Short Sealand

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Short Sealand G-AIVX at Stretton.jpg
Short Sealand demonstrator G-AIVX at RNAS Stretton on 25 July 1953
Role Amphibious Seaplane
Manufacturer Short Brothers
Designer C T P Lipscomb
First flight 22 January 1948
Introduction 31 December 1950
Primary users Indian Navy
Christian & Missionary Alliance
Royal Dutch Shell
Yugoslav Air Force
Number built 25

The Short SA.6 Sealand was a light, commercial Amphibious aircraft for 5–7 passengers, designed for the general overseas market in territories with suitable water access and/or runways. It could take off from and land on rivers, lakes and sheltered bays or prepared runways. It was flown by either a single pilot or a pilot and navigator and saw service with the Indian Navy and in many other parts of the world, including Borneo, East Bengal, Norway and Venezuela.

Two variants were produced, the SA.6 Sealand I and the SB.7 Sealand III, an extended version with longer wings, a deeper rudder and a strengthened hull.

The SB.2 Sealand II was planned as a second prototype but was never completed as such, becoming the first of the batch of 4 pre-production aircraft G-AKLM to G-AKLP.[1]


The Sealand was a high wing cantilever monoplane of all-metal construction with a flying boat hull and both underwing floats and a standard tail-wheel undercarriage; the two main wheels retracted into recesses in the hull below the wings, while the tailwheel retracted behind the hull's planing bottom.

Orthographic drawings (of not very high quality) of the Sealand can be seen online here.[2]

Operational history[edit]

Short SA.6 Sealand VR-UDV of Shell Oil at Blackbushe in September 1954

The prototype Sealand was launched on 19 January 1948 and flew 3 days later from the waters of Belfast Lough, piloted by Shorts' Chief Test Pilot, Harold Piper. Four pre-production aircraft were built, the first of which was retained by Shorts for demonstration purposes (eventually crashing in fog while on a sales tour of Norway, killing both the pilot and the sales representative). The other three were eventually sold to overseas operators in Norway and Borneo. A further ten Sealands were built and sold to a variety of small operators, including one (G-AKLW, later SU-AHY) equipped as an "air yacht" with luxurious fittings for a private client in Egypt and given the name Nadia.[3]

The Indian Navy ordered 10 Sealands in 1952 to an enhanced specification, which included dual controls, increased fuel capacity and uprated engines. All ten aircraft were delivered between January and October, 1953. The last Indian Navy Sealand was taken out of service 12 years later; one aircraft is on display at the Indian Naval Aviation Museum.[4]

Short SA6 Sealand in the Air Museum in Belgrade (2009)

A second Sealand exists at the Air Museum in Belgrade,[5] which is claimed to have been registered originally as G-AKLF. This registration was not, however, assigned to a Sealand; this aircraft is also said to have borne the local registration YU-CFK, which indicates that it was in fact the aircraft with the Shorts manufacturing number SH.1567, i.e. G-AKLS.[3]

A third, G-AKLW (originally bought by the wealthy Egyptian client mentioned above) is under rebuild (2008) at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra, Holywood, Northern Ireland.[6]

Shorts retained the first prototype (G-AIVX) for company use, often using it without the wing-floats and struts to increase its payload.[7] It was finally scrapped it when its Certificate of Airworthiness expired in April 1955.


Civilian operators[edit]

  • Aero Nord Sweden
 United Kingdom
 United States

Military operators[edit]

  • Indian Navy – ten Series 1L aircraft with Gipsy Queen 70-4 engines and dual controls, all delivered in 1953.
 Saudi Arabia

Specifications (Sealand I)[edit]

Data from Barnes and James 1989,[7] Jackson

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 or 2
  • Capacity: 5–7 passengers
  • Length: 42 ft 2 in (12.85 m)
  • Wingspan: 59 ft 0 in (17.98 m) [8]
  • Height: 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m) [9]
  • Wing area: 353 sq ft (32.8 m2) [10]
  • Empty weight: 7,007 lb (3,178 kg)
  • Gross weight: 9,100 lb (4,128 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × de Havilland Gipsy Queen 70-3 inverted inline air cooled piston, 340 hp (250 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 187 mph (301 km/h, 162 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 175 mph (282 km/h, 152 kn) [9]
  • Range: 660 mi (1,060 km, 570 nmi) [9]
  • Endurance: 3.5 hr
  • Service ceiling: 20,600 ft (6,300 m) [9]
  • Rate of climb: 880 ft/min (4.5 m/s) [9]

See also[edit]

Related lists



  1. ^ Barnes & James 1989, p.433.
  2. ^ "Short "Sealand"". Fortunecity. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  3. ^ a b Barnes & James 1989, p.436.
  4. ^ "War Birds of India". Indian Naval Aviation Museum. Archived from the original on 10 November 2006. Retrieved 29 January 2007.
  5. ^ Lista Eksponata: Avioni
  6. ^ "Air Transport: Short Sealand". Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2007.
  7. ^ a b Barnes & James 1989, p.438.
  8. ^ Sealand III: 61 ft 6 in (18.75 m)
  9. ^ a b c d e Jackson 1988, p. 163.
  10. ^ Sealand III: 359 sq ft (33.4 m2)


  • Barnes, C.H.; James, Derek N. (1989). Shorts Aircraft since 1900. London: Putnam.
  • Jackson, A.J. (1988). British Civil Aircraft 1919–1972:Volume III. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-818-6.
  • Marinkovic, V. "Short S.A.6 Sealand". V.Marinkovic. Retrieved 29 January 2007.

External links[edit]

Media related to Short Sealand at Wikimedia Commons