Short SC.7 Skyvan

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SC.7 Skyvan
Short Skyvan SC.7 (G-BEOL) arrives at RIAT Fairford 12July2018 arp.jpg
Skyvan at RAF Fairford, England, 2018
Role Utility aircraft
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Short Brothers
First flight 17 January 1963
Status Limited service
Produced 1963-1986
Number built 149
Developed into Short 330
Short 360

The Short SC.7 Skyvan (nicknamed the "Flying Shoebox")[1] is a British 19-seat twin-turboprop aircraft manufactured by Short Brothers of Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is used mainly for short-haul freight and skydiving.

The Short 330 and Short 360 are stretched models of the original SC.7, designed as regional airliners.

Design and development[edit]

In 1958, Short was approached by F.G. Miles Ltd (successor company to Miles Aircraft) which was seeking backing to produce a development of the H.D.M.106 Caravan design with a high aspect ratio wing similar to that of the Hurel-Dubois HD.31. Short acquired the design and data gathered from trials of the Miles Aerovan based H.D.M.105 prototype. After evaluating the Miles proposal, Short rejected the Caravan.[2] They developed their own design for a utility all-metal aircraft which was called the Short SC.7 Skyvan. The Skyvan is a twin-engined all-metal, high-wing monoplane, with a braced, high aspect ratio wing, and an unpressurised, square-section fuselage with twin fins and rudders.[3] It was popular with freight operators compared to other small aircraft because of its large rear door for loading and unloading freight. Its fuselage resembles the shape of a railroad boxcar for simplicity and efficiency.

Skyvan 3 converted for survey work by Questor Surveys, 1975

Construction started at Sydenham Airport in 1960, and the first prototype first flew on 17 January 1963, powered by two Continental piston engines.[4] Later in 1963, the prototype was re-engined with the intended Turbomeca Astazou II turboprop engines of 520 shp (390 kW);[5] the second prototype (the first Series 2 Skyvan) was initially fitted with Turbomeca Astazou X turboprop engines of 666 shp (497 kW) but subsequently the initial production version was powered by Turbomeca Astazou XII turboprop engines of 690 shp (510 kW). In 1967, it was found that the Astazou XII was temperature limited at high altitudes.[6] Consequently, in 1968, production switched to the Skyvan Series 3 aircraft, which replaced the Astazou engines with Garrett AiResearch TPE331 turboprops of 715 shp (533 kW). A total of 149 Skyvans (including the two prototypes)[7] were produced before production ended in 1986. The United States Air Force operated Sherpa Skyvans in Europe for spare parts and cargo delivery. The larger Sherpas were developed from the earlier models.

Operational history[edit]

Skyvans served widely in both military and civilian operations, and the type remained in service in 2009 with a number of civilian operators, and in military service in Guyana and Oman.

SC.7 Skyvan at Oulu Airport

Skyvans were used during the infamous death flights at the depths of Argentina's Dirty War in 1977, during which around 4,400 detainees were thrown to their deaths onto the Río de la Plata.[8][9]

Two Argentine Naval Prefecture Skyvans later participated in the 1982 Falklands War. Both aircraft were ferried to Port Stanley in April 1982. One aircraft was damaged by British naval gunfire on Stanley racecourse, and did not fly again; it was finally destroyed by shellfire during British bombardments on 12/13 June 1982. The second aircraft was used at Pebble Island, where it became bogged down in the soft ground, and on 15 May 1982 it was destroyed by a British raiding party.[10]

Skyvans continue to be used in limited numbers for air-to-air photography and for skydiving operations. In 1970, Questor Surveys of Toronto Canada converted the first of two Skyvan 3s for aerial geological survey work. The Collier Mosquito Control District uses Skyvans for aerial spraying.[11]


Skyvan 1
prototype, one built. 2 x Continental GTSIO-520 engines.
Skyvan 1A
re-engined 1st prototype. 2 x 388 kW (520 hp) Turbomeca Astazou II engines.
Skyvan 2
Turbomeca Astazou powered production. 8 Series 2 produced (including the second prototype).
Skyvan 3
Garrett TPE331 powered production. 140 produced (of all Series 3 versions) plus 2 Series 2 were converted.[12]
Skyvan 3A
higher gross weight version of Skyvan Series 3.
Company military demonstrator in 1982
Skyvan 3M
military transport version. It can be used for supply dropping, assault transport, dropping paratroops, troop transport, cargo transport, casualty evacuation, plus search and rescue missions.
Skyvan 3M-200
high gross weight version of Skyvan 3M (MTOW 6,804 kg, 15,000 lb).
deluxe all-passenger version.
Maritime patrol version, (SC7-3M-4022), principally used by the Sultan of Oman's Air Force / Royal Air Force of Oman (SOAF / RAFO)


Civilian operators[edit]

As of July 2009, a total of 40 Skyvan aircraft remained in airline or skydiving service, with Pink Aviation Services (4), Sonair (1), Swala Airlines (2), Transway Air Services (1), Deraya Air Taxi (3), Layang Layang Aerospace (1), Macair Airlines (1), Malaysia Air Charter (1), Olympic Airways (1), Pan Malaysian Air Transport (1), Wirakris Udara (1), CAE Aviation (1), Deltacraft (1), Invicta Aviation (2), Advanced Air (1), Allwest Freight (2), Era Alaska (3), GB Airlink (1), North Star Air Cargo (5), Skylift Taxi Aereo (1), Skydive Arizona (7), Skydive DeLand (1), Skydive Lonestar (1), Skydive Perris (5), Sydney Skydivers (2), SkyForce Piotrków Trybunalski (2), Skydive Pennsylvania and Summit Air (2), Eagle Air (2),[13] Sustut Air (1),[14] Ryan Air Services,[15] Nomad Air (2), Aalto University (Helsinki, Finland), Skykef (Israel)

As of September 2018, Skydive Lonestar no longer operates a Skyvan.

As of January 2019 Era Alaska, Ryan Air Services and All West Freight no longer operate Skyvans.

Sydney skydivers no longer own Skyvans.

As of May 2019, Olympic Air (successor to Olympic Airways) no longer operates Skyvans.

In 2019, Invicta Aviation sold their 2 Skyvans (G-PIGY, G-BEOL) to the Guyana Defence Force.

Military operators[edit]


Former military operators[edit]

Austrian Air Force Skyvan
 North Yemen
 United Arab Emirates

Specification (Skyvan 3)[edit]

Data from Jane's Civil and Military Upgrades 1994-95[23]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1–2
  • Capacity: 19 passengers
  • Length: 12.21 m (40 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 19.79 m (64 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 4.60 m (15 ft 1 in)
  • Wing area: 35.12 m2 (378.0 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 3,331 kg (7,344 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 5,670 kg (12,500 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 1,109 L (244 imp gal; 293 US gal)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-2-201A turboprops, 533 kW (715 shp) each
  • Propellers: 3-bladed Hartzell HC-B3TN-5/T10282H variable-pitch propeller


  • Maximum speed: 324 km/h (201 mph, 175 kn) max cruise at 3,050 m (10,010 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 278 km/h (173 mph, 150 kn) econ cruise at 3,050 m (10,010 ft)
  • Stall speed: 111 km/h (69 mph, 60 kn) flaps down, EAS
  • Never exceed speed: 402 km/h (250 mph, 217 kn) EAS
  • Range: 1,115 km (693 mi, 602 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 6,858 m (22,500 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 8.3 m/s (1,640 ft/min)
  • Takeoff run to 15 m (50 ft): 482 m (1,581 ft) (STOL)
  • Landing run from 15 m (50 ft): 567 m (1,860 ft) (STOL)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ "Your Place And Mine - Topics - Transport - The Flying Shoebox - The Shorts Skyvan". Archived from the original on 20 August 2004.
  2. ^ Barnes 1989, pp. 477–478
  3. ^ Barnes 1989, pp. 478–481
  4. ^ Barnes 1989, p. 481
  5. ^ Barnes 1989, p. 482
  6. ^ Barnes 1989, pp. 486–487
  7. ^ Barnes 1989, pp. 531–533
  8. ^ "Argentina 'death flight' pilots sentenced for deaths including pope's friend". The Guardian. 29 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Unas 4.400 personas fueron eliminadas con los vuelos de la muerte". La Razón (in Spanish). 19 January 2005.
  10. ^ Burden, Rodney et al. Falkland: The Air War. London: Arms and Armour, 1986. ISBN 0-85368-842-7.
  11. ^ "Collier Mosquito Control District 2019 Open House".
  12. ^ Barnes 1989 p488.
  13. ^ Flight International, 3–9 October 2006
  14. ^ "Short SC.7 Skyvan." Archived 24 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 8 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Short SC.7 Skyvan". Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  16. ^ Hoyle 2013, p. 38
  17. ^ Hoyle 2013, p. 43
  18. ^ Taylor 1982, p. 271
  19. ^ "Short SC.7 SRS 3M "Skyvan"" (in German). Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Ghana Air Force". Archived from the original on 25 May 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  21. ^ Cooper, Tom; Grandolini, Albert (2018). Showdown in Western Sahara, Volume 1: Air Warfare Over the Last African Colony, 1945-1975. Warwick, UK: Helion & Company Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-912390-35-9.
  22. ^ Cooper, Tom (2017). Hot Skies Over Yemen, Volume 1: Aerial Warfare Over the South Arabian Peninsula, 1962-1994. Solihull, UK: Helion & Company Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-912174-23-2.
  23. ^ Michell 1994, pp. 228–229


External links[edit]