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Airspeed Oxford

The British Commonwealth Aircrew Navigational and Radio Communications Trainer during World War II
Airspeed Oxford Airspeed Oxford 1 (AS592)
During the late 1930's, the Airspeed Envoy was developed by Airspeed to meet the requirements of Specification T.23/26.  The result was the Airspeed AS10 Oxford which was used for pilot and navigation / radio operator training and brought large scale production success to Airspeed.
 
The 3-seat, cantilever monoplane saw great success as one of the RAF's most versatile trainers.  In its dual control / 2 front-seat configuration it was a stable and reliable pilot-trainer and with one seat pushed back and a set of controls removed, it was easily adapted for both 'prone bomb-aimer' training as well as a superb aerial photography platform.  The 3rd seat could also be pushed back to easily align with the chart table for advanced navigator instruction, as well as providing wireless operator access.  
 
In addition to its training role, the Oxford was also pressed into service as a Transport Ambulance.
Airspeed Oxford L4576 RAF 1938
The prototype (L4534) flew from Airspeed Portsmouth for the first time on 19th June 1937 and the type remained in RAF service until 1954. Nicknamed the 'Ox-box', the Oxford was the preferred trainer for the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) which sent thousands of airmen to Canada to train on Oxfords.
 
Sadly, one dark episode for the Oxford was in 1941 when the much celebrated aviatrix Amy Johnson went The first Christchurch built Oxford was (X6250) flew in March 1941.
 
Ultimately, some 8,751 were ordered with 4,411 being built by Airspeed at Portsmouth and 550 at Christchurch.  These were supplemented by production by De Havilland at Hatfield (1,515), Percival Aircraft at Luton (1,525) and Standard Motors at Coventry (750).
Airspeed Oxford Production at Portsmouth during 1941 Airspeed Oxford Production at Portsmouth during 1941
It is reported that 165 aircraft were cancelled and not built, giving a total of 8,586 completed. 

Mr Alan Butler (Chairman of both Airspeed and De Havilland) stated at the Airspeed 1946 Ordinary General Meeting that 'the peak production rate of the Oxford was an astonishing seventy-five per month in the spring of 1942'.
 
After the war, 152 suplus aircraft were converted to the AS.65 Consul, a 6-seat commercial aircraft, whilst a number of remaining Oxford's were purchased by the Hellenic Air Force and saw service by the RHAF during the Greek Civil War between 1946 and 1949. 
 
The Oxford continued with a number of overseas air forces although it was finally retired from the RAF in 1956.

Specification (AS10 Oxford Mk1)

Powerplant
Two 350 hp AS Cheetah X
Span
53 ft 4 in
Maximum Weight
7,500 lb
Capacity and armament
Typically 3 crew. Single Vickers K machine gun in dorsal turret plus up to 15 11.5 lb practice bombs.
Maximum Speed
188 mph at 8,300 ft
Endurance
5.5 hours

Variants

AS.10 Oxford Mk.I  General purpose trainer with two AS Cheetah engines and provision for a dorsal turret with single Vickers machine gun
AS.10 Oxford Mk.II Pilot, navigation and radio operator trainer with no provision for a turret
AS.10 Oxford Mk.III Single aircraft with Cheetah XV engines and variable pitch propellers.
AS.10 Oxford IV As Mk II but powered by 450 hp Wasp Junior engines. One aircraft AS504 was modified with two 250 hp Gipsy Queen engines.
Oxford T.II
9 conversions
Conversions of Mk I's.
AS.40 Oxford
2 built
Civil conversion for radio research.
AS.41 Oxford
1 conversion
Used by Miles Aircraft as a flying test-bed for Alvis Leonides engine.
AS.42 Oxford Oxford I to meet Specification T.39/37 for New Zealand.
AS.43 Oxford Survey variant of the AS.42
AS.46 Oxford V Upgraded to Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engines with 450 hp (335 kW) and Hamilton-Standard variable-pitch propellers.
AS.65 Consul
150 conversions
Civilian transport operation; this type was known as the Airspeed Consul

Number built

8,586 All variants    

Survivors

Airspeed Oxford Mk.I
(MP455)
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History
Parc du Cinquantenaire 3, 1000 Brussels
www.klm-mra.be
Airspeed Oxford Mk.I 
(NZ277/P2030)
Taranaki Aviation, Transport and Technology Museum near New Plymouth, New Zealand
www.tatatm.tripod.com/museum
Airspeed Oxford Mk.I
(MP425/G-AITB)
RAF Museum, Hendon, UK
www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london
Airspeed Oxford Mk.I (V3388/G-AHTW) Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambs, UK
www.iwm.org.uk/iwm-duxford

More Information

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Please note that the information shown is based on that available at the time of the creation of this web page - If you have any additions or corrections please contact: Heritage@baesystems.com