Sunderland flying boat: the RAF’s salt carrier

Salt was one of the basic and important cargoes flown into Berlin during the airlift. There was a problem though; salt could corrode control wires and cause potentially very dangerous damage to transport aircraft. One solution was to carry salt into Berlin in the RAF’s Sunderland flying boats, designed to resist saltwater corrosion.

The Sunderlands were withdrawn in December 1948 when lakes and rivers began to freeze. Major-General William Tunner, the US Air Force airlift commander, wrote ‘Actually, I was glad to see them go, as they were slow-flying, ponderous crates, and had to be specially scheduled.