A Novel by Jamie F. Dodson

Flying Boats - S 17 Kent

' Short S 17 Kent Scipio coming in to alight at Alexandria, 1931' Water Color By IAN MARSHALL,
Flying Boats, The J-Class Yachts of Aviation      

     The Short S.17 Kent was a British 4-engined 15-seat biplane luxury flying-boat airliner. It was designed and built by Shorts Limited to meet a requirement from Imperial Airways Limited for an aircraft with greater range than the Calcutta. The new aircraft needed sufficient range to fly the stage from Mirabella, Crete, to Alexandria in Egypt without the need for refueling stops in Italian colonial territory. The winds of war were already stirring and a political row had led the Italian Government to ban British aircraft from its ports.

     Three aircraft were built, each receiving its own name: "Scipio", "Sylvanus" and "Satyrus". They were referred to collectively within Imperial Airlines as the "Scipio Class" boats. Each had an aircrew of three (two pilots and a radio operator/navigator) and a steward to prepare meals and light refreshments for the passengers.

     In October 1930, Short Bros. started building the first of the three S.17 Kent flying-boats (G-ABFA, named Scipio). It was launched and flown on 24 February 1931 by Shorts' Chief Test Pilot J. Lankester Parker and was in service in the Mediterranean in May of that year. The second (G-ABFB, named Sylvanus) was launched on 31 March 1931; the third Kent (G-ABFC, Satyrus) was launched on 30 April 1931 and flown for the first time on 2 May 1931. Imperial Airways used the Kent aircraft on the Mediterranean stages of its routes to India and beyond, also using them to survey planned routes to South Africa and Australia.

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Data from British Aircraft Directory: Short Kent.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Capacity: 15
  • Payload: lb (kg)
  • Length: 83 ft 10 in ft (m)
  • Wingspan: 113 ft (34.44 m)
  • Height: ft (m)
  • Wing area: 2,640 ft (245 m)
  • Empty weight: 20,460 lb (9,290 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 32,000 lb (14,510 kg)
  • Powerplant: Bristol Jupiter XFBM air-cooled single-row radial poppet valve piston engine, 555 hp (414 kW) each


Related development

Skyway to Asia - The Epic Struggle for the Pacific Airways

Short S 17 "Kent" Pictures and Graphics
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Dimensions In Themes River, London Loading passengers at Haifa, Palestine (Israel)
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With S 8 types in South Hampton Harbor, UK 1935 Luxurious Interior In Flight
Imperial Airways operated three times the flying boats that Pan America did during the Golden Age of Aviation.  Click here for a great Imperial Airways Link

Copyright 2007-2008. Jamie Dodson. All rights reserved.

Updated on February 2, 2010