It's first aircraft was the AS.1 Tern, a small glider created simply to gain publicity through record breaking. Launched from hillsides it could be privately purchased for £248 although even at such a low cost only 2 aircraft were produced.
In 1933, the firm relocated to Portsmouth and the year following it became associated with Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd after which it became Airspeed (1934) Limited. Various designs followed including the AS6 Envoy, AS8 Viceroy and then in 1937, the AS10 Oxford (of which over 8,500 were produced).
In 1940, it was announced that De Havilland Aircraft Company Limited had purchased a controlling interest in Airspeed (1934) Limited although the firm continued to operate and market its products under its own name.
At the same time Airspeed (1934) Limited were brought in to manage the Ministry of Aircraft Production factory at Christchurch where it built nearly 700 of the 3,600 Horsa Gliders used to great effect during the D-Day landings.
In 1944 the company reverted to its original name of Airspeed Limited and in addition to the production of various De Havilland Types such as the Mosquito, Sea Vixen and Vampire, it concentrated the development of the AS57 Ambassador. 23 aircraft were produced with the primary user being British European Airways (BEA) on their ‘Elizabethan Routes’.
The last aircraft to carry the Airpseed designation was the AS65 Consul which flew in 1946 and was a development of the Airspeed Oxford from the 1930's. The company produced 162 aircraft which saw service with small airlines around the world with a number entering military service with both the RAF and Isreali Air Force.
Airspeed Limited was fully merged into the De Havilland Aeroplane Company in June 1951.
|1934||Airspeed (1934) Limited|
|1940||Purchased by De Havilland Aircraft Company Ltd but retained name|
|1951||De Havilland Aeroplane Company|
|1963||Hawker Siddeley Aviation|
|1931||AS1 Tern||1937||AS30 Queen Wasp|
|1932||AS4 Ferry||1940||AS39 Fleet Shadower|
|1933||AS5 Courier||1941||AS45 Cambridge|
|1934||AS6 Envoy||1941||AS51 Horsa I / AS58 Horsa II|
|1934||AS8 Viceroy||1946||AS65 Consul|
|1937||AS10 Oxford||1947||AS57 Ambassador|
via e-mail: Heritage@baesystems.com