Short S.16 Scion II Floatplane G-AEZF
The Short Scion aircraft were designed by Short Brothers in 1933 as a small twin-engine, 4- to 6-seat passenger transport. 22 were built (1 prototype, 6 Mk I and 15 Mk II) and saw service in the UK, Australia and Palestine. The prototype flew on the scheduled service between Rochester to Southend for its first year.
G-AEZF was the last of six completed under licence by Pobjoy's at Rochester in 1937 and was a floatplane. It was purchased by Elders Colonial Airways for service in Sierra Leone. However, records show that it was never shipped and languished in the hangar at Airport Works, Rochester until it was damaged by bombing in 1940. It was converted to a landplane and impressed to the war effort, suffering further damage and repair. After the war, it returned to civilian use and flew occasionally until 1953.
After decommissioning, the aircraft was dumped behind a hangar at Southend and left to rot. In the mid 1990's, a local preservation team attempted to do some work to restore it; it was later moved to Redhill. The remnants, comprising the fuselage frame, cockpit subframe, most of the port wing and half of the spar box of the starboard wing were purchased by MAPSL and brought to Rochester Airport on June 13, 2013. The restoration to museum standard has been continuing ever since, thanks to a substantial grant from The Rochester Bridge Trust and will become the flagship of MAPSL, Rochester Airport and Medway.
UPDATE ON THE PROGRESS OF THE SHORT SCION.
Short Scion II floatplane G-AEZF arrived at Rochester Airport on a low loader in June 2013 after being in storage for many years at Redhill Airport. Some restoration work had been undertaken by a small team while the aircraft was previously at Southend. The aircraft is now the subject of a long term restoration by MAPSL to a static condition and it is intended that it will eventually be sited on the airport as the flagship of the company. It is now beginning to look like a real aeroplane again with work progressing on the fuselage and the wings of this unique aircraft.
The upper and lower fairings to support the fabric covering have been in place for a long time. The exterior of the cockpit and cabin are almost complete. The cockpit has a plywood skin fitted over over the ash frame and the windows and hatch fitted and the instrument panel and all controls are in place; the major item yet to be made is the composite nose cone. The exterior of the cabin has been completed except for the fabric covering over the top and bottom, although the windows are currently removed to prevent damage, and the seats carpet and fabric walls and ceiling have been added. The rear window that gave access to the battery compartment has been made larger so that the construction within the rear fuselage can be viewed. At the rear end of the fuselage, the new empennage (fun and rudder, tailplane and elevator) has been fabricated and awaits its fabric covering. Control cables for the rudder, elevator and tailplane trim are being fitted, with a new set of pulley blocks having been fabricated.
The spar box and leading edge of the starboard wing are complete with most of the trailing edge now fitted; only the wing mounts and some tubes from the inboard end of the spar box could be salvaged from the original wing, due to corrosion and it having being run over by a tractor. The aileron hinge line has been established, necessitating some rework of the hinge brackets. Aileron controls are in place and tubes for both ailerons have been sourced. Once the starboard wing has been completed, work will start on the port wing where more of the original is capable of being reused.
Using the float borrowed from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Belfast, a 3-D model of the float has been generated. Formers have been cut which will the provide the frame for the first externally-correct replica that will be be produced. Two struts for the attachment of the floats have been received from Australia and these will be used as patterns for the total of twelve struts required.
Visitors are welcome to view the progress on the Scion.