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Adventurous Empires:- The Story of the Short Empire Flying Boats

By Philip E. Sims

ISBN: 9781840371307
PUBLISHED: June 2000
PAGES: 256
BINDING: Hardback
SIZE: 297x210 mm

This is a story from a bygone age, recalling the most successful flying-boat airliner ever built. Designed to a specification for Imperial Airways, then Britain's national airline, it carried passengers, and more importantly, mail throughout the British Empire. Short Brothers built forty-two Empire Flying-boats at their factory in Rochester during the late 1930s. When compared with other aircraft of that era, they were extremely large and luxurious and even by today's standards passengers were handsomely catered for with ample space to exercise or relax during the many airborne hours. Imperial Airways were extending their route network to the furthest outposts of the British Empire. It was a steep learning curve for all concerned with those early pioneering flights when long-distance flights were measured in days rather than hours.

This is the tale of the realisation of a dream and the efforts of those who made it possible. Alas the world moved on, at a pace accelerated by the Second World War, and the flying-boat was forced from the air routes. No more will adventurous Empires grace the skies.

Densely written and factually rich, the text makes an excellent reference source. It is enlivened by anecdotes and commentary which help convey a sense of what it must have been like aboard and around flying boats. . . Plentiful, well-reproduced and rare illustrations - many from personal photographic collections - add visual interest. There are, in addition, cutaway diagrams of flying boats, maps of landing areas, a register of all the flying boats, and an index. - THE AEROSPACE PROFESSIONAL For the serious student of pre-war civil air transport this book is an essential Christmas present. The emphasis is on the Short Empire flying-boats of Imperial Airways, and their role in opening up the routes to Africa, the Middle and Far East, and Australia, but the detail reveals meticulous research . . . The famous forced-landing of Corsair in the Belgian Congo is a highlight, and a service of the Empire 'boats with TEAL are well covered. We read this from cover-to-cover - and were fascinated. - AIR-BRITAIN DIGEST

. . .this book benefits from loving attention to the subject from both the author and publisher, yielding a detailed, highly readable and downright exciting volume. Layout and typesetting are excellent, and this attention to detail extends to the table of contents, appendices, and full index. About 100 beautifully reproduced photos grace the narrative, along with a number of contemporary cutaway drawings. . . Phillip Sims' writing brings alive and age of challenge and enterprise when flying was an adventure and the Empires ruled the skies. This book will provide a satisfying and stirring read. . . - NEWSLETTER OF IPMS An absorbing look at the history of Imperial Airways, QANTAS and TEAL Short 'Empire' boats - the 'C' and 'G' class giants. A wealth of illustrations cover the aircraft, inside and out. There are plenty of first-hand sources, all contributing to make this a lavish tribute. - FLYPASTOUT OF STOCK February 2009

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