Airspeed Consul

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AS.65 Consul
Airspeed Consul G-AIDX at Manchester 1954.jpg
Airspeed Consul G-AIDX of Esso Petroleum at Manchester in 1954
Role Utility transport
Manufacturer Airspeed Limited
First flight 1946
Number built 162

The Airspeed Consul was a British light twin-engined airliner of the immediate post-war period. It was a conversion of Airspeed Oxford military trainers surplus after the Second World War.

Development[edit]

The civil AS.6 Airspeed Envoy eight seat airliner of 1934 was militarised in 1937 to create the mass-produced AS.10 Airspeed Oxford trainer. The Oxford was used by several air forces for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and 8,586 were produced.[1][2]

From 1946, 162 Oxfords[a] were refurbished and adapted for civilian use as the Consul at Portsmouth, as war surplus Oxfords were common and inexpensive.[1] They were superficially attractive as a small twin-engine airliner, and Airspeed soon offered a conversion kit.

Airspeed Consul of Aer Lingus at Liverpool in 1949

The Consul saw service with small scheduled and charter airlines as feeder liners in Great Britain, and also Belgium, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, East Africa and Canada, and was the first type operated by Malayan Airways, the predecessor of Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines. Some Consuls were operated as executive transports by large industrial companies.

However, their wooden construction, heavy wartime use, somewhat tricky handling and small capacity (six seats) told against them. Many of the 'civil' conversions were bought by military users; and the Consul served as a VIP transport with the air forces of Britain, Canada and New Zealand, all of whom already operated Oxfords. In 1949, the Israeli Air Force purchased a number of civil Consuls and re-converted them to military trainers. They were used by 141 squadron until 1957, a year after the Oxford was retired by the Royal Air Force.

While several Oxfords survive, the Consul has not been so fortunate. G-AIKR, a former children's playground attraction is owned by the Canada Aviation Museum; it is on loan to the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum, where it is being returned to Oxford status. As of 2003, Consul VR-SCD was known to exist in Singapore, stored in pieces.

Operators[edit]

Civil Operators[edit]

A Consul which has been cosmetically restored to represent an example previously operated by Malayan Airways and is now preserved in Singapore
  • The aircraft was used by companies, individuals and air charter companies and the following:
 Burma
 Iceland
  • Flugfedir - one aircraft delivered in January 1951, fatal crash in April 1951[4]
 India
  • Airways (India) - two aircraft delivered in 1947 [4]
 Ireland
 Israel
  • El Al - one delivered in 1953 for crew training.[4]
 Italy
  • Soc Transports Aerei Mediterranei (STAM) - three aircraft delivered 1955-56[4]
 Jordan
  • Arab Airways Association - one aircraft loaned in 1951[4]
  • Air Jordan - seven aircraft from 1950-51[4]
 Malaya
 Kenya
 Malta
 South Africa
  • Commercial Air Services - one aircraft delivered in 1949.[4]
  • Natal Airlines - four aircraft delivered in 1955.[4]
  • Silver Flight - one aircraft delivered in 1947.[4]
 Spain
  • Iberia - three aircraft first delivery in 1952.[4]
 Sweden
 Tanganyika
 United Kingdom
Airspeed Consul of Lancashire Aircraft Corporation at Manchester in 1950 on scheduled service to London (Northolt)
 United Nations
  • Five aircraft leased to the United Nations Commission in Israel between 1947-49.[4][5]

Military Operators[edit]

 Argentina
 Belgian Congo
 Burma
 Israel
 New Zealand
 Turkey

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • 29 April 1947 - G-AIOZ of Milburnair Limited crashed at Botley Hill, Limpsfield on approach to Croydon Airport, two killed.
  • 11 February 1949 - the first Consul conversion G-AGVY of Air Enterprises crashed at Jezzin, Lebanon while on charter to the IUnited Nations, two onboard killed.
  • 15 Jun 1950 - UB340 of the Union of Burma Air Force was on a demonstration flight when a rocket exploded under the wing killing the Burmese Chief of Air Staff.
  • 12 April 1951 - TF-RPM of Flugferdir H/F crashed at Howden Moor, Yorkshire, England on a flight from Croydon to Iceland, three killed.
  • 11 December 1951 - NZ1902 of the Royal New Zealand Air Force crashed on Mount Ruapehu.
  • 14 June 1952 - G-AHFT of Morton Air Services ditched in the English Channel following an engine failure, six killed.

Specifications[edit]

Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919 [9]

General characteristics

Performance

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ 161 Consuls were sold by Airspeed,[1] with the second prototype, G-AEHF retained by Airspeed.[3]
  1. ^ a b c Stroud Aeroplane Monthly July 1995, p. 67.
  2. ^ Middleton Aeroplane Monthly June 1980, pp. 323–324.
  3. ^ Jackson 1974, p. 396.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at Hamlin 2001, pp. 262-285
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Jackson 1973, pp.30-33
  6. ^ Ay, Carlos (2013-08-15). "Catálogo Ilustrado de Aeronaves de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina". Gaceta Aeronautica (in Spanish). Retrieved 2014-05-31. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Hamlin 2001, pp. 246-259
  8. ^ Hamlin 2001, pp. 225-233
  9. ^ Jackson 1973, p.33.
  • Hamlin, John F (2001). The Oxford, Consul & Envoy File. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England: Air-Britain. ISBN 0 85130 2890. 
  • Jackson, A.J. (1973). British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1. London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-10006-9. 
  • Middleton, Don (June 1980). "RAF Piston Trainers No. 9: Airspeed Oxford Part 2". Aeroplane Monthly. Vol. 8 (No. 6): pp. 322–327. 
  • Stroud, John (July 1995). "Post War Propliners: Airspeed Consul". Aeroplane Monthly. Vol. 23 (No. 7): pp. 66–69. ISSN 0143-7240.