The Scottish Aviation Pioneer was a Short Take-Off and Landing military transport, casualty evacuation and communications aircraft that was designed against Specification A.4/45. Full span slots and large area-increasing Fowler flaps allowed exceptional take-off and landing performance to be achieved.
The first prototype (G-31-1 / VL515) flew for the first time on 5th November 1947, being initially powered by a 240 hp Gipsy Queen 34 engine and known as the Prestwick Pioneer.
In this form, the Prestwick Pioneer proved to be rather under-powered and the design was therefore revised, with the two prototypes (VL515 and VL516) being fitted with Alvis Leonides engines and receiving civil registrations (G-AKBF and G-ANAZ).
The fifth Pioneer G-ANRG (later XH469) in civil markings for the 1954 Farnborough Air Show.
The type was taken into RAF service as the Pioneer CC.1 with a 520 hp Alvis Leonides engine. The company designation for the production aircraft was initially Pioneer II but this later reverted to Pioneer 1 to avoid confusion with the Twin Pioneer.
Deliveries to the RAF commenced in August 1953 and the type remained in service until 1969.
RAF Scottish Aviation Pioneer landing on a typical improvised strip in Malaya.
The type proved its ability to operate out of extremely short strips in hostile terrain and high temperatures whilst serving with the RAF in Malaya and Borneo. Strips as short as 160 yards were used operationally, and Scottish Aviation claimed a 33 mph landing speed and a minimum landing run of only 26 yards for the Gipsy Queen-powered prototype!