SHORTS: This is one of the most famous names in British aviation

THE GOLDEN AGE OF FLYING.

FRANCIS ROLLEY

MEN OF HISTORY: THIS HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPH WAS TAKEN NEAR LEYSDOWN, ON THE ISLE OF SHEPPEY, IN 1909. IT WAS THE YEAR IN WHICH THE WRIGHT BROTHERS PLACED A CONTRACT WITH SHORTS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF SIX BIPLANES. DESCRIPTION OF THE PHOTO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STORY. Below: SHORTS’ OWN DESIGN WINNER OF ONE THOUSAND POUNDS. Below: A SIMILAR DESIGN TO THE WINNER BUT RELEASED 12 MONTHS LATER.

This article was written in 1988 just after Shorts was being considered by a major Australian airline. Back in 1938, the high-powered Qantas-Sutherland flying boats were to undertake the nine and a half days day trip from Southampton to Sydney, landing at Rose Bay, the site of the Sydney’s first international airport. As a promotional brochure advertising the Sydney service said, “it was an era when travel was new, exciting and glamorous.” – Frank Morris.

The headquarters of the  Shorts organisation is now located at Belfast, in Northern Ireland, where the company operates a design and production complex which is one of the best equipped of its kind in Europe.

A broad-based  work program is concentrated in three main areas: aircraft, aerostructures,  and missile systems.
Aircraft activity covers the whole area of design, development and manufacture of  the company’s own aircraft projects.

These include the highly successful 360 36-seat and 330-seat wide-bodied regional airliners and the Skyvan STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) light transport, as well as the new C-23 Sherpa multi-role freighter and the Shorts Tucano  turbo-prop military trainer, all of which are in world-wide service.

In recent years Shorts has greatly extended its international commitments by undertaking the manufacture of major aircraft components for other producers in Europe and America.  They have specialised particularly in the business of jet engine nacelle production.

Major companies with which Shorts have collaborated include Boeing, Lockheed, McDonnell-Douglas, Pratt & Whitney and Rohr in the United States, while teaming up with British Aerospace, Fokker and Rolls-Royce in Europe.

GUIDED WEAPONS

In the missile field, Shorts has for many years been acknowledged for its expertise in close-up guided weaponry.  The company’s current range includes the Javelin and Blowpipe man-portable shoulder-launched systems and the Seacat ship-to-air/surface missiles.

The company also claims the distinction of having supplied guided weapon systems to more countries than any other British manufacturer.

The history of the Shorts oganisation dates from April 1901 when brothers Oswald and Eustace Short first set up business at Hove in Sussex as manufacturers of aerial balloons.

Within  two years they had moved to a larger workshop in London, and in 1906 they transferred to still larger premises at Battersea.

FIRST PILOTS LICENSES

In 1908 they were joined by the eldest Short brother, Horace, and the following year began construction of their first heavier-than-air machine.

In the same year the brothers were awarded the contract by Orville and Wilbur Wright for the manufacture of six biplanes under licence.  These were constructed in a new factory at Shellbeach on the isle of Sheppey, and in them members of the Aero Club gained the first pilot’s licences to be issued in the United Kingdom.

In October 1909 a biplane built to Shorts’ own design gained a prize of 1,000 pounds for the first British aircraft to fly a circular mile,

The brothers had now moved decisively into a new era of powered flight and within  five years their rapidly increasing workload had twice necessitated transfer to larger premises.

From these beginnings the company has risen to become one of the most famous in British aviation, pioneering designs and production techniques which have been adopted throughout the industry, producing a long line of famous aircraft and forging an unbroken link between the first ‘stick-and-string’ pioneers and the supersonic world of the 1980s.

PHOTOGRAPH: Group included Oswald, Horace and Eustace Short (second, third and fourth, back row); in the front row (from left) are J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon (later Lord Brabazon of Tara), Wilbur and Orville Wright and C.S. Rolls, co-founder of Rolls Royce.


FAITHFUL SERVICE: Shorts company served Australia for 70 years!

A SPARTAN LOOK: THIS BUILDING SERVES AS THE FIRST AIRPORT FOR FLYING BOATS IN 1938 FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS.

In Australia the company became well known in 1938 when Qantas, in conjunction with Imperial Airways, the predecessor of British Airways, opened up the Southampton-Sydney air route.

Flying the famous Shorts Empire flying boats, the journey took 9 ½  days.

The final stages from Singapore, for which Qantas had responsibility, were via Surabaya in Indonesia, Darwin, Karumba, Townsville, Brisbane and finally Sydney.

After the war, during which the Shorts Sunderland was operated by the RAAF, Shorts flying boats were again operated by Qantas and others, including Ansett.

<< Airlines Magazine, November 1988.


FOODFROLICO: From Boxing Day to New Years Day – let cool cocktails do the work!

FRANK MORRIS

CENTRE OF THE WORLD: SAN FRANCISO SERVES A MIGHTY COCKTAIL CALLED … SAN FRANCISO. Below: CHAMPAGNE PUNCH … IT HAS A HABIT OF LAYING A PUNCH. Below: SAY HELLO TO JACK … YOU’LL LIKE HIS COCKTAIL.

After the Christmas dinner meltdown, Wine Guide said, you’ll be needing some cool cocktails to tide you over the limbo. Said the Wine Guide, “the emphasis in on long drinks so any spirit base is eligible.

CHAMPAGNE PUNCH

250 ml brandy, 2 bottles of reasonable bubbly, 600 ml soda, 30 ml maraschino cherries, juice of 6 lemons, castor sugar.

Stir the lemon juice with ice, sweeten with sugar to taste, then add the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with cherries and serve in punch cups.

Mocktails – not all cocktails have to be lethal. Here are two suggestions for those who have to drive home afterward.

SAN FRANCISCO

50 ml orange juice, 50 ml pineapple juice, 1 egg white. Dash of grenadine, dash of orange bitters, soda water.                                                                                         
Shake all ingredients. To up with soda water and garnish with orange.

JACK THOMPSON

45 ml Clayton’s dry tonic, 40 ml ginger ale, 50 ml lemonade.

Combine in a long glass and garnish with a slice of lemon.

COCKTAILS: DID YOU KNOW?

Here are a few cocktail party conversation starters:

The archetypal  cocktail, the classic Martini, dates back to about the 1850s … Gin is used in at least 150 different cocktails … A US expert says a cocktail can be strong, seductive, shattering, sensual, swinging and even sentimental … When professional barmen pour ingredients, they “use the eye” so to speak … A State Tourism Minister’s favourite cocktail is a Pina Colada … “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker,” observed poet Ogden Nash, reflecting on how liquor, in some form or another, has been employed to breach maidenly defences … Madame de Pompadour said that, “Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it.” – Frank Morris.

<< Wine Guide; Frank Morris.


Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs have been together for 100 years!

Adapted by FRANK MORRIS

100 YEAR OF RAISING: NOT BAD FOR SNUGGLEPOT AND CUDDLEPIE. Below: MAY GIBBS … INNOCENCE WAS ALWAYS TRIUMPHANT.

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, laconic Mr Lizard, the Big Bad Banksia men, Little Ragged Blossom, Mr John Dory, Miss Anne Chovey are names that roll out of memory and off the tongue like an invocation of Australian childhood.

Where every blossom holds a bush baby, newspapers are written in scribblybark, evil banksia men connive, wicked Mrs Snake lurks and innocence is always triumphant.

The wonderful world of May Gibbs.

FLANNEL FLOWER

Gibbs, artist and author, peopled the Australian bush with beings of her imagination instantly recognizable to all adults who as children were captivated by her books. Plump bare-bottomed gumnut babies in gumnut caps and gumleaf briefs with long blossom eyelashes, gnarled thick-lipped stubbly banksia men and wide-eyed flannel flower babies peering out of blossom cups.

Gibbs’ real world was Nutcote, the home she commissioned in 1923 from architect Bertrand Waterhouse in Sydney’s Neutral Bay.

She lived there until her death at 93 in 1969. She bequeathed the property to UNICEF, which sold it in 1970 for $80,000. (Today it is valued at millions of dollars.)

The May Gibbs’ Foundation opened Nutcote in 1994. Check website.

<< Adapted from Kate Halley’s longer version in Time, May 7, 1990.


TARONGA ZOO: When the modern animals meet up with the dinosaurs return

FRANK MORRIS

The rise of the Tarongasaurs. The dinosaurs will visit Taronga Zoo this summer. Make boredom extinct. Come face to face with the fearsome T-Rex. Kids, climb atop the Pachyrhinosaurus Dino. Keep cool with the spitting Dilophosaurus. Remember, kids, you’ll encounter 20 life-size, roaring and moving dinosaurs of all types and sizes.

Rise of the Tarongasaurs is FREE with Zoo entry. Check: taronga.org.au/dinosaurs

IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME! DRINK MODERATELY, EAT SLOWLY – IT WILL MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS A VERY MERRY ONE INDEED.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 07 December 18

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