Logistics has always been the standing challenge for wartime and peacetime economies alike. The former was proven time-and again throughout the many campaigns of World War 2 (1939-1945) and this continued to be the case heading into the Cold War years (1947-1991). Short Brothers of Northern Ireland, having made a name for itself in the Second World War as a fine producer of oversized flying boats for the British military, was invited by F.G. Miles Limited to partner on a new utility-minded transport venture to potentially serve both military and civilian market circles. The result of this work became the Short SC.7 "Skyvan".
The design took on a very distinct appearance: a boxy fuselage was used which incorporated the cockpit overlooking a short nose section at the front and a raised empennage at the rear. Under the tail was a cargo loading/unloading ramp. The wing mainplanes were fitted high atop the fuselage and braced by thick struts, their placement allowing for excellent drag-and-lift properties particularly for short-field operations. The tail unit incorporated a twin-plane arrangement reminiscent of the old British World War 2 bombers. For ground-running, the aircraft used a conventional wheeled tricycle undercarriage that was fixed in flight - reducing complexity and lowering procurement costs. These non-retractable members were short in length so as to give the aircraft a shorter ground profile - facilitating loading / unloading cargo. Each wing mainplane was home to a single engine nacelle to be used to power the aircraft through the sky.
The initial prototype, "Skyvan 1", flew with 2 x Continental GTSIO-520 series engines for the first time on January 17th, 1963. The follow-up form, "Skyvan 1A", appeared with French-made 2 x Turbomeca "Astazou" engines of 520 horsepower each. This led to the production-quality "Skyvan 2" of which eight were built.
The variant was then followed by the Garrett AiResearch TPE331-powered "Skyvan 3" which saw production reach 145 units. The model was crewed by two and could carry up to nineteen passengers. Dimensions included a length of 40 feet with a wingspan of 64.10 feet and a height of 15 feet. Empty weight was 7,345lb against an MTOW of 12.500lb. The Garrett engines outputted 715 horsepower each, propelling the aircraft to speeds of 250 miles per hour up to altitudes of 22,500 feet and out to a range of nearly 700 miles.
Increased hauling capabilities greeted the improved "Skyvan 3A" and the "Skyvan 3M" was developed to satisfy the military market. "Skyvan 3M-200" became another military-minded offshoot featuring a higher gross weight of 15,000lb. Two more notable forms were the luxury "Skyliner" passenger hauler and the "Seavan", an overwater performer operated by Oman.
The versatile Skyvan went on to be used by a plethora of powers seeking a budget-conscious multirole product. These ranged from Argentina and Austria to the UAE and Yemen. Total production was 153 units before the end and manufacture ran from 1963 until 1986. While largely retired from most nations, the Skyvan still serves actively (2018) with Guyana and Oman (in a military role).
Status Active, Limited Service
Production 153 Units
Short Brothers - UK
Argentina; Austria; Botswana; Ciskei; Ecuador; Gambia; Ghana; Guyana; Indonesia; Japan; Lesotho; Malawi; North Yemen; Mauritania; Mexico; Nepal; Oman; Panama; Singapore; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; Yemen
- Special Forces
40.06 ft (12.21 m)
64.90 ft (19.78 m)
14.76 ft (4.5 m)
7,341 lb (3,330 kg)
12,500 lb (5,670 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Short SC.7 Skyvan production model)
22,507 feet (6,860 m; 4.26 miles)
696 miles (1,120 km; 605 nm)
1,640 ft/min (500 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Short SC.7 Skyvan production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Short SC.7 Skyvan production model)
Skyvan - Base Series Name
Skyvan Mk.1 - Prototype designation covering single example; fitted with 2 x Continental GTSIO-520 engines.
Skyvan Mk.1A - Fitted with 2 x Turbomeca Astazou engines of 520 horsepower each.
Skyvan Mk.2 - Turbomeca Astazou engines; eight examples.
Skyvan Mk.3 - Fitted with 2 x Garrett TPE331 engines; 145 examples.
Skyvan Mk.3M - Military transport variant
Skyvan Mk.3M-200 - Increased gross weight
Skyliner - Passenger transport variant.
Seavan - Maritime patrol platform for Oman Air Force.
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
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