Short Scion

The Short S.16 Scion and Scion II were 1930s British two-engine, cantilever monoplanes built by Short Brothers and (under licence) by Pobjoy Airmotors and Aircraft Ltd. in Rochester, Kent between 1933 and 1937. Altogether 22 Scion/Scion II aircraft were built and they provided useful service to operators working from small airstrips/water courses in many parts of the globe, including Europe, the Near and Middle East, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea and Australia. Many were impressed into the RAF during the Second World War, providing pilot ferry services, anti-aircraft co-operation and radar calibration duties. Of the civilian Scions, at least two were still operating in Australia in 1966, one having been re-engined with de Havilland Gipsy Minor engines.[1]

S.16 Scion/Scion II
Palestine Airways Pobjoy Short Scion, 1938
Role Light transport landplane/floatplane
Manufacturer Short Brothers
Pobjoy Airmotors Ltd.
Designer Arthur Gouge
First flight 18 August 1933
Status Retired
Number built 22
Scion: 5
Scion II: 17
Variants Short S.22 Scion Senior


The Scion and the later Scion II version were high wing cantilever monoplanes with fabric-covered metal wings and fuselage, the latter providing an enclosed cabin for the pilot and 5–6 passengers. The tail unit comprised a cantilever tailplane with a single fin and rudder. The prototype aircraft was powered by two 80 hp Pobjoy R radial engines; the production aircraft however were fitted with the 90 hp Pobjoy Niagara III radial engines. The engines in the Scion were mounted below the wing spar; in the Scion II they were raised so that the leading edge axis ran through the centre of thrust of the engines. Both the Scion and the Scion II were produced as either landplanes or floatplanes, the majority as landplanes (see the table below). On the landplanes the landing gear comprised a single wheel on each side of the fuselage, mounted on a vertical coil-spring and oleo leg inboard of the engine; there was a small castoring tailwheel mounted below the rear end of the fuselage.[2]


The Scion was developed as a light transport for 5–6 passengers. The first flight of the prototype aircraft (G-ACJI) took place on 18 August 1933, piloted by Shorts' Chief Test Pilot John Lankester Parker. The first production aircraft (G-ACUV) was flown at the SBAC's airshow at Hendon in 1934. In 1935 the fifth production model was built as the revised model Scion II; the major improvement was the repositioning of the two engines as noted above; other changes included the provision of 6 passenger seats as standard (on the original Scion there was a folding seat for a sixth passenger if needed), an improved windscreen and better cabin windows. During the production of the Scions the company had opened a new factory at Rochester Airport and all Scion IIs were manufactured there, initially by Shorts, later by Pobjoy, first under licence and later under Shorts' ownership.

G-ADDR, the fifth Scion II, was retained by Shorts as an experimental testbed aircraft, and it was on this aircraft (temporarily designated M.3) that a scale wooden model of the slender wings (with Gouge flaps) for the later Empire boats was tested, the first flight in this configuration being conducted by Lankester Parker on 6 August 1935. With these flaps fitted it was tested at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, which found that the Gouge flap decreased distance to take-off and stalling speed, among other improvements.[3] Further work with standard wings was carried out; one flight from Rochester Airport, with experimental full-span flaps incorporating retractable spoilers instead of ailerons, was made on 22 July 1936; this idea proved unworkable, Lankester Parker having to draw on his considerable experience to coax the aircraft around on a single circuit before landing safely. The standard wing was refitted and the aircraft continued with Shorts in this configuration until it was impressed into military service in 1940, an operational usage experienced by 14 of the 22 Scion/Scion II aircraft.

G-AEZF, built by Pobjoy and first flown in December 1937, was originally operated as a floatplane by Elders Colonial Airways in Sierra Leone, between Bathurst-Freetown, and was returned to Shorts in 1939 and converted into a landplane in 1941. After operating for the company for another six years it was eventually sold on to Air Couriers Ltd. in 1947,[4] after which it changed hands between private owners several times before finally ending up at Southend airport, where it was allowed to become derelict. Its frame was rescued and is currently held for long-term restoration by the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society at Rochester Airport.[5]

G-ACUX, one of the 'Australian' Scions still flying in the 1960s, was later returned to the United Kingdom and is held in deep storage at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, Holywood, Northern Ireland,[6] where an unconfirmed source[7] claims that its condition has been allowed to deteriorate. It was still not on public display in April 2012.

A larger 9-passenger version of Scion was produced designated the Short S.22 Scion Senior.


  • S-16 Scion : Company designation.
  • Scion : Light transport aircraft, powered by two 63-kW (85-hp) Pobjoy Niagara I or II piston engines. Five built, one prototype and four production machines.
  • Scion II : Light transport aircraft, powered by two 67-kW (85-hp) Pobjoy Niagara III piston engines.
  • M.3: Scion II fitted with scaled-down Empire flying-boat wings with Gouge flaps

Overview of Scion / Scion II production

AircraftLandplaneSeaplaneFirst flightTypeManufacturerBuiltRAF from...
1 G-ACJI x - 18. August 1933 Scion (prototype) Shorts Seaplane Works 1940
2 G-ACUV x - 18. August 1933 Scion Shorts Seaplane Works
3 G-ACUW x - 18. August 1933 Scion Shorts Seaplane Works 1940
4 G-ACUX - x 18. August 1933 Scion Shorts Seaplane Works
5 G-ACUY x - 10. December 1934 Scion Shorts Seaplane Works 1940
6 G-ACUZ x - 13. February 1935 Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport
7 G-ADDN x - 9. June 1935 Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport 1940
8 G-ADDO x - 10. July 1935 Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport 1940
9 G-ADDP x - 10. July 1935 Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport 1940
10 G-ADDR x - 6. August 1935 Scion II Shorts (experimental) Rochester Airport 1940
11 VH-UUT x - 23. August 1935 Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport
12 G-ADDT x - Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport
13 VH-UVQ x - - Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport
14 G-ADDV x - Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport 1940
15 VH-UTV x - Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport
16 G-ADDX x - Scion II Shorts Rochester Airport 1940
17 VQ-PAA x - Scion II Pobjoy Rochester Airport 1941
18 VQ-PAB x - Scion II Pobjoy Rochester Airport 1941
19 G-AEIL x - 1936 Scion II Pobjoy Rochester Airport 1940
20 G-AEJN x - September 1936 Scion II Pobjoy Rochester Airport 1940
21 G-AETT x - April 1937 Scion II Pobjoy Rochester Airport 1940
22 G-AEZF - x 9 December 1937 Scion II Pobjoy Rochester Airport



  • Papuan Concessions Ltd (VH-UUP the former G-ACUX)
 Sierra Leone
  • Elders Colonial Airways Ltd (Bathurst-Freetown) (G-AEZF)


  • Arabian Airlines Ltd
  • Adelaide Airways Ltd (VH-UTV & VH-UUT)
  • Marshall Airways Ltd (VH-UUP)
 British Mandate for Palestine
  • Palestine Airways Ltd (Haifa-Lydda)
 Sierra Leone
  • Elders Colonial Airways Ltd
 United Kingdom

Specifications (Scion II landplane)

Data from British Civil Aircraft 1919–1972: Volume III [8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 6 passengers
  • Length: 42 ft 0 in (12.80 m)
  • Wingspan: 31 ft 6 in (9.60 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 4 12 in (3.162 m)
  • Wing area: 255.3 sq ft (23.72 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,770 lb (803 kg)
  • Gross weight: 3,200 lb (1,451 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 31 imp gal (37 US gal; 141 L)[9]
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pobjoy Niagara III 7-cylinder radial engines, 90 hp (67 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 128 mph (206 km/h, 111 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 116 mph (187 km/h, 101 kn)
  • Range: 390 mi (630 km, 340 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 13,000 ft (4,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 625 ft/min (3.18 m/s)
  • Take-off run: 420 ft (130 m)[9]
  • Landing run: 420 ft (130 m)[9]

See also

Related development

Related lists



  1. Barnes and James, p.294.
  2. Barnes and James, p.287.
  3. Cohen, 1936, R&M 1753, p.3.
  4. Barnes and James, p.293.
  7. Online forum
  8. Jackson 1988, pp. 143–144.
  9. Flight 28 February 1935, p. 220.


  • Cohen, B.A., B.Sc., J. (1936). "Full Scale Trials on Scion M.3 with a Gouge Flap" (PDF). Reports & Memoranda. Aeronautical Research Committee, Air Ministry (1753).CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Green, William. Flying Boats Vol.5 (Warplanes of the Second World War). London: Macdonald & Co., 1962.
  • "The Improved Short "Scion"". Flight. Vol. XXVII no. 1366. 28 February 1935. p. 220. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (part: 1982–1985). London: Orbis Publishing.
  • Barnes, C.H.; James, D.N. (1989). Shorts Aircraft since 1900. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-819-4.
  • Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft since 1919. London: Putnam & Sons, Ltd., 1974. ISBN 0-370-10014-X.
  • Jackson, A.J. (1988). British Civil Aircraft 1919–1972:Volume III. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-85177-818-6.
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