Short Solent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

S.45A Solent
Short Solent 3 - G-AKNU Sydney - Aquila Airways - Funchal.jpg
The Aquila Airways Solent 3, G-AKNU, Sydney taking-off from Funchal
Role passenger flying boat
Manufacturer Short Brothers and Harland
First flight 11 November 1946
Primary users BOAC
Number built 16 (and 7 converted S.45 Seafords)
Developed from Short Seaford

The Short Solent is a passenger flying boat that was produced by Short Brothers in the late 1940s. It was developed from the Short Seaford, itself a development of the Short Sunderland military flying boat design, which was too late to serve in World War II.

The first Solent flew in 1946. New Solents were used by BOAC and TEAL, production ending in 1949. Second-hand aircraft were operated until 1958 by a number of small airlines such as Aquila Airways.

Design and development[edit]

Interior of TEAL Solent preserved at Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland.

The Short S.45 Solent was a high-wing monoplane flying boat of aluminium construction. Power was provided by four Bristol Hercules[1] engines.

The aircraft could be fitted for 24 passengers with day and night accommodation or 36 day passengers. The cabins (four on the lower deck and two on the upper) could be used to sleep four or seat six. The upper deck included a lounge/dining area next to kitchen; the lower deck had two dressing rooms, toilets and three freight compartments. The flight crew was five (two pilots, navigator, and radio operator with the flight engineer in a separate compartment behind the flight deck opposite crew rest berths) and there were two stewards to attend to the passengers.[2]


Short Solent 2 G-AHIN "Southampton" served BOAC on its Johannesburg route between 1948 and 1950

The Solent 2 introduced by BOAC could carry 34 passengers and 7 crew. Between 1948 and 1950, BOAC operated their Solents on the three-times weekly scheduled service from Southampton to Johannesburg taking a route down the Nile and across East Africa. The journey took four days, including overnight stops. The Solents replaced Avro Yorks running the service.[3] The last Solent-operated service on the route departed from Berth 50 at Southampton on 10 November 1950, bringing BOAC's flying-boat operations to an end.[4]

Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) operated a total of five Solent 4s between 1949 and 1960 on their scheduled routes between Sydney, Fiji, Auckland and Wellington. The last TEAL Solent service was flown between Fiji and Tahiti on 14 September 1960 [4] by ZK-AMO "Aranui", which is now preserved. The TEAL Solents could carry 45 passengers and all versions of the type provided a great deal of space and luxury compared with contemporary or modern land-based aircraft.

Aquila Airways Solent 4 G-ANAJ "City of Funchal" at Berth 50 Southampton Docks in August 1955

Several Solents served Aquila Airways on their routes from Southampton to Madeira and the Canary Islands using ex BOAC and TEAL aircraft. On 15 November 1957, Aquila Airways G-AKNU, a Solent 3, crashed near Chessell, Isle of Wight, after it experienced loss of power to two engines.[5] The crash killed 45 out of the 58 on board. British commercial flying-boat operations ceased on 30 September 1958 when Aquila Airways withdrew its Madeira service.



  • Solent 2
civilian version for BOAC of the Short Seaford, 12 aircraft built at Rochester[8]
  • Solent 3
converted S.45 Seaford. 7 aircraft - 6 at Queen's Island, Belfast, 1 at Hamble[8]
  • Solent 4
powered by Bristol Hercules 733, four aircraft built at Belfast[8]


Exterior of the MOTAT aircraft.
  • Trans-Oceanic Airways
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
 United States
  • South Pacific Airlines

The only military use of the Solent was for trials at the United Kingdom Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment in 1951, the former BOAC Solent 3 was scrapped after the trials.

Specifications (Solent 2)[edit]

Data from Barnes and James[9]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 7
  • Capacity: 34 passengers
  • Length: 87 ft 8 in (26.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 112 ft 9 in (34.4 m)
  • Height: 34 ft 3¼ in [10] (10.44 m)
  • Wing area: 1,487 ft² (138.1 m²)
  • Empty weight: 47,760 lb (21,664 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 78,000 lb (35,381 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Bristol Hercules 637 radial piston engine, 1,690 hp (1,261 kW) each



  • Barnes, C.H.; James D.N. (1989). Shorts Aircraft since 1900. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-819-4.
  • Jackson, A.J (1988). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 3. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-818-6.

External links[edit]