The Sunderland maritime-patrol and reconnaissance flying-boat was designed to meet the requirements of Air Ministry Specification R.2/33 and was virtually a military version of the Empire boat. The prototype flew for the first time in October 1937, just over a year after the first Empire began its trials. By the outbreak of war there were three squadrons of RAF Coastal Command operational with it and others in the process of re-equipping or forming. The Sunderland was notable for being the first flying-boat to be equipped with power-operated gun turrets.
The first production version was the Sunderland I powered by Bristol Pegasus 22 engines and armed with eight 7.7mm machine-guns: two in a Fraser-Nash nose turret, four in a Fraser-Nash tail turret, and two on hand-operated mountings in the upper part of the hull aft of the wing trailing edge.
The Sunderland II had Pegasus XVIII engines, but was otherwise similar to the Mk I, although late models were fitted with a two-gun dorsal turret in place of the manually operated guns. The Mk III used the same power plant as the Mk II, but had a modified hull with a stream-lined front step and a dorsal turret as standard. The final military version was the Sunderland V, the IV having become the Seaford. Power for the Mk V was provided by 894kW Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90Â Twin Wasp engines. Armament comprised four fixed 7.7mm machine-guns in the nose, two similar beam guns and four in the tail turret.
In 1943 a number of Sunderlands were de-militarised, equipped to carry 20 passengers and turned over to BOAC.
| MODEL||Sunderland Mk V|
| ENGINE||4 x ratt-Whitney R-1830-90B Twin Wasp, 895kW|
| Take-off weight||29480 kg||64993 lb|
| Empty weight||16740 kg||36906 lb|
| Wingspan||34.38 m||113 ft 10 in|
| Length||26 m||85 ft 4 in|
| Height||10.52 m||35 ft 6 in|
| Wing area||156.72 m2||1686.92 sq ft|
| Max. speed||343 km/h||213 mph|
| Ceiling||5455 m||17900 ft|
| Range||4300 km||2672 miles|
| ARMAMENT||2 x 12.7mm machine-guns, 10 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 2250kg of bombs|
|David Beagley, e-mail, 07.03.2018 02:55|
Ivan Southall AM DFC, acclaimed Australian writer, piloted Sunderlands over the Atlantic during WW2, and wrote several books that capture the experience of flying these immense aircraft brilliantly. "They Shall Not Pass Unseen" is his squadron's official history, while "Fly West" and "Simon Black in Coastal Command" are novels based on that experience. He also wrote a (now very hard-to-find) series of novels around a Sunderland pilot, Felix Pym, in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theatres: "The Third Pilot", "Flight to Gibraltar" (a.k.a. "Terror Flight"), "Mediterranean Black", "Sortie in Cyrenica", "Mission to Greece" and "Atlantic Pursuit".
|Jennifer Paterson, e-mail, 24.07.2016 11:41|
My Father Captain Hunter Paterson was stationed on Station Jui Sierra Leone on X of NZ 490 Squadron
Father flew Long nose Sunderland, one registration was ML 863
I have the woollen lined thick suit he wore during flight as the aircraft was so cold. Do you have this clothing?
Also did you get a visit from abt of the Sunderland Flying NZ 490 squadron crew?
Please let me know?
Also I would dearly like to come & passenger your Sunderland.
Would that be possible & where do I find you?
Jennifer Paterson from New Zealand
|Jennifer Paterson/ Capt Hunter, 22.07.2016 23:42|
Hello there, could you please tell me if you
are still " flying"your Sunderland Flying Boat?
My dear Father Captained this beautiful large amphibian in WW2 in Sierra Leone. He was with NZ 490 Squadron. It would be a joy to be able to see her fly. Please let me know if I can come & visit to see you & this beautiful ship? Sincerely Jennifer Paterson
|harry winsor, e-mail, 23.06.2015 12:45|
does this aircraft still fly today or does it go to air show near the beach as well this is from Harry winsor or you can call me MR winsor if you like to call me that thank you very much and i would you call or text the detial now or late fro mharry william winsor.
|Trevor Moody, e-mail, 01.10.2014 17:53|
Does anyone know the take off and landing speeds of the various Sunderlands?
|terry ryder, e-mail, 15.11.2013 20:49|
My dad was a w /o and rear gunner in 201 sdn which I believe this aircraft was from.I believe she flew the last north sea escort patrol.idont suppose anyone has a relative living who knew Jim Ryder.
|Bud Rose, e-mail, 10.06.2013 12:59|
I served in the RNZAF and did my penance of 3 years on the MkV Sunderland in Fiji and the South Pacific. The RNZAF aircraft were in service till 1965 /66 when they were replaced by the P3 Orions. There is a complete aircraft in Auckland at the MOTAT Museum situated on Meola Road near Point Chevalier /Westmere.
|H A Smith, e-mail, 24.12.2012 01:38|
I was a PBM crewman at Iwakuni in the early 50s where the Aussies also had a contingent. I never think of the sunderland without remembering a comment by one of their crewmen. We kept a buoy watch of two men on the PBMs in all weather to radio in regular condition reports. When the weather got foul the Aussies mounted a pole on their planes with a red light on top and left the plane hanging on "the hook". The crewman told me it was stupid to hazard men's lives on a plane in a storm. He said if it sinks and the red light goes out, we will notice it soon enough.
|John, e-mail, 24.09.2012 05:42|
Note for D D O'Lander. The Florida gentleman who owns the Sunderland is named Kermit Weeks and he owns Fantasy of Flight, an air museum in Polk City, Florida. This is on Interstate 4 between Tampa and Orlando. He is a multi-millionaire and owns every plane in his three hangars. No aircraft is considered restored to flying condition unless Kermit has flown it and blessed it. I've been in his Sunderland and its interior needs work. He also has, in crates piled beside the fence, a complete Canadian-built Avro Lancaster B Mk X which he has not yet restored.
|Barry, 17.09.2012 18:59|
D.D.O'Lander, I have not heard of any such person flying a Sunderland, but up in to the 1970's Antilles Air Boats flew a the derived Short Solent. This company was run by the husband of the film star Maureen O'Hara and in fact it was brought to Europe in 1976 making a number of pleasure flights from various places around the British Isles. I would gather that you are from the Republic of Ireland and would inform you that for 5 days in 1976 this Solent flew out of Dun Laoghaire harbour.
|Bill Rockey, e-mail, 01.02.2012 00:02|
I was an Instument mech on Sunderlands at Pembroke Dock, Feb 1950 to July 1951. I have seen a Sunderland at DUXFORD AIR MUSEUM Cambridgeshire UK
|Martin Lee, e-mail, 04.09.2011 22:01|
My Grandfather was a rear gunner in the second WW, Samuel Lee. Could anyone tell me if the Imperial War Museum is the only place that has a Short Sunderland?
|ivor churchard, e-mail, 24.06.2011 23:53|
my late father was a rear gunner in 209 squadron flying from kaggolla in burma to bomb the japanese,i took him to see the sunderland @ duxford before he died very moving day.
|Philip McCready, e-mail, 17.06.2011 01:54|
My dad, WO Ernest W. Mcready was a wireless operator /gunner on shorts flying from the north of Scotland. His plane went down in the North Sea in March, 1945.
|D.D.O'Lander, e-mail, 11.06.2011 21:00|
I read somewhere that a man in Florida (I believe) owns a refurbished Sunderland he uses for private flights. Does anyone know if that's true or where any might still exist in an air museum or private collection?
|Reed Evans, e-mail, 18.04.2011 08:19|
Note for Mr. Harrison. I was in the RNZAF from 1953 to 1961. Though not aircrew I was in no. 6 sqdn 51 to 56 and no. 5 sqdn 56 to 58 and traveled in Sunderlands quite often.
|David Smith, e-mail, 07.02.2011 13:34|
In the same way that the Mk 1V Sunderland( Seaford) was used as the basis for the civilian Solent, so the MkV was used for the Sandringham.I was an apprentice at Shorts Seaplane works in 1945 /47 & worked on them all, including the conversion frames for nose & tail( in lieu of turrets), which were sent to Belfast for the first 3 or 4 production Sandringhams.
|Barry, 07.01.2011 16:55|
In total 739 were built including 240 by Blackburn at Dumbarton in Scotland. The last sortie flown by trhe R.A.F. was on the 15th May 1959 from Singapore. As noted elsewhere those in service with the RNZAF soldiered on untill 1961.
|Joe, e-mail, 17.11.2010 01:12|
Nicknamed the Flying Porcupine, because of all it's guns, the Sunderland was in a continuous state of improvement, during it's production run. Considered a top performer.
|John Harrison, e-mail, 19.10.2010 05:47|
I flew these aircraft with the RNZAF from 1956 until 1961.They were replaced by Orions in 1963.
Do you have any comments?
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