Short S.25 Sandringham VH-BRC, preflight and takeoff

This aircraft was built in 1943 for the RAF (as a Short S.25 Sunderland), but ended up being held in reserve and not used in wartime operations.  It was transferred back to manufacturer Short Bros. & Harland as surplus in 1947, and subsequently converted into the civil version (Sandringham) for airline use.

It was leased by Tasman Empire Airways from the UK Ministry of Transport, given the New Zealand civil registry ZK-AMH, and flew as RMA (Royal Mail Aircraft) Auckland until the end of 1949.  It then operated for a variety of Australian carriers (with Australian civil registry VH-BRC) until 1974, and a Puerto Rican airline (with US registry N158C) until 1978, when it was sold to a private owner.

Following the death of its owner it lay derelict until 1980, but was then sold to a UK science museum in 1982.  Throughout its long career this aircraft logged over 19,500 flying hours.  Today, VH-BRC is one of three Sandringhams still extant, and is preserved at the Solent Sky aviation museum.

You can read about its entire saga here.

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