Short SB.4 Sherpa Experimental Aircraft – A 1961 Thesis (with B & W period photos) carried out by the College of Aeronautics Cranfield – Rare Aviation History


The Short SB.4 Sherpa was a British experimental aircraft designed and built during the 1950s to test the flight characteristics of the aero-isoclinic wing. It was based upon (and used some components of) the Short SB.1, an earlier glider design.

It was designed by David Keith-Lucas as a research aircraft aimed primarily at assisting in the development of wings for faster, very high-altitude aircraft in general and the company's Preliminary Design (Short PD.1) in response to the U.K. V-Bomber requirement B35/46 in particular. It was the first powered aircraft to employ the "aero-isoclinic" wing first proposed in 1951 by Professor Geoffrey Hill. First Appearing at the Farnborough Air Show in September 1954, the Sherpa continued experimental flights for Shorts until it was handed over the the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield where it was flown (using a second replacement engine ) until 1964. 

My father used to visit the College on a professional basis at this time, and I remember seeing the aircraft, together with TSR2 (XR222 now at Cosford) Supermarine 545 XA181, and I THINK the Boulton Paul 111....amongst many other interesting bits !

This rare, hand produced Thesis includes original drawings as well as several beautiful period original Black & White photographs....as well as a confusing amount of detail !

The Cockpit and other detail photos/drawings would be of great interest to the serious British Aviation Historian or scale modeller.



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