VH-ABF. Short S-23C Empire Flying Boat. c/n S.878.

 

This aircraft was the thirty-first Empire boat completed and flown by Short Bros at Rochester, Kent

The order was placed by Imperial Airways, London - June 22, 1937

It was completed as a S-23 Empire Class boat with 920 h.p. Bristol Pegasus Xc engines

The standard fuel capacity was 650 gallons

It had an all-up weight of 40,500 lbs (18,380 kg) which was later increased to 53,000 lbs (24,200 kg)

The cruising speed was 164 m.p.h. with a standard range of 760 miles / 1,245 km

Entered onto the British Aircraft Register as G-AFBL (CofR 8072) - August 26, 1937

Registered to Imperial Airways Limited, London

The British registration was not painted on this aircraft

Launched as 'VH-ABF' at the Short Bros Seaplane Works, The Medway, Rochester - March 03, 1938

First flown as VH-ABF - March 28, 1938

The Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA) Issued - March 30, 1938

Delivered to Imperial Airways, London - March 30, 1938

The aircraft was named 'Cooee'

This airframe was earmarked for delivery to Qantas Empire Airways from the outset

Sold to Qantas Empire Airways - April 20, 1938

Departed Southampton on the delivery flight to Australia - April 20, 1938

Arrived Brisbane on completion of the delivery flight - May 03, 1938

Entered onto Australian Aircraft Register as VH-ABF (CofR 705) - May 20, 1938

Registered to Qantas Empire Airways Ltd, Brisbane

Operated the inaugural Sydney - Southampton service as IW668 (Captain P. Lynch Blosse) - July 05, 1938

This aircraft was part of the aircraft pool operated by Imperial Airways and Qantas Empire Airways

on services between Southampton, England and Sydney, Australia

Qantas Empire Airways crews flew the aircraft on the Sydney - Singapore - Sydney sector of this route

between July 1938 and October 1941

Qantas Empire Airways crews then took over the Singapore - Karachi - Singapore sector of the route

from October 1941 to February 1942 when operations ceased due to Japanese war activities in South-East Asia

Flew the United Kingdom - West Africa - Congo - Durban route (Captain F. J. Bailey) - April 1940

This aircraft was isolated in the western sector of Horseshoe Route - February 1942

G-AFPZ 'Clifton' had been isolated in Australia when 'Horseshoe' route was cut during World War II

Ownership was transferred to British Overseas Airways Corporation in exchange for 'G-AFPZ' - July 13, 1942

Entered onto the British Aircraft Aircraft Register as G-AFBL (CofR 8072/2) - July 13, 1942

Cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register - August 11, 1942

Withdrawn from use by B.O.A.C. - February 02, 1947

Cancelled from the British Aircraft Register - March 07, 1947

Broken up for scrap at Hythe, Southampton - March 24, 1947

The aircraft had flown a total of 14,307 hours

 

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rochester, April 1938.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-238.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rose Bay Sydney, April 1938.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-239.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rose Bay Sydney, April 1938.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-239A.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rose Bay Sydney, November 1938.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-240.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rose Bay Sydney, November 1938.

(P. Sheehan Collection Copyright Image 2545-858.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rose Bay Sydney, date unknown.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-369.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rose Bay Sydney, date unknown.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-370.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Kallang, Singapore, date unknown.

(Qantas Heritage Collection Copyright Image 2545-388.)

VH-ABF. Qantas Empire Airways - 'Cooee' in the standard livery at Rose Bay Sydney, date unknown. This was a publicity shot taken inside the rear cabin.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-259.)

Qantas Empire Airways - the route map depicting the journey by Short S.23C Empire Class flying boat from Sydney to Southampton in 1938.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-224.)