'Calcutta' flying boat under construction, Short's factory, Belfast, 1928.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Founded in 1908 by the English brothers Eustace, Horace and Oswold Short, Short Brothers was one of the first aircraft builders in the world. Their first seaplane (or flying boat) designs date from 1911-1914. The three-engined 'Calcutta' flying boat of 1928 was designed to carry a maximum of 15 pasengers. Five Calcuttas were ordered by Imperial Airways for their new Mediterranean service. By the mid 1930s, the arrival of larger flying boats with greater pasenger carrying capacity meant that the Calcutta was demoted to serving les popular routes.