall, The Patent Office, Tropical Diving Adventures,Boroko, Papua-New Guinea, University of Bristol Queen’s Library, D.Vincent, L.Wilson, H.J.Yea.
Brian Cassidy
BathJune 2011
1. Ancestry_____________________________________________________________________________
The Short Empire flying boats were primarily designed to carry the unsurcharged letter mail of the Empire Air Mail Scheme(EAMS) as it was originally known.
From 1935
onwards, in the days of a flourishing British Empire, the Short S 23, S 30 andS.33 flying boats were usually known as Empire Flying Boats or Empire flying boats. They were described as such in a ShortBros.’ letter dated 25 May 1935, more than a year before the launch of the first ‘boat. Janes All the World’s Aircraft of 1938,referring to the fleet of thirty-one flying boats, states that they were ‘known as the Empire type’ and known by ImperialAirways Limited (IAL) as the ‘C’ class’. Not only were they usually called Empire Flying Boats, but in the middle of 1938 itwas Imperial Airways Limited’s intention to prefix the names of individual aircraft with
Caledonia’ and so forth. There is not much evidence that this cumbersome practice ever became widespread orindeed was ever used, although one of Imperial Airways Limited’s promotional posters, titled ‘AN
FLYINGBOAT’, shows a cut-away, and perhaps
Calypso flying serenely over a sunlit archipelago. The names of the ‘boatswere also prefixed with the initials RMA (Royal Mail Aircraft) when they were carrying the Royal Mail. On 29 June 1937 theEmpire Air Mail Scheme (EAMS) became the Empire Air Mail Programme (EAMP) until 10 June 1940. The RMA prefix wasused until 1940, when its use was supposed to have been discontinued. IAL traditions died hard and there are instances of theprefix being used well into British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) days.The names of the individual Empire flying boats are given in the text in full capitals, prefixed with the last two letters of their registration. All the ‘boats were originally taken on the British register. The QANTAS Empire Airways (QEA) andTasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) aircraft were subsequently transferred to the respective Australian and New Zealandregisters. During World War II nine of the ‘boats were impressed in Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force serviceand so carried military serials. Others were transferred from BOAC to QANTAS Empire Airways and vice versa, withconsequent changes of registration.Distances in the text relating to flights are given in nautical miles (n.m.) and kilometres (km.). Short distance are in nauticalmiles and kilometres (km.) or in feet (ft.) and metres (m.). Altitudes and heights above ground are given in feet (ft.).Horizontal speeds are in knots and kilometres per hour (km.per hr.). Vertical speeds are in feet per minute (ft. per mm.).Temperatures are in degrees Celcius (deg. C.). Dimensions of aircraft and buildings are in feet (ft.) and inches (ins.) and inmetres or millimetres (m. or mm.)
with some degree of rounding out. The Système Internationale des Unites (SI metric)measures ‘weight’ as a force in newtons (N.) and ‘mass’ in kilogrammes (kg.). Strictly speaking therefore, metric references to‘weight’ should be in newtons, or referred to as the ‘mass’ in kilogrammes. The aircraft were designed using the imperialsystem of weights and measures with the pound (lb.) as a unit of mass and force. ‘Weights’ are therefore given here in pounds(lb.) and (usually) kilogrammes (kg.). Purists can (properly) mentally substitute the word ‘mass’ each time they read ‘weight’.The capacities of fuel and oil tanks, and the transfers between aircraft in flight refuelling, are given in imperial gallons andlitres. Weights (or masses) of payload, mail and freight are in kilogramme (kg.) as they were in 1936. Times are eitherGreenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST), or local time. Often it is not clear which standard is meant, soin these cases the time is given as it appears in the reference.Following the usage of the day, and befitting their role as maritime aircraft, ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ were used to describesides of the aircraft and are used here in place of the now usual ‘left’ and ‘right’. The Empire ‘boat engines were known as‘port outer’, ‘port inner’, ‘starboard inner’ and ‘starboard outer’ rather than Nos. I, 2, 3 and 4. Engine powers are given in horsepower (hp.) and kilowatts (kW.). The contemporary term ‘airscrew’ has been used in place the now more usual ‘propeller’.The word ‘wireless’ in 1936 was gradually giving way to ‘radio’. The Maintenance Handbook refers to the radio installationson the Empire ‘boats as ‘wireless installations’ and the company that supplied most of the equipment was Marconi’s WirelessTelegraph Cc). Ltd. The preferred mode of communication used by the ‘boats was by W/T,
wireless telegraphy, in theInternational Morse Code although the man who operated the wireless sets was known as the Radio Officer.
To get a rough and ready sense of the relative value of money between the past and the present, the term PresentValue (PV) is used to represent the difference between the purchasing power of a pound stirling then and when thiswas originally written 1996. Since then, the inflation rate has increased by about 16%. To arrive at the equivalentcontemporary value, the prices of items and salaries mentioned in the text have been multiplied by a factor derivedfrom the relative values of the index of purchasing power.using the Bank of England’s Retail Prices Index and areapproximate and are often rounded out. In 1936 the purchasing power of stirling was at approximately the samelevel as it had been twenty years before in 1916. Half the wage earners in the United Kingdom lived, or perhapsexisted, on £ 1:0:0 (£1.00) or less per week,
a PV of £ 21.25.. A man on the shop floor at the Seaplane Works atRochester could earn £ 2:10:0 (£2.50)
per week in 1936 (PV £ 53.00), so Short Bros’. employees were thereforecomparatively well paid.

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