Airspeed Aircraft since 1931 by H.A. Taylor

By H.A. Taylor

A historic account of the Airspeed airplane corporation, describing the initiatives and plane produced over twenty years, with information of the profitable twin-engined Oxford coach produced in the course of the moment international struggle, and test-development crises.

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But for the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the Viceroy might also have been an entry for the England-South Africa (Portsmouth-Johannesburg) race for the Schlesinger Trophy in September of that year. lawsuit after the Australia race failure, the AS,8 was back at Portsmouth in the early summer of 1935, and Airspeed was negotiating a secret sale to the Emperor of Ethiopia (then normally known as Abyssinia) when the Italo-Ethiopian war came to an end. It was afterwards about to be sold to Max Findlay and Ken Waller for the South Africa race when an unusually good offer came from Spain and was accepted.

So the Oxford went ahead with the Armstrong Siddeley 80 Cheetah X engines which were to power all the aircraft for British and many overseas training requirements. The wooden structure of the Oxford followed very closely that of the developed Envoy Mk III, with stressed-skin wings and tailplane and semimonocoque fuselage. The wing was in three parts: a centre-section, not integral with the fuselage, and two extension planes, with split flaps extending in five sections from aileron to aileron. These and the retractable undercarriage were hydraulically operated by a pump driven by the starboard engine, or by handpump with separate pipelines for undercarriage lowering in final emergency.

Colman accompanied by an apprentice, W. F. Locke, later managing director of FPT Industries of Portsmouth, as engineer. The Envoy left Portsmouth on 27 January, 1937, with Mrs N. S. Norway as a passenger travelling as far as Calcutta. The flight was made in 13 62 flying days, with only three short intervening day-long delays-because of bad weather, a minor technical hitch, and for demonstrations-reaching Liu Chow on 12 February. Night stops were made at Marseilles, Pisa, Brindisi, Athens, Cairo, Basra, Karachi, Delhi, Calcutta, Rangoon, Lakhon, where there was a landing because of poor weather, and Hanoi.

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