Airspeed Oxford V Prototype (AS592) Neg G2617
Airspeed Oxford V Prototype (AS592)
During the late 1930s, the Airspeed AS.6 Envoy was developed to meet the requirements of Specification T.23/36.  The result was the AS.10 Oxford, which was used for pilot and navigation / radio operator training and brought large scale production success to Airspeed.
The three-seat, cantilever monoplane saw great success as one of the RAF's most versatile trainers.  In its dual control / two 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 third seat could also be pushed back to align easily 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 - Image - Flight, Neg No 16035
Airspeed Oxford L4576 RAF 1938
The Oxford prototype (L4534) was first flown on 19th June 1937, by F/Lt CHA Colman, from the Airspeed airfield at Portsmouth. The first production aircraft (L4535) entered RAF service on 26th November 1937 and the type remained in RAF service until 1956.

Ultimately, some 8,751 were ordered with 4,411 being built by Airspeed at Portsmouth and another 550 by Airspeed at Christchurch, the first of these (X6250) being test flown in March 1941.  These were supplemented by production from de Havilland at Hatfield (1,515), Percival Aircraft at Luton (1,355) and Standard Motors at Coventry (750). Some 165 aircraft were cancelled resulting in 8,581 being completed. 
Nicknamed the 'Ox-box', the Oxford was the preferred trainer for the wartime Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS) and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). Thousands of airmen were sent to Canada to train on Oxfords.
Sadly, one dark episode for the Oxford, was on 5th January 1941 when the much celebrated aviatrix Amy Johnson went missing on an Air Transport Auxiliary ferry flight from Prestwick. Flying in dense fog she went extensively off course before running out of fuel and ditching in the Thames Estuary near Herne Bay, and was presumably drowned.
Airspeed Oxford production at Portsmouth during 1941
Airspeed Oxford production at Portsmouth during 1941

Mr Alan Butler (Chairman of both Airspeed and its parent company de Havilland) stated at Airspeed's 1946 Ordinary General Meeting that 'the peak production rate of the Airspeed 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 six-seat commercial aircraft, a number of surplus Oxfords were purchased by the Royal Hellenic Air Force and flew in the Greek Civil War between 1946 and 1949. 
The Oxford continued in service with a number of overseas air forces but the last RAF expample (NJ399) was finally retired in October 1956 and the last Fleet Air Arm Oxford (DF407) was withdrawn from service in September 1957.

Specification (AS.10 Oxford Mk1)

Two 350 hp AS Cheetah X
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
5.5 hours



Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Mk.I, 6,143 built General purpose trainer with two AS Cheetah engines and provision for a dorsal turret with single Vickers machine gun. One aircraft (AS504) modified at Hatfield with two 250hp Gipsy Queen engines but later re-converted to standard.
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Mk I/II,  75 built Intermediate model
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Mk.II, 2,163 built Pilot, navigation and radio operator trainer with no provision for a turret
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Mk.III, one built Single aircraft with Cheetah XV engines and Rotol constant speed propellers.
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford IV As Mk II but powered by 450 hp Wasp Junior engines. 
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford T.II
8 conversions, one new build
Conversions of Mk Is post-war and named T.II, eight were sold back to Airspeed for conversion to AS65 Consuls
Airspeed AS.40 Oxford
Two built
Civil conversion for radio research, two built pre-war.
Airspeed AS.41 Oxford
One conversion
G-AJWJ (ex LX119), used by Miles Aircraft as a flying test-bed for the 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,
199 built
Upgraded to Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engines with 450 hp (335 kW) and Hamilton-Standard variable-pitch propellers.
Airspeed AS.65 Consul
161 conversions
Civilian transport conversion of Oxford by Airspeed; this type was known as the Airspeed Consul
Airspeed AS.10 Oxford Civilian transport, not converted to AS.65 Consul

Number built

8,586 All variants    



Airspeed Oxford Mk.I
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History
Parc du Cinquantenaire 3, 1000 Brussels
Airspeed Oxford Mk.I 
(NZ277/P2030). Wreckage only
Taranaki Aviation, Transport and Technology Museum near
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Airspeed Oxford Mk.I
RAF Museum, Hendon, UK
Airspeed Oxford Mk.I (V3388/G-AHTW) Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire, UK
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