Last time, I was showing you round what is probably the same aircraft in two different locations, that is, the Short Sunderland flying boat at Hendon and then at Duxford. Just to remind ourselves, the Sunderland was a mighty war machine:
The Sunderland had a panoply of weapons. Something for every occasion:
There was also an astrodome for taking bearings from the stars, and ASV radar, visible above the cockpit area:
I saw just part of my first ever Sunderland on February 14th 2008, at 11:24:44. And, as you might expect for that date, it was love at first sight. The aircraft was behind a Handley Page Hastings and below a Hawker Harrier, and it was terribly squashed in:
I had to wait until 2010 when I went to Hendon to see a Sunderland displayed a little more favourably, and in a much bigger and more open area:
This particular Sunderland you could go inside. Just look at the room. You could fly a model plane around inside it:
The walls have lots of useful instructions:
Overall, the Germans were very wary, if not simply afraid, of the Sunderland flying boat. It was an extremely heavily armed aircraft and a formidable opponent. No wonder they called it the “Flying Porcupine”. Porcupines look old, they look rather fat and are rightly known as being grumpy, solitary and always just wanting to be left alone. OMG. How many of those boxes can I tick? And don’t say “All of them”. Here’s a real porcupine at Newquay Zoo in Cornwall. They eventually sold him to Bristol Zoo for “excessive grumpiness” :
And here’s a wild one in the Golan Heights of Israel. A really rare sight:
Final thought. What is the German for “Flying Porcupine” ?
Why it’s “Das Fliegende Schtachelschwein”, a phrase which has proved particularly useful in my trips to the Fatherland, especially to Berlin Zoo which is conveniently close to the airport.