Short Solent 3 at Oakland

This is the place to discuss particular Shorts Flying Boat types and post documents, photographs and other relevant information appertaining to these craft.

Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Pondskater » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:46 pm

Short Solent G-AKNP "City of Cardiff" is currently being looked after very well at the Oakland Aviation Museum on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

Originally built as a Sunderland IV/Seaford, NJ203, it was converted to a Solent 3 and had a long, complex career. The aircraft has much of her original fittings but also shows signs of two other phases in her life.

Post BOAC, she was converted with new toilets/restrooms for a transpacific route via Hawaii which failed to start after nuclear tests on the South Pacific islands robbed the route of a vital refuelling stop.

She was then one of three kept under armed guard by Howard Hughes in San Francisco and in the 1980s was bought for mobile oceanography work and the forward two cabins were stripped out. A survey showed the millions that would be needed to make her airworthy and the owners generously loaned her to the museum.

Being in California, she had a bit part role in the first Indiana Jones film, with Harrison Ford boarding her, ironically, for a trans-Pacific flight. The photos of that episode are quite interesting. The water and dock were added to the film in post production and the water level was deliberately higher than it should have been for a Solent - which gave the nose something closer to the appearance of a Boeing Clipper - which would have been the correct aircraft for the 1930s period the film was set in.

So, a few photos from my trip:
Image

Inside, downstairs, the entry is through the rear door into this cabin with the bar on the port side:
Image

The bar (Note the south Pacific artwork applied during the refit:
Image

Ladies toilet/restroom fitted for the trans Pacific routes
Image

Moving forward, one of the small cabins is intact:
Image

Forward of that two cabins have been stripped out for the planned oceanography work but they give a clear view of the aircraft's structure and is a popular area with school visits:
Image

Forward again into the baggage compartment and the forward port side door:
Image

And the mooring compartment, which is very small on these aircraft:
Image

More to follow
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Pondskater » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:57 pm

And so upstairs, a spiral staircase:
Image

To the main cabin. The front left (Starboard side) is the seat Harrison Ford sat in. The bulge in the ceiling is the ladder and above it is the emergency exit hatch.
Image

The alternative emergency exit route was through the window which involved using an emergency rope stored above. No inflatable slides back then.
Image

And so forward into the galley. Note the doorway/hatch on the right which leads through to the flight deck:
Image

The flight deck. On the starboard side, just where the flight engineer would sit on a Sunderland, is the APU. On a Sunderland this would be in the wing root.
Image

The cockpit:
Image

Radio operators position viewing forward
Image

And "bridge" looking aft from alongside the radio ops desk. The racks on the right are full of radio gear.
Image

Note there is no flight engineers panel. The fuel cocks etc are under a panel between the seats where the pilots have access to them.

More to follow
Last edited by Pondskater on Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Pondskater » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:16 pm

And finally, a few extra shots:

Seat belt/No Smoking sign
Image

Drinking water
Image

Outside:
Image

The airstairs are, obviously, not a standard Solent feature.
Image

Beaching Gear (I've also posted some more detailed pics over on a discussion in the beaching gear area)
Image

Image

There is some damage to the rear of the hull here which the restoration team haven't yet got to. The floats and rudder need to be refitted but, other than that, the Solent is being very well looked after and is a credit to the team at the museum.

And, if that isn't enough to make you go to San Francisco then the museum has lots of other interesting exhibits, note the very nice collection of naval jets in the background of some Solent shots.
Also, inside
Image

A recreation of the 1911 Wright "Vin Fiz" which made the first transcontinental flight from New Tork to Long Beach:
Image

And this is gorgeous, a Kitfox Classic IV - 1200, built in 1998, with a wonderful paintjob of a dragon on the fuselage and wings. I want one.
Image

A special thanks to Bill Larkins, Pamela and her museum staff for making me so welcome during the visit.

Allan
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Bumble » Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:05 pm

Oh these photos are gorgeous,thanks Pondskater ! As you know,I'm trying to persuade Mr. Bumble to visit the two Sunderland variants that we haven't yet seen,in Paris and California,but it's an uphill job.Is the museum quite near the city of San Francisco ?Mr. B.'s nephew lives there,so it would be the ideal excuse for a trip to America.
Bumble
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:25 pm
Location: UK, near LGW

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Pondskater » Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:54 pm

Oh yes, you have to stay in San Francisco. The morning we went, we drove north out of the city over the Golden Gate Bridge and then back again, through the city and east across the Oakland Bridges to the museum. From the Golden Gate to the museum was about 50 minutes, but it was Sunday morning.

The museum is right next to Oakland International Airport. Try this map: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&sourc ... 32587&z=11

While in San Francisco ride the cable cars down to Fisherman's Wharf and take a trip round the bay for an hour (or even onto Alcatraz, but book that in advance), come back and have Chowder in a sour bread bowl for lunch, have a look at the historic ships and go to Ghirardelli Square to buy chocolates.

Hire a car and perhaps drive down the Pacific Coast Highway (Monteray Bay is nice but we didn't have time to go) or inland to Lake Tahoe or north apparently is where the redwoods grow. Your nephew will have ideas.

We liked San Francisco but were only there two mights - we were staying in Los Angeles with Michelle's mother (LA to SF is a full days drive)

When are you going to Paris? That's on my wish list too.

Allan
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Bumble » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:38 am

Our daughter loved San Francisco when she visited her cousin in 2007 and he used to drive over the Golden Gate bridge every day on his way to work.She did the boat trip round the bay and met a waiter from our local Pizza Hut on board !Trouble is Ian's very reluctant to drive in America. I guess his nephew might drive us but he and his wife work all hours God sends.As for Paris,it's the same thing,he doesn't mind driving in Australia or New Zealand because they drive on the left,but anywhere else,forget it.Well,I'll work out a way to get there eventually.Anyway it sounds like you had a great time.Thanks for the tips,particularly the one about the chocolate!though don't you think American chocolate's an acquired taste ? Cheers, Anne.
Bumble
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:25 pm
Location: UK, near LGW

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Pondskater » Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:54 am

San Francisco is good for public transport (Cable cars, trams, buses) and Michelle tells me there is also BART - Bay Area Rapid Transport which goes over to Oakland and links to the airports. (http://www.bart.gov/stations/) We flew Manchester to Philadelphia and then an internal flight to LA. You could do similar and could also drop into any other city that takes your interest while in the USA.

And Ghirardellis make good chocolate. 8-)

Just plan to go to Oakland at a weekend, the Solent is open for tours inside on Saturdays and Sundays (check the website: http://www.oaklandaviationmuseum.org/ for details).

Allan
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Bumble » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:32 pm

Thanks for that information Allan,it sounds easily accessible.Time to start persuading Mr. B. to give the moths in his wallet another airing,I think ! Cheers , Anne.
Bumble
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:25 pm
Location: UK, near LGW

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Bumble » Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:02 pm

It's me again - thank God nobody on here says DON'T CHAT.I just showed my 85 year old aviation mad Dad your photos and he was thrilled to bits.He told me that just after the war ( he was a ground based w/op in the RAF ) he was posted to Singapore and clearly remembers the Sunderlands based at (?)Kalang.What he remembers most is the deafening noise when they took off,even though he was based about three miles away.What I'd give just to hear that noise .
Bumble
 
Posts: 120
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:25 pm
Location: UK, near LGW

Re: Short Solent 3 at Oakland

Postby Pondskater » Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:19 pm

Always room to chat. I'm not sure when we'll ever hear the noise of four Sunderland/Solent engines live again but I do have a short sound clip of a Sunderland flyby that I must send to Bryan.
User avatar
Pondskater
 
Posts: 217
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:28 am
Location: UK - Deep south west

Next

Return to Shorts Flying Boats Reference Archive



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Help keep this forum ad-free - please Donate


This free, ad-free forum is hosted by ForumLaunch