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Short N.2B

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Title: Short N.2B  
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Short N.2B

Role Reconnaissance aircraft
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Short Brothers
First flight December 1917
Number built 2

The Short N.2B was a prototype British patrol seaplane of the First World War, designed and built by Short Brothers. A single engined biplane intended to replace Short's successful Type 184, only two were built, the Fairey III being preferred.

Development and design

In 1917, the British Admiralty released Specification N.2B for a long range patrol seaplane to replace the Short Type 184 in Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) service. The Short Brothers response to this specification, designated Short N.2B was a single engined, unequal span biplane with two-bay folding wings. While Short's wanted to fit a Rolls-Royce Eagle engine, this was rejected by the Admiralty owing to an expected shortage of these engines, with the Sunbeam Maori substituted.[1]

Eight prototype Short N.2Bs were ordered together with competing aircraft from Fairey (the Fairey III). The first prototype flew in December 1917.[2] When it was tested at the Marine Experimental Aircraft Depot on the Isle of Grain in February 1918, it showed performance no better than the Short 184 with the same engine. While modification with a different propeller and attempts to reduce drag did improve performance, the Fairey III was preferred, being ordered into production in versions powered by both the Maori and Eagle engines, with only the first two prototype Short aircraft being built.[3]

In May 1919, Short's modified the second prototype with an Eagle engine salvaged from the modified Short N.1B Shirl Shamrock, which had crashed during an attempt to cross the Atlantic, the revised aircraft showing greatly improved climb rate but with speed only increased by 8 mph (13 km/h). The Maori was re-instated, and the second prototype delivered to the Royal Air Force in January 1920.[4]

Specifications (Maori engine)

Data from British Aeroplanes 1914-18 [5]

General characteristics
  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 40 ft 2 in (12.25 m)
  • Wingspan: 55 ft 2 in (16.82 m)
  • Height: 13 ft 9 in (4.19 m)
  • Wing area: 678 ft² (63.0 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,280 lb (1,481 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 4,911 lb (2,232 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Sunbeam Maori, 275 hp (205 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 80 knots (92 mph, 148 km/h) at sea level
  • Service ceiling: 10,600 ft (3,200 m)
  • Wing loading: 7.24 lb/ft² (35.4 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.056 hp/lb (0.092 kW/kg)
  • Endurance: 4.5 hours
  • Climb to 2,000 ft (610 m): 4 min 50 sec
  • Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 40 min 35 sec

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists



  • Barnes, C.H. Shorts Aircraft since 1900. London:Putnam, 1967.
  • Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London:Putnam, 1957.
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber since 1914. London:Putnam, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5.
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