Shorts SC.7 Skyvan
The Shorts SC.7 Skyvan is a small twin-engine turboprop utility aircraft. Although it can carry up to 19 passengers, it is mostly used for cargo flights and skydiving.
In 1959 the aircraft manufacturer Short Brothers & Harland in Belfast,. Northern Ireland, started developing a small utility aircraft. The work began after a study of the Miles HDM.105, a plane derived from the earlier Miles Aerovan. Shorts decided to built its own design, however, a simple unpressurised all-metal aircraft called 'SC.7 Skyvan'. Its fuselage has a square cross section and a rear cargo ramp under the tail, which makes loading and unloading of freight easy. The Skyvan became popular with freight operators.
The Skyvan has a high, braced wing with high aspect ratio and a tailplane with twin rudders. The main fuselage was built as an experimental construction of light alloy frames and double skin panels. The panels had a corrugated layer in between two flat skin plates and all was glued together by Redux. This resulted in very rigid, lightweight panels.
The first flight of the Skyvan 1 prototype took place on 17 January 1963. The aircraft was powered by two Continental GTSIO-520 piston engines, but later that year, the prototype was re-engined with Turboméca Astazou II turboprops and became 'Skyvan 1A'. Production aircraft with Astazou XII engines were designated 'Skyvan 2'. The Skyvan 3, produced from 1968, had better performing Garrett AiResearch TPE331 turboprops. This became the standard production version. The Skyvan 3M was a military version and the Skyliner a luxurious all-passenger aircraft. Of the 154 aircraft built, 145 were Skyvan 3s. Eight were Skyvan 2s and there was one prototype.
Production ended in 1986. In 2015 around ten Skyvans are still in airline service.