The boxy and rugged Short Skyvan and Skyliner date back to the postwar Miles Aerovan project.
Development of the Skyvan, or SC.7, began in 1959 when Short decided to design a small multirole transport with good STOL performance, featuring a squared sided fuselage to accommodate bulky loads. The new design incorporated the results of Miles' research into high aspect ratio wings, with the Aerovan's wing design adopted for the SC.7. It first flew in Series 1 prototype form powered by two Continental 290kW (390hp) GTSIO520 piston engines on January 17 1963.
Unlike the prototype, initial production aircraft were powered by 545kW (730shp) TurbomÃ©ca Astazou XII turboprops. The original piston powered Series 1 prototype was the first Astazou powered Skyvan to fly (with 390kW/520shp Astazou IIs), in October 1963. The reengined prototype was designated the Series 1A, while early Astazou powered production aircraft were designated Series 2.
Early on in the SC.7's production run Shorts decided to switch the powerplant choice to 535kW (715shp) Garrett TPE331201s, resulting in the definitive Series 3 (first flight December 15 1967). Many Series 2 Skyvans were also converted to Garrett power.
The basic Series 3 and the higher takeoff weight Series 3A can perform a number of utility missions including passenger transport, ambulance, aerial survey and freight work, and are called Skyvans. The Skyliner airliner features an improved level of interior equipment and furnishing, while military Skyvans are designated Series 3M and 3M200 with a higher max takeoff weight.
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