RNoAF Short Sunderland Mk.III

RNoAF Short Sunderland Mk.III

TYPE: Long-range reconnaissance aircraft boat

11x 7.7mm machine guns
900 kg various bombs, mines and depth charges internally, winched out under the wings through hatches in the fuselage sides

Crew: 9–11 Consisting of:

  • Two pilots
  • Radio operator
  • Navigator
  • Engineer
  • Bomb-aimer
  • Three to five gunners

Length: 26.01 m
Wingspan: 34.379 m
Height: 10.020 m
Wing area: 138.1 m2
Airfoil: Göttingen 436 mod
Empty weight: 15.649 kg
Gross weight: 26.308 kg
Powerplant: 4x Bristol Pegasus XVIII 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 1.065 hp each
Propellers: 3-bladed de Havilland constant-speed propellers, 3.89m in diameter

Maximum speed: 340 km/h at 2.000 m
Cruise speed: 286 km/h at 1.500 m
Range: 2,860 km
Endurance: around 13 hours
Service ceiling: 5.200 m
Rate of climb: 3.7 m/s
Wing loading: 190 kg/m2
Power/mass: 0.120 kW/kg

SERIAL NUMBERS - times in service and fates

Both the Sunderland MK.II and Mk.III had the same engine type, the British Bristol Pegasus XVIII, which with a two-stage compressor gave 1,065 Hp. The Sunderland was considered to have too little engine power, which did not change until the Mk.V entered service with American Pratt & Whitney engines. In addition, the propellers were no match for the British engines. This could be serious if problems arose and an engine stopped. The propeller would continue to spin, and it was feared that it could fall off, hit the fuselage, cockpit area or destroy a remaining engine. On 4 May 1944, the squadron commander summarized the situation in a letter in which he described the situation with the Mk.II/Mk.III:
“During a 9-month period, 330 Squadron had five cases of engine trouble in which the aircraft returned on three engines after blowing a propeller, and two were missing from operations where engine trouble may have been the cause”

Sunderland could, if necessary, stay in the air on three engines, but not if two engines have failed. However, the Mk.III had a longer range than before, a better design of the underwater hull and an improved electrical system

There were many, long and uneventful patrols and searches during periods of very bad weather. In January 1944, a full storm blew out for 16 days. At that time it was absolutely necessary to have crews on board all aircraft that were on a roll, usually four men running the engines in pairs to prevent the aircraft from breaking free from their moorings. This was no pleasure

Video showing the plane

One of the Mk.II planes in use






Ett fly på bakken, Short Sunderland Mk III. - Norsk Luftfartsmuseum / DigitaltMuseum
Short Sunderland - Wikipedia


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