Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Camel Amongst Race-Horses

Today we bring you our latest installment of a series we like to refer to as 'That Thing Flies?'.

Many flying machines really do look as though they were meant to take to the sky.

Others... not so much.

Here at 'TWW' we feel that this-here contraption is most definitely one of the latter. 'Tis the Short Seamew, an anti-sub bird designed in the early 1950s which was meant to replace the aging Grumman Avengers flown by Reserve units of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

Although the Seamew was ordered into production and despite the successful completion of carrier trials, the contract was cancelled after only twenty-four production examples had been built. The main reasons were the airplane's mediocre overall performance and a change in Britain's defense doctrine which saw the disbanding of the Reserve units to which the Seamews were to be allocated.

All but one of the Seamews built were scrapped in fairly short order... some of them had not even been delivered. The lone survivor was bought back from the government by Shorts and used as a ground instruction airframe until 1967 when it too was scrapped.

Here's a somewhat dramatic shot of the Seamew prototype, XA209, during takeoff at Farnborough in September of 1953.

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