The Short 330 (also SD3-30) is a small transport aircraft created by Short Brothers. It seats up to 30 people and was relatively inexpensive and cheap to operate at the time of its introduction in 1976. The 330 was based on the SC.7 Skyvan.
The Short 330 was developed by Short Brothers of Belfast from Short's earlier Short Skyvan STOL utility transport. The 330 had a longer wingspan and fuselage than the Skyvan, while retaining the Skyvan's square shaped fuselage cross section, allowing it to carry up to 30 passengers while retaining good short field characteristics. The first prototype of the 330 flew on 22 August 1974.
While Shorts concentrated on production airliners, the design also spawned two freight versions. The first of these, the Short 330-UTT (standing for Utility Tactical Transport) was a military transport version fitted with a strengthened cabin floor, and paratroop doors, which was sold in small numbers, primarily to Thailand, who purchased four. The Short Sherpa was a freighter fitted with a full width rear cargo door/ramp. This version first flew on 23 December 1982 , with the first order, for 18 aircraft, being placed by the United States Air Force in March 1983, for the European Distribution System Aircraft (EDSA) role, to fly spare parts between USAF air bases within Europe.
The basic Short 330 was a passenger aircraft intended as a short range regional and commuter airliner, and had been designed to take advantage of U.S. regulations which allowed commuter airlines to use aircraft carrying up to 30 passengers, thereby replacing smaller commuter airliners such as the Beech 99 and the Twin Otter. The Short 330 entered service with Time Air (a Canadian Airline) in 1976. Despite its somewhat portly looks (one regional airline affectionately dubbed it the "Shed" ), it soon proved to be an inexpensive and reliable 30-seat airliner.
The 330 was somewhat slower than most of its pressurised competition, but it built up a reputation as a comfortable, quiet and rugged airliner.The quiet running of the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65R was largely due to an efficient reduction gearbox.The cabin was the result of a collaboration with Boeing engineers who modelled the interior space, fittings and decor after larger airliners. The use of a sturdy structure complete with the traditional Short braced-wing and boxy fuselage configuration also led to an ease of maintenance and serviceability.
Production ended in 1992 with a total of approximately 136 being built (including freighter and military versions). As of 1998, approximately 35 were still in service. The 330's design was refined and heavily modified, resulting in the Short 360.
A total of 24 Short 330 aircraft (all variants) were in airline service as of August 2008, with Air Cargo Carriers (13), Corporate Air (3), Arctic Circle Air Service (2), Deraya Air Taxi (2), Mountain Air Cargo (2), Freedom Air (1), and McNeely Charter Service (1).
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 1988-1989
Published - July 2009
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