Armstrong Whitworth Argosy biplane | BAE Systems | International

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Armstrong Whitworth
Argosy Biplane

A safe and reliable biplane airliner used by Imperial Airways on its European and South African routes.
Armstrong Whitworth Argosy G-EBLF Imperial Airways Armstrong Whitworth Argosy I G-EBLF flying over London.
 
The Armstrong Whitworth AW154 Argosy biplane was designed to meet the requirements of Imperial Airways for multi-engine aircraft for its services to Europe and subsequently on longer range routes to South Africa.  
 
The AW154 Argosy was a three engine biplane with a noticeably 'boxy fuselage' designed to accommodate twenty passengers. Power was provided by three direct drive AS Jaguar engines, with the prototype (G-EBLF) making its first flight on 16th March 1926. The first passenger service to Paris was flown on 16th July 1926, taking just 2.5 hours each way.
 
Three aircraft were built in an initial batch, followed by a further four Argosy II with more powerful geared Jaguar IVA engines, automatic slots and increased fuel capacity. The original three Argosy were later re-engined with the Jaguar IVA.
 
The flight crew were seated side-by-side in an open cockpit in the nose. The Argosy was used on routes to Paris, Basle, Brussels and Cologne and gained an enviable reputation for safety and reliability, particularly on the Paris route. It was the first aircraft to receive a 'named service' as 'Silver Wing' operating between London and Paris.
 
One noteable flight for a AW154 Argosy was to transport Edward, Prince of Wales and his brother Prince George from Le Bourget, Paris dirctly to their home in Windsor, landing on the lawns of the Great Park. 
 
The type remained in service with Imperial Airways until 1935. The very last flying example (G-AACJ) was used for joy-riding by United Airways Ltd of Stanley Park Aerodrome (Blackpool), which later was merged into British Airways Ltd. It continued in use with British Airways until December 1936.
 
Armstrong Whitworth Argosy G-AACJ Imperial Airways Armstrong Whitworth Argosy II G-AACJ approaching to land.

 

Despite its moderate success as an airliner, it only operated in the hands of UK-based operators with each aircraft being named after a princilpal British city.

Specification

  Argosy Mark I Argosy Mark II
Powerplant Three 385 hp AS Jaguar III Three 420 hp AS Jaguar IVA
Span 90 ft 8 in 90 ft 4 in
All up weight 18,000 lb 19,200 lb
Capacity  Two crew and 20 passengers
Maximum Speed  110 mph
Cruising speed 90-95 mph
Endurance / Range 330 miles 520 miles

Variants and Number built

Argosy I               Three 385 hp AS Jaguar III (3 built: G-EBLF. G-EBLO, G-EBOZ)
Argosy II Three 420 hp AS Jaguar IVA  (4 built: G-AACH, G-AACI, G-AACJ, G-AAEJ)

Survivors

No Armstrong Whitworth Argosy aircraft survive