Gallery No 2 - Armstrong Whitworth - Argosy

Aircraft - 1 Images

My thanks to Roger Dunn and the MOD for supplying these images.Wikipedia for text.

Armstrong-Whitworth AW650-222 Argosy

The AW650 was designed by Armstrong-Whitworth to meet a 1955 British Air Ministry specification for a freight/passenger aircraft suitable for civil and miltary use. Initially known as the Freightliner, construction started as a private venture in early 1957. This was the manufacturer's last project as in 1958 the company was subsumed by the Hawker-Siddeley group, and the aircraft project was designated the HS.650 Argosy.

The prototype Series 100 freighter (c/n 6651 G-AOZZ) was first flown on January 8, 1959. Type certification was achieved in December 1959, by which time six had been completed. The aircraft was displayed in Paris in July, 1959 and Farnborough in 1960 where it attracted interest but few orders. The project was not successful in the commercial sector as only ten were built. Riddle Airlines of Miami, Florida ordered four aircraft, later increasing that to seven for a contract with the USAF. The three remaining Series 100 aircraft were sold to BEA. Apart from G-APRM (c/n 6653) all the series 100 aircraft were at some point operated in the USA, but many eventually returned to the UK. One (c/n 6656 VH-IPD) went on to work in Australia. All but two of the Series 100 Argosies had been scrapped by 1990, with the others surviving in UK museums.

A military variant of the AW650 was more successful. After evaluating the AW650 the RAF ordered 20 aircraft, but wanted a number of alterations to the aircraft. This included a strengthened wing which raised the MTOW from 39,916kg (88,000lb) to 55,250kg (121,800lb) and a change from the 1910shp Dart 526 to the 2680shp Dart 101 powerplants. The aircraft had only a rear cargo door which could be opened in flight (the civil version could not). The military AW-660 prototype first flew on March 4th 1961, and the RAF eventually acquired 56 aircraft. The first of these Argosy C.Mk.1 aircraft entered service in 1962, and soon became known as the 'whistling wheelbarrow' - a product of the aircraft shape and the characteristic sound of the dart engine. The aircraft was used for freight, troop transporting and parachute work - and later airfield calibration (seven aircraft being modified to E.1 models). A further aircraft was modified as a T.2. The RAF retired the last of its Argosies from active duty in 1975. Most were scrapped after being withdrawn from use, although five went onto civil use. These were operated in the UK, US, Phillipines and parts of Africa. Two survive in museums, one in the US and one in the UK, along with a cockpit section. During their service several Argosy C.Mk.1 aircraft visited New Zealand. Based with 215 Squadron at Changi in Singapore, these aircraft include XP446 (c/n 6778) which attended the Air Force day at Ohakea in February 1964 and returned on several other occaissions, XR108 (c/n 6786) which was on display at the opening of Auckland International Airport on January 29, 1966, and XP449 (c/n 6781) which visited Christchurch in September 1966.

Some aircraft may appear identical but there are differences which will not be discernible from the image.

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70 Squadron



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