Home      Short Sunderland

Short Sunderland Flying Boat

YouTube - Short Sunderland Flying Boat


    Primary Function:
    Weight Empty:
    Max. Weight:
    Machine Guns:
    Max. Speed:
    Climb Rate:
    First Flight:
    Year Deployed:
maritime patrol
P&W R-1830
4 x 1,200 h.p. ea.
37,000 lbs.
60,000 lbs.
4,960 lbs.
16- 7.7 + 2- 12.7 mm
85 ft. 3 in.
112 ft. 9 in.
210 mph
850 fpm
18,000 feet
3,000 miles

Short Sunderland Flying Boat
Short Sunderland Flying Boat

The Short Sunderland flying boat started life as an enlarged civil aviation flying boat. It has been described as one of the finest sea planes ever produced. The aircraft was in RAF service from 1938 through 1959. During World War II, its 16 hour flight endurance made it an excellent convoy escort that proved a formidable adversary against enemy submarines.

Short Sunderland Flying Boat aircraft had a hull made from light weight anodized metal alloy. External rivets were flush to the aircraft's skin to reduce drag. It had hydraulic machine gun turrets, the first for this type of aircraft. Sunderlands evolved through the years to have more powerful, supercharged engines, additional offensive and defensive armament, a redesigned hull for better water handling, and a surface scanning radar.

Three squadrons of Sunderland aircraft were operational at the outset of World War II. In addition to anti submarine warfare, they were used as coastal patrol aircraft and in search and rescue operations.

Although Sunderlands participated in search and rescue operations, they weren't particularly well suited to rescues in high seas. We are told that several sank during high sea rescue attempts, probably due to their light weight hull construction.

During World War II Sunderlands sank a total of twelve enemy submarines; ten in the North Atlantic and two in the Mediterranean. However, their success was measured not in the number of enemy submarines sunk, but in the number of merchant vessels which completed their voyages unscathed due to their watchful patrols.

After World War II, Sunderlands participated in the Berlin Airlift ferrying supplies between the Elbe River and Lake Havel. Sunderland aircraft were again used for maritime patrol duties during the Korean War. They continued to serve with the Royal New Zealand Air Force into 1967.

A total of 739 Short Sunderland flying boat aircraft of all types were produced.

Short Sunderland Flying Boat
Short Sunderland Flying Boat - Quin

Scott Quin built the Short Sunderland Flying Boat pictured right above from Tony Nijuis plans. Its wingspan is 6 feet and total length is 4 1/2 feet.  Scot uses 4-MAX motors to power the 116 oz. model.

Kit Cutters sells a kit for a 135" wingspan Short Sunderland Flying Boat made from Nexus plans.

The first picture below is of a Short Sunderland Flying Boat from Precision Cut Kits built from Dan Palmer plans.  It has a wingspan of 113" and a length of 86 1/2".  Power comes from .25 engines.  All up weight is around 13 1/2 lbs.

Peter Angus built the nice looking Short Sunderland Flying Boat in the middle picture below.  He has plans available for the model.  Wingspan is 61" and construction is mostly balsa.  Peter uses Hextronic motors swinging 6 x 4 three blade props to motivate his 6 lb. rc airplane.

The next picture below is of a 83" wingspan Short Sunderland Flying Boat built by Al of RC Groups.  It uses balsa and ply formers and is covered by Depron foam.  Length of the model is 62".  Power comes from Tower Pro motors.

Email us.

Short Sunderland Flying Boat
Short Sunderland Flying Boat - Precision Cut

Short Sunderland Flying Boat
Short Sunderland Flying Boat - Angus.

Short Sunderland Flying Boat
Short Sunderland Flying Boat - Al