Airspeed AS10 Oxford

A 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 AS.6 Envoy was developed by Airspeed to meet the requirements of Specification T.23/36.  The result was the Airspeed AS.10 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 Airspeed AS.10 Oxford was also pressed into service as a Transport Ambulance.
 
Airspeed Oxford L4576 RAF 1938
 
The prototype (L4534) flew for the first time on 19th June 1937, from the Airspeed airfield at Portsmouth and the type remained in RAF service thereafter until 1954.

The first Christchurch built Airspeed AS.10 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). It is reported that 165 aircraft were cancelled and not built, giving a total of 8,586 completed. 
 
Nicknamed the 'Ox-box', the Airspeed AS.10 Oxford was the preferred trainer for the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Thousands of airmen were sent to Canada to train on Airspeed AS10 Oxfords.
 
Sadly, one dark episode for the Airspeed AS.10 Oxford however, was in 1941 when the much celebrated aviatrix Amy Johnson went missing on an ATA ferry flight from Prestwick. Flying in dense fog she went extensively off course before running out of fuel and crashing in the Thames Estuary at Herne Bay.
 
Airspeed Oxford Production at Portsmouth during 1941 Airspeed Oxford Production at Portsmouth during 1941

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 Airspeed AS.10 Oxford was an astonishing seventy-five per month in the spring of 1942'.
 
After the war, 152 surplus aircraft were converted to the Airspeed AS.65 Consul, a 6-seat commercial aircraft, whilst a number of remaining Airspeed AS.5 Oxford's were purchased by the Royal Hellenic Air Force, seeing service by the during the Greek Civil War between 1946 and 1949. 
 
The Airspeed AS.10 Oxford continued with a number of overseas air forces although it was finally retired from the RAF in 1956.
 

Specification (AS.10 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


Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Mk.I  General purpose trainer with two AS Cheetah engines and provision for a dorsal turret with single Vickers machine gun
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Mk.II Pilot, navigation and radio operator trainer with no provision for a turret
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Mk.III Single aircraft with Cheetah XV engines and variable pitch propellers.
Airspeed 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.
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford T.II
9 conversions
Conversions of Mk I's.
Airspeed AS.40 Oxford
2 built
Civil conversion for radio research.
Airspeed AS.41 Oxford
1 conversion
Used by Miles Aircraft as a flying test-bed for Alvis Leonides engine.
Airspeed AS.42 Oxford Oxford I to meet Specification T.39/37 for New Zealand.
Airspeed AS.43 Oxford Survey variant of the Airspeed AS.42
Airspeed AS.46 Oxford V Upgraded to Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engines with 450 hp (335 kW) and Hamilton-Standard variable-pitch propellers.
Airspeed 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, Cambridgeshire, UK
www.iwm.org.uk/iwm-duxford