View Full Version : Shorts Belfast- farewell!

15th Sep 2003, 16:02
The old shorts Belfast is set to leave to the UK tommrow (16th). She will soldier on....

The Guv (NR) will probably be inside dreaming up his lastest L1011 and Belfast colour schemes ;)

Any more details on who will be operating it?

Shorts Belfast @ PIK (http://www.airliners.net/open.file/422692/L/)

15th Sep 2003, 20:11

I think you'll find that Neil Robertson IS inside but it has nothing to do with a Belfast......................

16th Sep 2003, 16:03
Flight planned out to Malta this morning from Prestwick at 9z with 6 hours en-route

16th Sep 2003, 21:40
Still there when I drove past 45mins ago!

Dr Illitout
16th Sep 2003, 22:41
I flew on a Belfast from Norway to Stansted years ago, it took SEVEN hours!!!!. Fast she aint!!!!

16th Sep 2003, 23:08
My intentions are at the moment that the Belfast has not left
And it is now 16:05pm.


17th Sep 2003, 00:54
Well it`s finally happened the Belfast has just departed PIK at 1748 en route to Malta. I`m sure we all wish it a safe trip.

17th Sep 2003, 03:37
Just seen her overhead Manchester in and out of some Alto-cirrus, wonderful sight and sound. Had the whole family out in the garden waving goodbye......

18th Sep 2003, 03:13
She's already left Malta heading East - not sure of the final destination but thanks to this forum there's at least one person in Malta very happy for the tip-off.

Thanks on his behalf.


18th Sep 2003, 03:58
Parked o/night MLA at Park 4, departed 09:48 local, runway 14.

18th Sep 2003, 04:55
Dumb question time.

Is the Belfast based on its obvious lookalike competitor? [or vice versa?].

Why did one succeed and the other fail to 'take off' in comparison? Money? Politics? Technical reasons?

Can anyone provide a quick 'compare and contrast' between the Belfast and the Herc? From my limited knowledge the Belfast appears superior in most respects - but my knowledge is very limited.

Enquiring minds need to know!

18th Sep 2003, 05:17
Belfast is a lot larger then C130. Problem is that in order to guarantee inexpensive development, she has Britannia wings and RR Tyne engines that are not powerfull enough.

Anyone know why a re-engine program was never endulged in?

18th Sep 2003, 14:45
Who were the drivers?

19th Sep 2003, 11:29
The Boss is Brian Porter

The route is: EGPK-LMML

Quite a trip!

Golf Charlie Charlie
20th Sep 2003, 02:42
Hornblower, sorry to be a bore, but could you decipher those codes ? Thanks.

20th Sep 2003, 04:59
OOMS-Muscat, Oman
VCBI-Colombo,Sri Lanka
WRRR-Bali Indonesia

Hope this helps

23rd Sep 2003, 23:26
Belfast not developed because it faced the axe along with so many world beating projects by governments 1964-1979 (mainly labour!) Then as now America rules the world!!

i.e. Cancel the worlds best combat a/c -TSR2 and buy (and spoil) Phantoms and order then cancel(but still pay for) F111s. Then force the RAF to have the brilliant Bucc as strike aircraft but still fail to develop further.

Fail to develop Lightning from a point -point interceptor into a true air defence fighter.Then use mud moving phantoms as replacements.

Cancel 4 jet HS146 and let Gulfstream and Dassault corner the long range biz jet market.Then re-invent 146 15 years later.

Cancel supersonic VSTOL development, only to let yanks improve Harrier then go on to "invent" supersonic VSTOL for 21stC.

Buy C130(not a bad choice really) but fail to develop Belfast that could have cornered market in heavy lift prior to US and Russian dominance.Retire Belfast after only 10 years of service, then have to hire civilian freighters and finally lease C17s in late '90s to support world wide commitments.

These are just a few shambolic episodes I can recall from memory.Research will reveal many more but don't! you'll be crying in yer Budweiser!

What a bunch of :mad: ing :mad: wits

Spose the only good thing from this period was the Hawk - a true world beater.Yet here we are again - nearly 30 years in service and only now is the government looking for a replacement, which turns out to be more Hawks! Why not buy a batch of single seat Mk 200s that could have been employed in the mid 80s rather than buying ex US Navy F4Js!? Why not buy an attrition batch of trainers at the same time, then we wouldnt have needed to lease Alpha Jets for research work!!

The mind boggles :*

No comment
24th Sep 2003, 03:58
So did she make it?

24th Sep 2003, 09:45
You gotta be kidding about the HS146.
Who (or is it whom) would want a slooooow 146 when you can have a fast Gulfstream?

With proper engines that don't fill the cabin with fumes.

Fris B. Fairing
26th Sep 2003, 11:51
No comment

Sure did. The Belfast arrived in Brisbane on 21 Sep and has already operated a revenue service.

Cheers from Belfast Central

27th Sep 2003, 19:12
That aeronautical contraption was a world beater hairyclameater? Good Lord, what a peculiar idea. Frankly I'm amazed that anyone would consider trying to operate them as a commercial proposition. Except that we all know that the best way to make a small fortune is to start with a large fortune and set up an airline...

Still the old Belslows were responsible for lots of good 'Jollies' whenever one of them managed to leave BZN. We were guaranteed at least one and usually two recovery trips down-route. I have particularly fond memories of a two week tropical engine change, Rolls Royce having cleverly included trim charts for the Tyne that went down to minus 20 degrees C but decided that no-one would ever wish to trim one at more than 25 C.

Through difficulties to the cinema

Just realised, it often gets above 25C at Brisbane, I hope Rolls Royce have sorted out their Tyne engine trim charts by now...

Fris B. Fairing
28th Sep 2003, 11:07

It's been 30C+ most days since the Belfast arrived.

30th Sep 2003, 00:44
Re those Tynes - surely the French, Germans and in partic the Turks have been using Tynes for several decades on hot n high missions attached to their Transalls??? Dont hear them complaining.
Ive previously only heard great things about the beast and with further development surely could have gone on to better things!

Yeah may be a poor comparison with a Gulfstream but bet one couldnt operate out of EGLC without upsetting a few neighbours.
Also should say for HS146 , read HS681 - originally designed to be a STOL transport to support Harriers out in the field I believe.

All the best to the Belfast- just hope she can make it back to the UK again some time.

Golf Charlie Charlie
30th Sep 2003, 05:54
Also should say for HS146 , read HS681 - originally designed to be a STOL transport to support Harriers out in the field I believe.

Is that true ? I thought the HS681 was a much larger 'C-17' look-alike military transport (which was axed along with the TSR-2 and P.1154) in 1965. I did not think it led to the HS/BAe 146, but you may be right.....

30th Sep 2003, 15:04
RE HS681- Just from info Ive gleaned from ye olde RAF yearbooks or rather "souvenir" books as they were then. (Were'nt they better then in the 70s and early 80s before the Key publishing and RAF Benevolent fund monopolies got hold of them with their awful photography and bland commentary!??)Certainly the images reveal a 146 sized machine and a very similar one at that!! The illustration I recall has a 681 on approach over a Harrier or two " in the field". Dont think it was a very realistic proposition.

30th Sep 2003, 19:32
Doug Arnold's Liberator came from India to Stansted in a HeavyLift Belfast I believe... thence by road to Blackbushe (and now flying with the Collings Foundation).

Great aeroplane, sincerely hope she'll make it back to Blighty occasioanlly. Did see RAF examples once or twice in the early 70s but, oddly, never saw a HeavyLift one in the air...

30th Sep 2003, 20:45
Here's the beast in Malta en-route to Oz


1st Oct 2003, 06:33
For a history of the Short's Belfast see Molly O'Loughlin White's book: Belfast - the story of Short's Big Lifter. Published by Midland Counties Publications, ISBN 0 904597 52 0

The story goes, if my memory serves me correctly, that Shorts was developing the aircraft against an MOD order for 30 aircraft to serve the 'strategic' airlift requirements at the time (about '64). Shorts was designing the aircraft to meet both military and civil certification requirements.
The sterling crisis of '64 left the Labout gov't (who else) desperate for support from the IMF and part of the deal with the US was that they would help with support for the pound in exchange for purchase of the present fleet of ~75 C130K for the RAF. With that sort of commitment, the RAF obviously didn't need all that airlift and chopped the order to 10.
Shorts no longer had the numbers (i.e. money) to support the further development or the civil certification. Hence the engine was never developed to take the bigger prop (supposed to be 18' dia) and the aircraft has been underpowered throughout it's life.
Little known - the Belfast was the second a/c after the Trident to be equipped with cat 3 autoland. Same reason as BA specified it to land in the fog at LHR, the RAF thought it would be a good idea for a certain busy Wiltshire countryside landing strip.


Golf Charlie Charlie
1st Oct 2003, 09:21
I have somewhere seen a picture of all 10 Belfasts flying together in loose formation.

Not sure, but I vaguely recall it's the only time the entire production of an aircraft type has been photographed in the air at the same time in the same picture.

1st Oct 2003, 16:11
Quite true; the date was 23 December 1971.

1st Oct 2003, 21:15
The above is not quite accurate. XR364 was the aircraft used in the blind landing trials. She did over 800 such landings at RAE Bedford and the system was so accurate that they had to introduce a random scatter into the system for she was starting to crack up the runway surface by landing on the same spot each time.

It was XR364 that was the 10th aircraft to be delivered after modifications on 3 November 1971.

I have a couple of photographs of the formation but have no idea how to copy them on to this thread. They were taken from a Jet Provost from Little Rissington.

1st Oct 2003, 21:30

If they are digital, I would be quite happy to use my webspace to host them and put them up here. If not then they would need to be scanned in.

1st Oct 2003, 23:19
I have received a private message from Mike Jenvey. I have explained that the best photograph (of three) is taken from above and clearly shows the 10 aircraft in a quite presentable vic 3/vic 3/box 4 formation.

The trouble is that the photograph is far too big for my A4 scanner to deal with! (The photograph is approximately A3 size).

Anyway, I shall work on the problem with Mike and we shall see if a solution can be found.

2nd Oct 2003, 02:46
I "think" we have an A3 scanner at work. I will check tomorrow and report back

2nd Oct 2003, 04:17
Why not take a digital photo of the print. Notwithstanding copyright it has worked for me in the past.

7th Oct 2004, 16:08
The last Belfast was back in Scotland this week (not my pic):


Noah Zark.
14th Oct 2004, 21:29
I saw presumably the same a/c flying northward over the western side of Sheffield about the same date.

16th Oct 2004, 09:44
She was here in Borneo recently, to haul out one of our knackered PW4056's. True to form she went U/S twice on the way in from Brisbane and once outbound with the PW4056 aboard. Altogether it took a week to shift the engine, but also true to form there wasn't anything else available at the time that could handle that big Pratt fan.

19th Oct 2004, 15:06
See it all the time at Brisbane. Lovely sight it is too. It even flew over my house the other day (rare sighting), and what a sound she has!

Got a tonne of photos of her if anyone is interested, as well as the 727-100 HeavyLift also uses from Brisbane.



19th Oct 2004, 17:14
Your pictures are more than welcome - but NOT in an oversize that big! We can go along with 640 x 480 up to 700 x 550ish but not so that the page widens and loses the text without scrolling back and forth Bit irritating that, and the old uns sometimes have arthritis you know! ;)

Thanks for the nice pics anyway.

21st Oct 2004, 12:16
Rumour has it that the company operating the Belslow dunnunda is looking at resurecting the other Belfast currently at Southend (G-BEPS?), with the possibility that it will be working by 2005.

Lou Scannon
21st Oct 2004, 16:35
As regards the "Belslow's" reputation in the RAF; the internal dimensions were capacious in the extreme, but if the flight was in excess of a few hundred miles all that could be carried were ping-pong balls. (No problem about them being damaged-it couldn't climb high enough!)

There was the scurrilous rumour at one time that one of their loadmasters has been Court Martialled- for leaving the payload behind in his locker.

All credit to the civilian world if they managed to operate them at a profit.

I can recall that when they were up for sale, the RAF crew left behind to demonstrate them was told that they could fly them every month to keep in practice...but try not to let anyone see you.
Not an easy task on an aircraft of that size.

PS The C130's purchased at the same time for a fraction of the price are either still in service or sold for more than we paid for them!

Joe Curry
7th Jan 2005, 15:33
Is this the aircraft in question?

Photographed in Cairns (November)

Joe Curry
7th Jan 2005, 19:15
I spotted it on approach to Cairns
and had to rub my eyes. The last time I saw it was at EDI a few years back.

I grabbed a cab and dashed out to CNS,
my last chance to see this veteran?:(

Fris B. Fairing
7th Jan 2005, 22:13
The aeroplane has been based in Cairns since it returned from maintenance in the U.K. More recently it has been involved in disaster relief operations in Indonesia.

A friend is preparing a magazine article on the aeroplane and he is having trouble locating a photo of 9L-LDQ in RAF service as XR365 "Hector". Can anyone oblige?


Feather #3
8th Jan 2005, 09:13
Recent shot from Bandar Aceh shows Aussie ADF trucks disembarking [well, being driven anyway] from the tail of an aircraft with "Heavylift" on the retracted door!:ok:

Methinks this is our survivor!:D

G'day ;)

Mirkin About
9th Jan 2005, 20:49
The aircraft is parked a stones throw from my office door at the moment and I must say ,having followed this thread but never seen her before,that she is a magnificent sight and looks in great condition . As an ex- C130E FE I have a fondness for old slow trash haulers . Can't wait to hear her start up .

12th Jan 2005, 03:33
I heard it going past my office and wondered what is was.
Rushed out and there she was on climbout off RNWY 29
Its 25 years since Ive heard 4 Tynes ...looverly.

Mirkin About
14th Jan 2005, 04:52
She just rumbled past my door again and I had to go out and watch her taxi in . What a fantastic sound ,plenty of bass, truly a unique aeroplane and she looks great . Shame the rain has just started though :(

19th Jan 2005, 07:15
For those who know far more than I do, can anyone throw any light on why the Hercules transport of today has many features that can be seen on the Belfast, in fact someone good with a computer could very easily make the two into one,

Or am I wrong?


19th Jan 2005, 13:47
The Hercules was on the drawing board in 1953/4 and had the first flight shortly thereafter, IIRC.
So, it could just as well be the other way 'round.
OTOH, the 130 never achieved autoland capability.:ugh:

21st Jan 2005, 23:56
She just rumbled past my door again and I had to go out and watch her taxi in . What a fantastic sound ,plenty of bass, truly a unique aeroplane and she looks great . Shame the rain has just started though

Strangely enough not quite the same window rattling rumble of the Merchantman .High wing perhaps?

VC-9 (http://fototime.com/%7BCE6FE646-98F0-4B3F-BDEA-37A2543A5216%7D/picture.JPG)

Mirkin About
22nd Jan 2005, 00:10
You may be correct , tinpis , of the Allison T56 powered objet d'air which wander around the tarmac here the low winged one is definately louder (slightly differnt prop shape noted).

Fris B. Fairing
22nd Jan 2005, 03:25

The "Allison T56 powered objet d'air" to which you refer, would they be AP-3C or even EP-3C?


22nd Jan 2005, 16:32
Could't help but get nostalgic ;)

My first flight in the RAF was in a Hastings flogging around the circuit at Lindholme with a short, knarled master pilot who flew occasionally seated on a cushion or most often, standing at the controls to see over the coaming.

Alternately failing starboard and port engines to the sound of horns, bells and gasps from a young snotty nose in the RHS. The MP had an insane grin and seemed to relish the sweat pouring from the snotty. After that it was a Britannia to El Adem and although the cockpit door stayed open the entire way, it was uneventful.

So when, in '69, Brit XN404 as usual went U/S on the El Adem pan at 9am and I was offered a gash trip back to Brize on Hector, I somewhat apprehensively grabbed my kit and ran. My fears rapidly evaporated as we ambled up to around 15K and trundled along the coast to Benghazi (Mersa Matruh?) and then eventually after hours over the Med to Malta.

The "Greenhouse" windows, two unoccupied Nav seats and bench seating around the cockpit made for a visibly memorable trip. Airborne again from Luqa we again waddled up to the cruise with a Landrover and a pallet in the back and sailed gently all the way up the coast of Italy, with the sights being pointed out by the crew who seemed to be out for a Sunday drive, Sicily, Etna, Naples, Rome. Crossing the coast of France near Nice and then over the Alps, I am sure we must have climbed higher but we were passing mountain peaks at the same altitude as the aircraft.

Finally at around 7 pm dropping into Gutersloh and off to the club for a Pie 'n a Pint.

Airborne again around 9pm for the "short" hop to Brize with a private car and half of the furniture of someone's house in the back, we enjoyed the magnificent sight of London at night, crossing the city just North of Edgware and landing at Brize at some unGodly hour of the night. ('404 had arrived hours earlier.)

Yes, Hector was old, low and slow (14+ hours and two stops) but what a delightful way to travel, many trips on Belfasts, Brits and Alberts to exotic places could never surpass this experience of flying for a 22 Year old, even years later when I became a pilot.


1st Feb 2005, 19:44
Any one know if the old girl will be in OZ during March / April
I'm heading that way myself and would love to catch a glimpse
of her again. Flew in her quite a few times in the late 80's.
If I remember correctly she was one of the most reliable in the fleet.

digit failure that should have read late 60\'s

7th Feb 2005, 20:51
On a kind note ,
I remember reading an article in Aircraft Illustrated around 1969 entitled DragMaster to Singapore, a nickname given to the aircraft by R A F crews, as apparantlly the first 4 production models of the Belfast in R A F service suffered from severe drag problems,that was supposed to corrected in later production aircraft, but I don't think they ever where.

Bert Stiles
8th Feb 2005, 14:55
I remember that article and rummaged all my surviving Aircraft Illustrateds a few times but never found it again. Any links ?

I read it as a fourteen year old never quite imagining that I'd quit the queen thirty years later with nearly five thousand hours on it.

I seem to remember part of the article described the hopes for the retrofitted strakes fitted on the chine of the fuselage by the upper freight door. It was probably at Belfast Harbour, which was a frequent nightstop for moving Fokker 100 wing sets, that a visitor told us about the various attempts at getting this aerodynamic solution to work. Apparently each of the shipsets of strakes was slightly different - which would be in keeping with all of the frames - they were all very handbuilt.

We used to get a crop of visitors from the factory, draughtsmen, engineers and office people to see their own ancient contributions to the aeroplanes. The sympathy vote was one of the strengths of the thing that kept it floating round the world. Everybody would lend bits of kit and help in order to keep it going.

A fabulous aeroplane to see the world in.

The AvgasDinosaur
17th Mar 2006, 17:55
Hello All,
I think the Belfast stands better comparison with the C-133 Cargomaster than the C-130 Hercules. The Herk was designed for a different role and its is unfair (on the herk) to compare it with the Belfast.
One major advantage if you have to move helicopters you can get more in a Belfast in less pieces than Herks, it doesn't take as many men any thing like as much time to put them back together at the far end.

A friend of mine (ex 53 sqdn and Heavylift) Claims he was sent to Ascencion in the dark so the volcanos wouldn't frighten him !

Be lucky

23rd Mar 2006, 11:48
once went from Wittering to Gander and then on to Belize in a Belslow, took two and half days.

they did have a couple at Southend a few years back

Low Ball
17th Oct 2006, 07:31
I never flew in an RAF Belfast but used to watch them disgorge lots of Army helicopters at Aldergrove in the old days of squadron roulement.

Then many years later I got my ride in a Heavy Lift verson Gutesloh to Al Jubyal via Alexandria for fuel and crew change. Beds, seats, a loadie who was a master of the 'fried egg sarny' and the bench seat in the back of the cockpit where we could sit and observe the take off and landings. Two Lynx and a Gazelle in each the Belfast flew the majority of 4 Regt AAC's helicopters out to the Gulf for GW1. Coming back six lifts of C-5 but thats progress and it wasn't so comfortable.

Low Ball

27th Feb 2017, 11:44
The end is nigh for "Hector"....
Short Belfast status - Cairns Airport - Updated to Feb 2017 (http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?132129-Short-Belfast-status-Cairns-Airport-Updated-to-Feb-2017) :uhoh: :{ :(