Short S.C.1
1957
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Short S.C.1

In 1953, the Ministry of Supply issued Specification ER.143 for a research aircraft which could take off vertically by jet lift, then accelerate forward into normal cruising flight. The result was the Short SC. 1, which was powered by four RB.108 lift engines vertically mounted on gimbals in the centre fuselage and one RB.108 cruise engine in the rear for forward flight. The SC. 1 was designed to study hover, transition and low-speed flight, and had a fixed landing gear. Bleeds from the four lift engines powered nose, tail and wing-tip reaction jets for control at low speeds. The first conventional flight was made on 2 April 1957; first tethered vertical flight was on 26 May 1958; first free vertical flight was on 25 October 1958; and the first transition was on 6 April 1960. The SC.1 appeared at the Farnborough air show in 1960 and Paris air show in 1961 (for the latter it flew the English Channel both ways). Two test aircraft were built, the second of which crashed on 2 October 1963 due to a controls malfunction, killing the pilot. It was rebuilt and the two aircraft continued to fly until 1967.

Short S.C.1


Specification 
 CREW1
 ENGINE4 x 965kg Rolls-Royce RB.108 lift engines and 1 x RB.108 cruise engine
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight3650 kg8047 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan7.16 m24 ft 6 in
    Length9.10 m30 ft 10 in
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed396 km/h246 mph
    Range240 km149 miles

3-View 
Short S.C.1A three-view drawing (600 x 615)

Comments1-20 21-40
Richard Chinn, 17.12.2017

I was researching my fathers involvement with SC1 and note the comment about Bill Chinn by Jim Stark - My Father Bill chinn work on this project for many years part of Aeroflight at RAE Bedford. I remember his was always travelling to Boscombe down, Bedford, Belfast and Farnborough. I was probably only 10 or 11 at the time but I remember him inviting a couple a NASA pilots to our house in Bedford. I wonder whether this was either jim Stark and/or maybe James Patton?

Brian Phillips, 16.12.2017

Whilst on "C" sqdn at Boscombe Down I remember one Sunday morning having to go up to the hangar as part of the duty crew, there we were met with an amazing sight, a huge grey box vaguely aircraft shaped but all out of proportion.
A team of Short Bros turned up and started to open the box and all was revealed bit by bit as first the wing boxes were removed followed by the box top half was lifted and there it was the SC1.
As Shorts did not have a radio mech with them, I was one of two radio mechs assigned to them to carry out all radio work.
What an experience, entrance via the top hatch and all

Trevor Phillips, 29.08.2016

This plane is pretty sick TBH. Doing a project on that :D

briandhumphries@gmail.com, 05.04.2015

My dad was a Rolls Royce service engineer at Short Brothers and Harland from the late 40's or early 50's. I was born in 1954. I still remember the the day he came home crying when the SC1's test pilot was killed in a gantry crash. His name was Mr. Green. I had friend, John Green in my class in school so I started crying too because I thought my class mates dad had been killed. I was told it was not the same family.

I used to go with my dad to work on Saturdays when had paper work and reports to do. I was allowed to play in some of the aircraft, usually Belfasts. I was not allowed to sit in an SC 1 or a Canberra because of the ejector seats but Shackeltons and Belfasts were fun. I remember being in the pilots' seat of a Belfast when it was being towed across the hard standing by a tractor driven by Jimmy Neil. The hydraulic systems still had pressure because my pressing in the pedals and the stick caused the rudder and flaps to move. When the aircraft was parked two men came to the cockpit wanting to know who the hell I was and why I was there. Jimmy Neil sorted out the issue. There were acres of single engine jets all parked, Sabers I think. On future Saturdays I went looking for opportunities to drive Jimmy Neil's tow tractor. Much more fun for a 10 year than sitting in a Belfast with the pilot's headphones on. I remember the tractor had a plate that said it was built in Battle Creek, Michigan. I closed one of the main hanger doors with that tractor.

briandhumphries@gmail.com, 05.04.2015

My dad was a Rolls Royce service engineer at Short Brothers and Harland from the late 40's or early 50's. I was born in 1954. I still remember the the day he came home crying when the SC1's test pilot was killed in a gantry crash. His name was Mr. Green. I had friend, John Green in my class in school so I started crying too because I thought my class mates dad had been killed. I was told it was not the same family.

I used to go with my dad to work on Saturdays when had paper work and reports to do. I was allowed to play in some of the aircraft, usually Belfasts. I was not allowed to sit in an SC 1 or a Canberra because of the ejector seats but Shackeltons and Belfasts were fun. I remember being in the pilots' seat of a Belfast when it was being towed across the hard standing by a tractor driven by Jimmy Neil. The hydraulic systems still had pressure because my pressing in the pedals and the stick caused the rudder and flaps to move. When the aircraft was parked two men came to the cockpit wanting to know who the hell I was and why I was there. Jimmy Neil sorted out the issue. There were acres of single engine jets all parked, Sabers I think. On future Saturdays I went looking for opportunities to drive Jimmy Neil's tow tractor. Much more fun for a 10 year than sitting in a Belfast with the pilot's headphones on. I remember the tractor had a plate that said it was built in Battle Creek, Michigan. I closed one of the main hanger doors with that tractor.

Charles mahon, 14.03.2014

I was in the AT&T on the mid fifties and we had a day out to Boscombe Down. The five of us were invited in to have look round the Naval hangar. There it was the sc1, never seen before. THers is one example minus a wing hung on a wall on the science museum in London.

Charles Glazebrook, 11.04.2013

I think they should have invested half of that Money into the Self Rotating Wing? I have a Prototype of an Electric Powered version being turned by electric motors with props; see Twitter or r/cuniverse and it's Very Efficiante!

Margaret McClung-Curry, 15.03.2013

The XG905 is in the UT&FM not the XG900 its in Kent. George I worked with Charlie Rogan until he retired - if memory serves in 1974. I was Secretary to the Chief Structural Test Engineer - Bill Lewis. Structural Test Engineers then were: John Porter (Section Leader), Ian Livingston, Fred Moore, Sid Anderson, Lawrence Rooney, Campbell Simpson + Paul Blake. Loved working in R&D. Arthur Stock was Head of NDT then. Alfie McLaren was Head of Composite Testing. Flt Test Engrs were: Peter Rankin (Section Leader) Stanley McCullough, Dave McKeown, Brian Dunn and Brian Mills. Long time ago though. Worked there from 1973-1980 then back to Tech Bldg for a year and then back to Hut 4 (1981-1982) for the design/development of the SD3-60 AP. My Dad, Sam Curry, worked on SC1 + Belfast + Skyvan. Cheers. :-)

Jim Stark, 09.12.2012

Reason for my earlier query was that I tried to post two links. Did not work. Trying again. Might be of interest. Looks as if links are rejected. See BBC News re Engineering Heritage Award.

Jim Stark, 09.12.2012

Is this site still active?

william lindsay, 15.02.2012

The SC1 introduced many novel problems into the world of aerodynamics; the analytical team, I played a part, made use of Shorts analogue computers and a flight simulator to solve many of these problems. A bonus was using the simulator as "a trainer " for test pilots . William Lindsay.

George Ewart, 12.11.2011

I worked in the Engineering Test Dept. during the embryonic days of the SC1 where we designed the various test rigs, including the Tethering system for the Hovering flight Rig, Control nozzle development rigs, the full scale dynamic hovering rig which rode on a large hemi-spherical air bearing. I still have my calculation sheets when we were estimating the resistance of this bearing when load tests showed we were within 90% of the measured values. All done on slide rules! We also engineered the engine installations for the RR Nene and 'Scimiter' RR Avon Engines used to provide the hot compressed gases for these rigs. Some names which come to mind are:- Jack Bisset, Ron Dunn, Charlie Rogan?, Billy Rea, Ray Balkwill, Sam Stirling, Rodger Godfrey among others who have escaped my memory.
Yes we pushed our luck then without Health & Safety to restrain us. Because of the intense international secrecy then we did not appreciate how far ahead the SC1 was.

John Baines, 30.09.2011

I worked as an apprentice in the Flight Test department when the Short SC1 was being flown in it's tethering rig. My job was to hold up a hand held anemometer so that the pilot could see what the wind was doing. Exciting times!

John Baines, 30.09.2011

I worked as an apprentice in the Flight Test department when the Short SC1 was being flown in it's tethering rig. My job was to hold up a hand held anemometer so that the pilot could see what the wind was doing. Exciting times!

arthur Deane, 10.12.2010

in reviewing the data on the SC! was interested to see the name Jim Stark. I remember the name. I was an apprentice in hydraulic assemblly working on U/C and autostabloser. went on to work in stress office on various SC! related issues. Now live in Detroit

Jim Stark, 12.10.2010

I spent several years working on the Flight Control System, mainly XG905 but also worked on XG900. I lost contact with the SC1 in 1969 when I changed jobs but that was the most demanding task I ever undertook. Hello Stan, we made contact a few years ago. To James M. Patton Jr, I was aware of NASA pilots flying XG905 due to a copy of a report sent to me by Bill Chinn, although my copy went AWOL after someone borrowed it. I agree that the SC1 was not retired in 1967. Perhaps that was XG900 only?

Ian Yeates, 08.10.2010

My Dad Jimmy Yeates worked on this aircraft for many years,
I remember it flying at Sydenham, we did not see Dad a lot during the early days of the project.

Stan Corry, 04.10.2010

I was honoured to have worked on this project for 11 years of my working life as the flight Inspector. This project took over most of the lives of the wonderful squad who were engaged on it.I remember almost every day of those years and was in Belfast, Boscombe Down and Bedford. What a wonderful conception this was right from the start.
I am now 85 years old and still dream of the days I was working on The SC1

James M. Patton, Jr., 13.01.2010

As a research pilot at NASA Langley, I was a guest of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Bedford - in August & September, 1971, I conducted 10 flights in SC-1 XG905 to obtain data pertinent to NASA VTOL research; the airplane was not retired in 1967, as stated.

Ivan Stevenson, 05.03.2009

This plane is currently on display at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

1-20 21-40

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