Aircraft [Short S45 Solent Mk 4 Aranui ZK-AMO]

Maker and role
Short Brothers and Harland Limited, Manufacturer
Tasman Empire Airways Limited, Commissioned by
Production date
See full details

Object detail

Accession number
Secondary maker and role
Bristol Aero Engines
Production period
Short S45A Solent Mk 4 Flying Boat - ZK-AMO "Aranui".
Four-engine, long range commercial and passenger Flying Boat. The hull is an alloy two-stop planing bottom divided into watertight compartments by vertical bulkheads.
The aircraft is powered by four Bristol Hercules 733 engines. The carrying capacity of the aircraft is 42 day passengers and crew.
Toilet units: 3 on lower deck, the portside unit including a ladies powder room. One large upper deck galley for meal preparations and limited cooking.
Flight crew: Captain - First Officer - Navigation Officer - Radio Officer Flight Engineer Officer.
Cabin crew: 2 Flight Stewards, 1 Flight Stewardess.
Brief History
The Short Solent Mark IV 'Aranui' ZK-AMO is one of the iconic aircraft in New Zealand. It is the only Solent in New Zealand and the only Mark IV Solent in the world. ZK-AMO is unique in that it was the last flying boat of any consequence to operate on the great flying boat routes of the world.

ZK-AMO is one of only four Mark IV Solents ever made, all of them commissioned by Tasman Empire Airways Ltd (TEAL). The first commercial Solent flight was made in 1949 from Auckland to Sydney. They also flew the famous ‘Coral Route’ through Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tahiti, with Tonga added later.

The Coral Route marked a change in Pacific air services as it was focused on the tourist market rather than transportation. It was relatively expensive but was luxurious compared to other air services. Solents were the first New Zealand aircraft to have hostesses. Elaborate meals were cooked on board and served on china. Flying on the Coral Route was considered to be glamorous, and wealthy Americans and even movie stars travelled on the Solents.

ZK-AMO was the last Solent to operate on the route, and the last Solent flight in the world was on September 15th 1960. This aircraft was retired with approximately three million flying miles totalling 14,500 flying hours.

Date: 1949
Manufacturer: Short Brothers & Harland Ltd, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Type: High performance flying-boat suitable for overseas air routes
Wing span: 34.5 m (112 ft 9 in)
Length: 27.4 m (89 ft 8 in)
Engine: Four Bristol Hercules 733 engines
Accommodation: Three crew and 45 passengers

Flight times: Auckland to Sydney - 7 hours 30 minutes.
Wellington to Chatham Islands - 2 hours.
Auckland to Fiji - 7 hours 30 minutes.
Samoa to Cook Islands - 5 hours.
Wellington to Sydney - 8 hours 15 minutes.
Fiji to Samoa - 3 hours 30 minutes.
Cook Islands to Tahiti - 4 hours 15 minutes.
ZK-AMO Painted
Aranui Teal New Zealand Royal Mail Insignia Painted
Other name
Credit Line
Short Brothers and Harland Limited et al. 1949. Aircraft [Short S45 Solent Mk 4 Aranui ZK-AMO], 1964.146. The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).


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