P.Lewis British Bomber since 1914 (Putnam)
Another Short floatplane design which remained simply a prototype was the S.364, a two-seat, two-bay, equal-span biplane which represented a complete breakaway from the usual intricate type of seaplane layout which had succeeded design after design from Rochester. Remarkably clean folding wing cellules, with a straight trailing edge and elliptical tips, housed upper and lower ailerons, and the 200 h.p. Sunbeam Afridi engine and its frontal radiator were neatly cowled into the fuselage of simple lines. The centresection struts were exceedingly slim and encompassed the pilot’s cockpit. His observer sat some way aft of the trailing edges in a cockpit surmounted by a Scarff ring-mounting for his Lewis gun. The S.364 was out of the factory in March, 1917, but made no headway towards a production order, despite its promising appearance.
P.Lewis The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
March, 1917, saw the appearance of another Short scout seaplane, the S.364 two-seat biplane powered with the 200 h.p. Sunbeam Afridi. Two-bay wings of equal span were used and, compared with the ungainly angularity of other Short products of the period, the S.364 presented a far tidier picture. A single Lewis gun was provided for the rear cockpit’s Scarff ring but the S.364 was not developed beyond the prototype stage.
F.Mason The British Fighter since 1912 (Putnam)
Short S.364 (Scout No 3)
Although Short Bros Ltd was better known for the company’s large torpedo-carrying seaplanes during the First World War, both Horace and Oswald Short became interested in producing designs intended to meet the Air Department’s Specification N.2A for a two-seat float-equipped scout. What came to be known as Experimental Scout No 1, N36, was designed by Horace in 1916 and was in some respects a scaled-down adaptation of the large Type 310A seaplane. Launched at Rochester on 2 January 1917, the aircraft failed to get airborne in its initial form and, although the fuselage was lengthened to increase the elevator moment and the aircraft was flown by Ronald Kemp three weeks later, it was clear that the design would not interest the Admiralty. (Horace Short was to die on 6 April after a short illness, and his younger brother Oswald took over responsibility for leading the company’s design staff.)
A more realistic approach had, however, already be adopted by Oswald, producing a somewhat more compact two-bay biplane with unstaggered wings of equal span. This was referred to by its company sequence number S.364 (and also as Scout No 3) and, with a 200hp Sunbeam Afridi engine, was first flown by John Lankester Parker on 27 March. It was however found to be underpowered and in due course the engine was replaced by a 260hp Sunbeam Maori.
The fuselage was a box-girder structure with rounded top decking. The twin main floats had been found to be too narrow for safety on the water and were replaced by wider and deeper floats; small cylindrical wing floats were attached under the lower wings directly below the outboard interplane struts. The wings were of an experimental Admiralty aerofoil design, BRI.31, intended to give moderate lift but low drag. No forward gun was envisaged, the armament consisting solely of a Lewis gun on the observer’s cockpit with a Scarff ring.
Although the Admiralty expressed polite interest in the S.364, which had, after all, been designed to the N.2A Specification, the aircraft - as with most Short seaplanes - was expensive, the airframe being costed at f 1,200 and the Maori engine at almost £1,400. By contrast, the Sopwith Pup in its ship-borne version, cost £770, plus just under £700 for the 100hp Gnome, apart from being armed with a front gun and possessing a top speed some 20 mph greater than the S.364. Of course the two aircraft were in no way comparable, yet it was the Pup’s ability to operate from a fairly wide range of vessels with a wheel undercarriage that rendered the N.2A Specification largely superfluous.
Type: Single-engine, two-seat, twin-float, two-bay biplane scout seaplane.
Manufacturer: Short Bros Ltd, Rochester, Kent.
Powerplant: One 200hp Sunbeam Afridi liquid-cooled in-line engine; later replaced by 260hp Sunbeam Maori twelve-cylinder in-line engine.
Dimensions: Span, 39ft 0in; length, 28ft 0in; wing area, 375 sq ft.
Armament: One 0.303in Lewis machine gun with Scarff ring on rear cockpit; provision to carry two 65lb bombs.
Prototype: One (first flown by John Lankester Parker on 27 March 1917); no production.