Short SC-5/10 Belfast
The Shorts Belfast was originally built for the RAF in the 1960s and although the manufacturer initiated a civil certification programme, of which approximately 65% was completed, this was cancelled due to apparent lack of interest displayed by commercial carriers at that time. The development of the Belfast was initially based upon that of the Bristol Britannia - the design was for some time dubbed the Britannic, and the RAF finalised a contract for 10 of the type to serve in the strategic, heavy airlift role.
The aircraft eventually utilised only some of the Britannia's basic wing structure. It was specifically designed for the carriage of heavy freight, including the largest types of guns, vehicles, guided missiles and other loads and had 'beaver-tail' rear loading doors capable of permitting the unhindered passage of any load that the fuselage could contain. As a troop transport it could carry 200 men, and was often used to carry helicopters overseas.
Following a development which spanned four years, the first Belfast made its maiden flight on 5 January 1964 and deliveries to the RAF commenced on 20 January 1966, when the first C.Mk l was handed over to No 53 Squadron at Brize Norton.
As a result of defence cuts at the end of 1976, the RAF phased out Belfast operations and, on 23 March 1977, Eurolatin Aviation concluded the purchase of the aircraft. At this stage in their career the Belfasts had flown 23 million nm without incident, averaging 8,000 flying hr/airframe. Of the original 10 aircraft, four were scrapped, one was destined for display with the RAF Museum and TAC HeavyLift had access to the other five.
On obtaining the aircraft, the airline completed an investigation to ascertain the oustanding conditions for Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval and following the go-ahead decision for certification, they enrolled the aid of Marshalls of Cambridge to provide the design and flight test support for the Belfasts under the organisation's existing CAA approvals. An independent engineering base at Southend airport was set up to carry out modifications required by the programme and to organise the management, identification, certifying and transport of spares for the fleet.
The Belfast civil certification programme involved a cost of over £4 million and included 120hr of flight testing; 20,000man/hr of design; 25,000man/hr of aircraft engineering; a complete assessment of all aircraft systems; civil certifica-tion of the Rolls-Royce Tyne engine; production of civil maintenance schedules, flight operating and technical manuals; and design, manufacture and installation of modifications to the radio station, navigation equipment and the aircraft's compulsory 'black boxes', cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder. Additional tasks were the removal of both the Belfast's RAF automatic landing system (the type became the first military transport in the World cleared for ‘hands-off' autolanding in fully operational conditions), and in-flight refuelling equipment.
The dimensions and specifications of the Belfast are impressive and its hold has a volume of 11,000 cu.ft with a cross section minimum of 12ftx 12ft. It is capable of carrying up to 34 tons of freight - although at this weight its range is a very limiting 700-800nm, and it has a cruising speed approaching 330mph.
Several aircraft operated with civil Heavylift Cargo Airlines at Stansted in Britain.
Short Belfast C 1
Engines: 4 x Rolls-Royce Tyne RTy 12 Mk 101 turboprops, 5,730eshp / 4273kW
Length: 136ft 5in / 41.58 m
Height: 47ft / 14.33 m
Wing span: 158ft 10in / 48.4 m
Wing area: 2464.956 sq.ft / 229.0 sq.m
Max take off weight: 230050 lb / 104330.0 kg
Weight empty: 127023.4 lb / 57607.0 kg
Cruise with max payload: 275kts (510km/hr)
Service ceiling: 30003 ft / 9145 m
Cruising altitude: 23950 ft / 7300 m
Range w/max.fuel: 10200 km / 6338 miles
Range w/max.payload: 2000 km / 1243 miles
Max hold width: 16ft 1in
Max payload: 75,000 lb (34,000kg)
Capacity: 200 troops
Short SC.5/10 Belfast