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Airspeed Limited

Airspeed Limited was founded in York in 1931 by A. Hesell-Tiltman and designer Nevil Shute Norway who later became famous as an author.

AIRSPEED LIMITED

Airspeed Logo Square
Airspeed was founded Alfred Tiltman and Neville Shute Norway in 1931 in Yorkshire with other famous names of the day such as Alan Cobham, Amy Johnson and Lord Grimthorpe being listed as shareholders.  
 
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’.
 
Airspeed Passengers boarding
BEA Passengers boarding for a flight to Paris
 
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.
 

Genealogy

1931 Airspeed Limited
1934 Airspeed (1934) Limited
1940 Purchased by De Havilland Aircraft Company Ltd but retained name
1951 De Havilland Aeroplane Company
1963 Hawker Siddeley Aviation
1977 British Aerospace
1999 BAE Systems

Aircraft

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

More information