ZK-AML. Short S.45 Solent Mk IV Flying Boat. c/n S.1556.

Was also registered as: G-AOBL.


This aircraft was ordered new by Tasman Empire Airways Limited, Auckland, New Zealand

Built by Short Brothers and Harland, Belfast, Northern Ireland - 1949

This was the first Solent Mk IV aircraft built by Short Bros and Harland

It was also the first Solent to be constructed at the Queens Island, Belfast seaplane works

All previous Solents had been built at the company's Rochester, Kent plant

Powered by 2,040 h.p. Bristol Hercules 733 engines

It had an all-up take-off weight of 81,000 lb (36,740 kg) and a still-air range of 3,000 miles / 4,830 km

It was configured to seat 44 passengers

Entered onto the New Zealand Aircraft Register (CofR?) as ZK-AML - November 03, 1948

Registered to Tasman Empire Airways Limited, Auckland, New Zealand

First flown at Belfast as ZK-AML - April 20, 1949

Launched at Belfast as 'ZK-AML' and named 'Aotearoa II' (Long White Cloud) by Princess Elizabeth - May 06, 1949

Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA 10665) issued - July 02, 1949

Retained by Short Brothers for certification trials, research and testing

Flown by Short Bros flight crew to Gordon's Tree, Khartoum, Sudan for hot weather trials - July 02, 1949

On alighting at Gordon's Tree the aircraft began to porpoise causing the loss of the port float - July 12, 1949

The crew had to make an immediate beaching to prevent the aircraft from capsizing

The aircraft came to rest at an acute angle with the starboard wing and float assembly submerged

Repaired on site and completed a further week of trials before returning to Belfast - August 02, 1949

Further repairs and maintenance was undertaken at Belfast before the aircraft was ready for handing over

Although this airframe should have been the first Solent to be delivered it became the last of the

four aircraft flown out to New Zealand for the original TEAL order

Certificate of Airworthiness re-issued - November 22, 1949

Departed Belfast on delivery flight to New Zealand (Captain I. Patterson) - November 26, 1949

It arrived at Auckland on completion of the delivery flight - December 07, 1949

Delivery route: Belfast - Southampton - August - Alexandria - Bahrain - Karachi - Rangoon - Singapore -

Surabaya - Darwin - Bowen - Sydney - Auckland

Operated its first revenue service Auckland - Sydney (Rose Bay) - December 28, 1949

Established a new trans-Tasman record of 5 hours 37 minutes on this sector (Captain I. Patterson)

Operated Tasman and South Pacific service - 1949 - 1954

It transported Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Suva - Lautoka -Suva and Suva - Nuku'alofa - Suva as part of

the Royal Tour - 1953 - 1954

This was the first time that a monarch had been carried on a regular commercial service

Operated the final TEAL Wellington - Sydney (Rose Bay) service - June 25, 1954

Flight crew: Captains Cliff Le Couteur, Nevill Clarke

Operated the final TEAL Sydney (Rose Bay) - Auckland service (Captains J. Shephard, B. Whyte) - June 27, 1954

Withdrawn from use and stored at Auckland (Mechanics Bay) - June 27, 1954

Cancelled from the New Zealand Aircraft Register - March 24, 1955

Sold to Aquila Airways Ltd, London - April 12, 1955

Entered onto the British Aircraft Register as G-AOBL (CofR R.4957/1) - April 12, 1955

Registered to Aquila Airways Limited, London

Departed Auckland (Mechanics Bay) on the ferry flight to England - April 12, 1955

It arrived at London on completion of the ferry flight - ?

This aircraft retained its original TEAL name 'Aotearoa II'

British Certificate of Airworthiness (CofA A4957) issued - May 05, 1955

Utilised by Aquila Airways on routes to the Canary Islands, Madeira and Montreaux

Transferred to Aerovias Aquila, Portugal - October 27, 1958

Ferried Southampton - Lisbon - November 30, 1958

The British Certificate of Airworthiness expired - December 05, 1958

Sold to ARTOP, Portugal - October 27, 1961

ARTOP suspended services shortly thereafter due to financial problems with this aircraft not entering service

The aircraft was abandoned on a beach on the River Tagus, Lisbon

It was left to rot and was finally broken up for scrap - May 1971



ZK-AML. Tasman Empire Airways Limited - 'RMA Aotearoa II' in the original livery at Auckland Mechanics Bay, March 1950.

(Whites Aviation Copyright Image 2545-919.)

ZK-AML. Tasman Empire Airways Limited - 'RMA Aotearoa II' in the standard livery at Auckland Mechanics Bay, circa 1953.

(R. N. Smith Collection Copyright Image 2545-344.)