The Shorts 360 became very popular among British regional airlines, including Air UK. The photo shows a Shorts 360 flying for Air UK in
the colour scheme of the Danish airline Maersk Air during the 1980s.
Shorts 330 and 360
The Shorts 330 and 360 are twin-engine regional airliners with an unpressurised passenger cabin. The 330 seats up to 30 passengers, the stretched 360 offers space to 36 passengers.
The Shorts 330 (originally designated 'SD3-30') was developed and built by Short Brothers & Harland in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Shorts developed the aircraft with new US regulations for commuter aircraft in mind, which allowed regional airlines to fly aircraft carrying up to 30 passengers as replacement for smaller airplanes like the Beechcraft 99 and the De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter. The 330 first flew on 22 August 1974 and the Canadian airline Time Air became the first user in August 1976.
The Shorts 330 is primarily a passenger airliner for short-range regional routes. Engineers used the earlier SC.7 Skyvan utility transport aircraft as the starting point for their design. The 330 has a longer fuselage and bigger wing. It inherited the Skyvan's twin tails, but it is a more streamlined design thanks to its long pointed nose and the almost completely retracting main undercarriage. The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65R turboprops.
The 330 is relatively inexpensive to operate because it doesn't have a pressurised cabin. It cannot fly as high as pressurised competitors, but that is no problem during the short flights the 330 was designed for. An advantage is the high cabin. Passengers sit three-abreast (2+1). Shorts worked together with Boeing engineers to make the interior look like that of larger airliners.
The basic version is the Shorts 330-100 with PT6A-45A or -45B turboprops. The 330-200 has more powerful PT6A-45R engines and incorporates a number of small improvements. The 330-UTT (Utility Tactical Transport) and the C-23 Sherpa A and B are military variants. The UTT has a strengthened cabin floor and paratrooper doors. The Sherpa is fitted with a full width rear cargo ramp. The US Air Force took delivery of 18 Sherpas.
The 330 remained in production until 1992, after 136 aircraft being built (including freighters and military versions). In 2015 around a dozen 330s are still in airline service.
- Shorts 360 -
From the 330 Shorts developed the stretched 360 (also designated 'SD3-60'), seating 36-39 passengers. It has a high degree of commonality with the 330. The most visible difference is the 360's single tail. The fuselage is longer to allow two extra seat rows, and wingspan has increased. The first flight took place on 1 June 1981 and the 360 entered service in November 1982 with the US regional airline Suburban Airlines (later part of Allegheny Airlines/US Airways).
The basic 360-100 is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65R turboprops. It was followed by the 360 Advanced with PT6A-65-AR engines and the 360-300 with PT6A-67R engines, six-blade propellers and improved aerodynamics to attain a higher cruise speed and better performance at hot and high airports. The 360-300 was also offered as a freighter (360-300F). Production of the 360 ended in 1991 after 165 aircraft being delivered. Early in 2015 about 40 360s are still in airline service.
During the mid-1980s Shorts performed a design study for an even further stretched aircraft, designated 'Shorts 450'. It would also have had a bigger wingspan and have seated 44-49 passengers. The 450 wasn't built, however.
Do you know these tails?
Click on tails to see photos
See all 330 / 360 tails here
Wingspan: 22.76 m (74 ft 8 in)
Length: 17.69 m (58 ft 0 in)
Height: 4.95 m (16 ft 3 in)
Empty weight: 6,680 kg (14,727 lb)
Max. take-off weight:
10,387 kg (22,900 lb)
Accommodation: 30 passengers
Range: 1,695 km (915 nm)
Cruise speed: 352 km/h (190 kts)
Pratt & Whitney Canada
(1,198 shp - 893 kW)
A Shorts 330 in an early livery of Jersey European at Rotterdam Zestienhoven Airport.
A Shorts 360 of Jersey European at Jersey Airport.
Wingspan: 22.80 m (74 ft 9 in)
Length: 21.58 m (70 ft 9 in)
Height: 7.27 m (23 ft 10 in)
Empty weight: 7.870 kg (17,350 lb)
Max. take-off weight:
12,292 kg (27,100 lb)
Accommodation: 36 passengers
Range: 1,178 km (636 nm)
Cruise speed: 400 km/h (216 kts)
Pratt & Whitney Canada
(1,424 shp - 1,062 kW)
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