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Short Bros. Solent walkaround

4 February 2011

Oakland Aviation Museum — Short Bros. Solent walkaround

Oakland Aviation Museum

37º 43′ 54″ N / 122º 12′ 45″ W

This aircraft is one of only a few Solents on display in the world and the only one in the USA. This Solent Mk III was manufactured by the Short Bros. (no strangers to seaplane designs) and is an evolution of their famous Sunderland line of flying boats and eventually leased to BOAC. She was named The City of Cardiff and began plying the 4½ day route between Southampton England and Johannesburg South Africa. The trip cost what would today be ~$12,500 in USD (I used this web site for the calculation) but the route came to an end in favor of land based aircraft in 1950. In her day she carried 34 passengers in luxury accommodations at a cruising speed of 220 mph (352kph) with a flight crew of five and a cabin crew of three.

The interior of the aircraft (both decks) can be toured and I understand it is in excellent condition but I could view only the exterior on the day of my visit. Here are images of the Solent Mk III:

Short Bros. Solent Mk III at the Oakland Aviation Museum — photo by Joe May

The bows and hull of the Solent — photo by Joe May

The Solent’s engines on the port wing — photo by Joe May

Flight deck (part of the upper deck) and main deck of the “City of Cardiff” (note the open bow hatch for mooring operations) — photo by Joe May

Beaching gear of the Solent (note the large step in the hull) — photo by Joe May

The capable bows could take a seas that would make others shy away — photo by Joe May

This is the second post in a series about the Oakland Aviation Museum, the first immediately precedes the date of this one. Three more posts will shortly follow.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Marty Davis permalink
    4 February 2011 09:35

    Another very handsome seaplane. I imagine the interior is spectacular. Any word on when you’ll be able to tour the interior and post some photos? Great work!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      4 February 2011 10:39

      I have to go back! I will be happy to go back 🙂 Near there are two Pan Am Flying Clipper related features I can take photos of as well — some on the island between Oakland and San Francisco and the other at Alameda. Ah…to dream of traveling 🙂

  2. shortfinals permalink
    12 February 2011 17:43

    Ah! THIS takes me back…………

    The ‘Speedbird’ emblem on the bow of the Solent (rather like a ‘Nike’ swoosh’) was carried by many aircraft of British Overseas Airways Corporation, before their merger with B.E.A. I remember seeing it on Comet 4s, Boeing 707s and even the early 747s!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      12 February 2011 23:55

      I had no idea of the long history of the Speedbird emblem and what a cool one it is. Thanks for this!

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