|Airspeed Consul G-AIDX of Esso Petroleum at Manchester in 1954|
The Airspeed Consul is 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.
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.
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. They were superficially attractive as a small twin-engine airliner, and Airspeed soon offered a conversion kit.
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.
- The aircraft was used by companies, individuals and air charter companies and the following:
- Airways (India) – two aircraft delivered in 1947 
- Soc Transports Aerei Mediterranei (STAM) – three aircraft delivered 1955–56
- Arab Airways Association – one aircraft loaned in 1951
- Air Jordan – seven aircraft from 1950–51
- Commercial Air Services – one aircraft delivered in 1949.
- Natal Airlines – four aircraft delivered in 1955.
- Silver Flight – one aircraft delivered in 1947.
- Aero Nord Sweden – one aircraft from Aeropropaganda in 1953.
- Aeropropaganda – two aircraft delivered 1950–51.
- Nordisk Air Transport – one aircraft delivered in 1951.
- Transair Sweden – one aircraft from Nordisk Air Transport in 1951.
- Air Charter
- Air Enterprises – seven aircraft based at Croydon Airport.
- Air Kruise
- Airspan Travel
- Atlas Aviation – four aircraft based at Elstree.
- British Air Transport
- British Aviation Services – four aircraft based at Blackbushe Airport.
- British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC Training Flight)
- British South American Airways
- Cambrian Airways
- Guernsey Air Charter
- Hornton Airways – three aircraft based at Gatwick Airport.
- International Airways
- Lancashire Aircraft Corporation
- Mercury Air Services
- Ministry of Civil Aviation Flying Unit for radio aids calibration, trials and pilot testing.
- Ministry of Supply for engine trials by Alvis
- Morton Air Services
- Northern Air Charter
- Olley Air Services
- Patrick Laing Air Services
- Pullman Airways
- Silver City Airways
- Solar Air Services
- Southern Airways
- Stiener Air Services – six aircraft based at Speke Airport
- Transcontinental Air Services
- Transair Ltd – five aircraft based at Croydon Airport.
- Westminster Airways – seven aircraft based at Elstree.
- Royal New Zealand Air Force – six conversions by De Havilland Aircraft of New Zealand in early 1950s.
Accidents and incidents
- 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.
Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919 
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 6 passengers
- Length: 35 ft 4 in (10.77 m)
- Wingspan: 53 ft 4 in (16.26 m)
- Height: 11 ft 1 in (3.38 m)
- Wing area: 348 ft² (32.3 m²)
- Empty weight: 6,047 lb (2,749 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 8,250 lb (3,750 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah 10 radial engine, 395 hp (182 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 190 mph (165 knots, 306 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 156 mph (136 knots, 251 km/h)
- Range: 900 mi (783 NM, 1,449 km)
- Service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,800 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,180 ft/min (6.0 m/s)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Airspeed AS.65 Consul.|
- Stroud Aeroplane Monthly July 1995, p. 67.
- Middleton Aeroplane Monthly June 1980, pp. 323–324.
- Jackson 1974, p. 396.
- Hamlin 2001, pp. 262–285
- Jackson 1973, pp.30–33
- Ay, Carlos (2013-08-15). "Catálogo Ilustrado de Aeronaves de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina". Gaceta Aeronautica (in Spanish). Retrieved 2014-05-31.
- Hamlin 2001, pp. 246–259
- Hamlin 2001, pp. 225–233
- 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.