Why the Shorts Skyvan ‘Flying Shoebox’ proved so popular

Short Brothers transformed Miles’ modest twin-engined freighter into a rugged, dependable, go anywhere, do anything aircraft loved by civilian and military operators alike. Stephen Skinner details the metamorphosis from Aerovan to Skyvan

The first inklings of what eventually became the Skyvan did not originate from Shorts but from Woodley, Berkshire-based Miles Aircraft. George Miles designed a small twin-engined freighter with a 50ft wide high wing and a 36ft-long fuselage large enough to contain a good-sized car or up to ten passengers. Christened the Aerovan, it first flew in January 1945 and was capable of lifting a payload greater than its weight; however it could not maintain height on one engine. Though 54 were produced, none have survived.

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