ARMSTRONG WHITWORTH AVIATION

ARGOSY



Argosy Civil Operators

AER TURAS | AIR ANGLIA | AIR BRIDGE CARRIERS | AIR TENGGARA | BAC | BEA
BRAIN AND BROWN | CAPITOL AIRLINES | DUNCAN AVIATION | ELAN | HSA | IPEC
KRIS AIR | NITTLER | OTRAG | PAL | RIDDLE | ROLLS ROYCE | SAFE | SAGITTAIR
AWA | SOACO | TRANSAIR | UNIVERSAL | ZANTOP

AER TURAS - IRELAND
Operated EI-AVJ (6801) on lease from Transair-Midwest taking delivery on the 3rd of November 1971. They found it unsuitable for their operation and returned it in November 1972.
Aer Turas - Wikipedia

6801, EI-AVJ, Aer Turas, Southend, August 1968

AIR ANGLIA
Aircraft Operated - G-APRL (6652)
Air Anglia - Wikipedia

G-APRL in Air Anglia markings
Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection

AIR BRIDGE CARRIERS - UK
Air Bridge Carriers was formed in 1972 with four Argosy freighters to fly fresh produce from the Channel Islands to the UK. This work was quickly supplemented by ad-hoc charter work, with special emphasis on 'awkward loads' such as aircraft engines and heavy machinery for the North Sea oil fields.
Aircraft Operated - G-APRL (6652), G-APRN (6654), G-APWW (6656), G-AZHN (6657) and G-BEOZ (6660).

G-APRN, Air Bridge Carriers, Berlin 14 Sep 75
Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection

AIR TENGGARA
Aircrat Operated - N37807 (6656).

BAC - JAGUAR SUPPORT PROJECT
G-APRN (6654) carrying "Jaguar Support Aircraft" markings.



BRITISH EUROPEAN AIRWAYS (BEA) - UK
Formally started life on the 1st of August 1947 but had been flying since February of that year. Under the nationalisation bill 14 airlines were grouped to become BEA, the wholly owned European airline of the British government In late 1960 BEA decided to enter the airfreight business in earnest and in April 1961 placed an order for the three aircraft of the initial production batch that had not sold been sold to Riddle Airlines. After some experimental flying BEA specified Rolamat conveyor systems, lashing points and metal linings for the cargo hold. They also required revised instrumentation and radio aids for the cockpit. The BEA aircraft equiped to this standard were designated AW 650 102. The first BEA aircraft, G-APRN made its first flight to this standard on the 21st of September 1961. It was delivered to BEA at London Airport Heathrow (LHR) on the 6th of November 1961 and started revenue flying on the 14th of that month. G-APRM was delivered on the 23rd of November 1961 and G-AOZZ on the 19th of December.

The arrival of the Argosies allowed BEA to retire its Dakota frieghters as well seeing the end of the Dan Air charted Avro Yorks which had been flying a London, Manchester, Glasgow frieght service. The 102s were soon flying to Copenhagen, Jersey, Milan and Paris. These services operated from London Stansted with two aircraft on freight operations and one on training and standby. BEA never made a profit from their 102 operations, but this might have been because of a small fleet and BEA accounting methods, rather than the fault of the aircraft. To overcome this situation they ordered 5 of the new 200 series aircraft and designated them 222s. They returned their 102s in part exchange for the new aircraft between March and July 1965. These went into storage but G-APRM was leased back between July and November 1966 while a replacement for G-ASKZ was built. This aircraft was destroyed in a crash at Milan.
Aircraft Operated - G-AOZZ (6651), G-APRM (6653), G-APRN (6654), G-ASXL (6800), G-ASXM (6801), G-ASXN (6802), G-ASXO (6803), G-ASXP (6804) and G-ATTC (6805).



BRAIN AND BROWN AIRFREIGHTERS - AUSTRALIA
Brain and Brown were air freight sub-contractors to IPEC until they purchased their own aircraft.
Aircraft Operated - VH-BBA (6656).

6656 VH-BBA East Midlands Airport April 74

CAPITOL AIRLINES INC. - USA
When Capitol won the Logair contract it took on the Riddle Airlines aircraft.
Aircraft Operated - N6507R (6652), N6504R (6655), N6503R (6656), N6505R (6657), N6506 (6658), N6501R (6659) and N6502 (6660).
Capitol Airlines

DUNCAN AVIATION - USA (ALASKA)
Duncan Aviation of Lincoln, Nebraska operated Argosies in Alaska on a US Bureau Of Land Management contract.
Aircraft Operated - N896U (6651), N891U (6655), N894U (6658), N1430Z (XP447 - 6779) and G-BFVT (XR143 - 6798).

N1430Z - still in RAF colour scheme but without radome

ELAN PARCEL SERVICE - UK
Two Argosies carried the markings of Elan - G-APRL (6652) Edna and G-BEOZ (6660) Fat Albert.



HAWKER SIDDELEY AVIATION - UK
Some of the early Argosies were used for development and demonstration work and were operated in Hawker Siddeley Aviation colours.

G-APRN Farnborough 1959

IPEC AVIATION - AUSTRALIA
IPEC Aviation was the air services division of the IPEC Transport Group (from Interstate Parcel Express Company), which had pioneered over night road freight deliveries between Australia's main cities in the mid 1950s and developed into a sophisticated express freight delivery system by the mid 1970s. One of the problems IPEC had in offering an over night Australia wide delivery system was Tasmania which is separated from the mainland by the Bass Straight. Much could be written about IPEC's efforts to overcome this problem with an air service but this site is about the Argosy. By 1975 IPEC was having its freight flown by Brain and Brown Airfreight but the two companies could not come to a long term deal and IPEC withdrew its custom, with BBA grounding the Argosy VH-BBA, which sat on the ground for about two years. IPEC purchase the aircraft in 1977 and after a full refurish started using it in January 1978. In May 1978 IPEC purchased two Series 200 Argosies which were registered VH-IPA and VH-IPB. VH-BBA was operated by other airlines 1980/82 but returned to IPEC as VH-IPD. The long association of IPEC with the Argosy ended in 1990 when the aircraft were withdrawn and scrapped.

The history of IPEC says of the Argosy There could have been no better designee aircraft for the AIR-BRIDGE operation than the Argosy. Conventional aircraft when gutted for freight, could only be side-loaded, and at a height necessitating substantial outlay for specialised freight handling equipment. The Argosy, however had huge doors at either end of the fuselage at truck-tray height, facilitating the simple push-on, pull-off loading of palletised freight.
To add even further to the advantage: of the Argosy, IPEC engineers developed unique vehicles to speed up the loading and unloading process. These were converted MAN rigid linehaul vehicles, stripped of their pan, with the chassis lengthened and special roller tray tops fitted.
The monsters could take on their length the entire six-pallet load for the Argosy and by having two of these specialised vehicles - one at either end of the aircraft- loading and unloading simultaneously, turn-around times were reduced to 30 minutes, allowing four trips each way in 24 hours. With a payload capacity of 11 tonnes, the Argosy could thus shift 88 tonnes a day.

Aircraft Operated - VH-BBA/VH-IPD (6656), VH-IPA (6803) and VH-IPB (6805).

IPEC loading system
IPEC loading system

KRIS AIR
Aircrat Operated - 6656.

6656 VH-BBA Kris Air leased from IPEC Essendon April 80

NITTLER AIR TRANSPORT - LUXEMBOURG
Nittler operated N897U (6654) in the early '70s.

6654 - Nittler Air Transport

OTRAG RANGE AIR SERVICES - CONGO (ZAIRE)
Otrag Range Air Services was an airfreight operation to support the building of a missile launch facility, 2 ex RAF aircraft were used.
Aircraft Operated - 9Q-COE (XP446 - 6778) and 9Q-COA (XR136 - 6791).
OTRAG - Wikipedia
Orbital Transport und Raketen AG

The only photo of both OTRANG a/c that I have seen. Location?

PHILIPPINES AIRLINES - PHILIPPINES
Aircraft Operated - RP-C1192 (XP450 - 6782).

RP-C1192, XP450 at Manila, September 1975
Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection

RIDDLE AIRLINES - USA
Riddle was the first airline to order the Argosy, which it did in February 1959 for 4 aircraft. This was later increase to 7 with all being delivered by August 1961. The original plan was for the 4 aircraft to augment Riddle's C-46 and DC-7 operating out of their Miami base. The increase to 7 aircraft was bought about by them being awarded USAF's Military Air Transport service on the 17th of June 1960 Riddle operated the Logair contract with 5 Argosies which involved running regular service carrying bulky freight for the US Logistic Command between United States Air Forces bases. They operated 3 routes, these being:-
Flight 80:- Tinker-Blythville-Bunker Hill-Wright Patterson-Seymour-Johnson-Robbins-Brookley-Kelly-Tinker.
Flight 81:- Tinker-Ellsworth-Grand Forks-Minot-Glasgow-Fairchild-Larson-McChord-Hill-Lowry-Tinker.
Flight 82:- Tinker-offutt-Sawyer-Kincheloe-Wurtsmith-Griffiss-Loring-Dow-Westover-Olmsted-Wright Patterson-Tinker.
The Logair service started on the 15th of January 1961 with the 2 aircraft that had been delivered at that time and eventually employed 5 aircraft on the contract. Riddle lost the contract in June 1962 and all the aircraft returned to Armstrong Whitworth. I do not think they left the USA but passed to other Logair contractors.

The other 2 aircraft operated other Riddle services between Miami,San Juan and Puerto Rico. With all 7 aircraft in use Riddle achieved a utilisation of over twelve and a half hours a day.
Aircraft Operated - N6507R (6652), N6504R (6655), N6503R (6656), N6505R (6657), N6506 (6658), N6501R (6659) and N6502 (6660).
Airlift International (Riddle Airlines) - Wikipedia

ROLLS ROYCE - UK
Rolls Royce owned and operated G-APRM from the 11th of April 1969 until I do not know when, but was observed in this role at East Midland airport on the 27th of September 1976. It was used to transport engines for the Concorde and other duties.
Aircraft Operated - G-APRM (6653).

G-APRM whilst owned by Rolls Royce

SAFE AIR - NEW ZEALAND
Safe Air started as Straits Air Freight Express in 1950 operating a leased Curtis Commando. The initial operation was the rail-air freight contract across the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands. It later expanded into mail and other freight services using Bristol B.170 Freighters. In 1967 it became Safe Air and began passenger operations including a service to Chatham Island. Argosy operations began with the arrival of c/n 6801 (ZK-SAF) from Transair of Canada in October 1973. A second Argosy c/n 6802 (ZK-SAE) arrived a year later. When ZK-SAF was damaged it was replaced, briefly, by ZK-SAL.

They operated regular services on the following routes, Auckland-Wellington, Auckland-Woodbourne, Chathham Islands-Wellington, Chirstchurch-Wellington, Christchurch-Auckland, Christchurch-Dunedin, Christchurch-Chatham Islands, Dunedin-Invercargill, Invercargill-Christchurch, Wellington-Woodbourne, Woodbourne-Dunedin and Woodbourne-Christchurch, as well as the reciprocal legs in most cases. It is also reported that they also visited Palmerston North, New Plymounth, Hamilton, Napier and Timaru on an as required bases. The aircraft stopped flying in 1990 and Safe Air became an engineering operation only.

Safe Air had an innovative and unique approach to the problem of converting the Argosy from freight to passenger role, the passenger capsule, see photos.

Safe Air passenger capsule

Safe Air up to date.

Aircraft Operated - ZK-SAF (6801), ZK-SAE (6802) and ZK-SAL (6805).

Click to open

SAGITTAIR - UK
Sagittair began life at London Heathrow (LHR) in 1969 operating Beech 18 twins. It had intended to fly holiday charters but ended up a pure freight airline. In 1971 it introduced ex Universal Airlines Argosy aircraft. By 1972 the Beech 18s had gone and the airline operated Argosy freighters. It transferred to the East Midlands Airport Derby in the same year and ceased operation later in the year.
Aircraft Operated - G-APRL ((6652), G-APRN ((6654), G-APWW ((6656), G-AZHN (6657) and G-BEOZ (6660).

G-APRN in Sagittair colours
Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection

SIR W G ARMSTRONG WHITWORTH AIRCRAFT - UK

SOACO - GABON
SOACO operated two Argosies TR-LWQ (6803) and TR-LWR (6805).

6803 TR-LWQ SOACO (Transair colour scheme) Essendon September 78

TRANSAIR - CANADA
Transair used 4 of the ex BEA series 222 aircraft in freight operations for the oil fields in the Arctic Islands of Canada's Northwest Territories. They were also used in operations to supply the Defence Early Warning Line but were not a great success, due to the long sector lengths, up to 7 hours, their payload was restricted.
Aircraft Operated - CF-TAG (6801), CF-TAJ (6802), CF-TAX (6803) and CF-TAZ (6805).



UNIVERSAL AIRLINES - USA
Universal was originally Calhoun Equipment and Servicing and changed its name in 1968.
Aircraft Operated - N896U (6651), N890U (6652), N897U (6654), N891U (6655), N892U (6656),N893U (6657), N894U (6658) and N896U (6660).
Universal Airlines - Wikipedia



ZANTOP AIR TRANSPORT - USA
Zantop, together with Capitol were granted a new Logair contract and chartered 2 ex Riddle aircraft from Calhoun Equipment and Servicing. At some point in time Zantop became the sole Logair contractor operating all of the original 7 aircraft, which by then were all owned by Calhoun and chartered to Zantop.
Aircraft Operated - N6507R/N602Z (6652), N6504R (6655), N6503R (6656), N6505R/N600Z (6657), N6506 (6658), N6501R/N601Z (6659) and N6502 (6660).

6659-N601Z Zantop Sept 65

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