Airspeed A.S.57 Ambassador
1947
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Airspeed A.S.57 Ambassador

The first Brabazon Committee, in its February 1943 report, recommended the Type IIA as a short-haul piston-engined aircraft for British operators and for sale to European airlines. This recommendation resulted in the AS.57 Ambassador, which first flew on 10 July 1947. The Ambassador was a very good-looking high-wing monoplane with triple fins, retractable nosewhecl undercarriage and two Bristol Centaurus engines. The trials programme was prolonged, but with 47 seats and 2,012kW Centaurus 661 the Ambassador entered service with British European Airways in March 1952 as the Elizabethan class. BEA operated a fleet of 20 and the total built including prototypes was 23. However, although the Ambassador was a good aircraft, it was too late to attract other orders, the Viscount entering service only a year later.

After service with BEA the Ambassador passed to several independent airlines including BKS, Dan-Air and Globe Air of Switzerland - some serving as freighters and horse transports. Three were used for a time by Butler Air Transport in Australia, and one was owned by the King of Morocco.

Ambassadors also served as engine test-beds, being fitted with Bristol Proteus, Rolls-Royce Dart and Tyne and Napier Eland turboprops.

3-View 
Airspeed A.S.57 AmbassadorA three-view drawing (800 x 738)


Specification 
 CREW3
 PASSENGERS28-50
 ENGINE2 x Brist. "Centaurus 661", 1930kW
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight24959 kg55025 lb
    Empty weight18025 kg39739 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan35.1 m115 ft 2 in
    Length25.0 m82 ft 0 in
    Height5.6 m18 ft 4 in
    Wing area111.5 m21200.17 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Cruise speed463 km/h288 mph
    Ceiling7600 m24950 ft
    Range w/max.fuel1930 km1199 miles
    Range w/max.payload934 km580 miles

Airspeed A.S.57 Ambassador

Comments
Raymond Hedley, 09.01.2018

At 21years old in the early 60" I took my first flight ever from Gatwick to Jersey in an Ambassador. It was a beautiful aircraft. Quiet and elegant. I have to say it still remains the most comfortable flight of my life.

John Tibbles, 10.10.2017

Growing up next to LHR in 50s and 60s Lizzies were common sight and a distinctive sound. Sadly i remember the fateful day in late 60s when the BKS freighter lost a flap on short finals and cartwheeled into a line of luckily empty Tridents at T1 killing all on board . I watched it on longer finals from the top deck of a bus as it sank gracefully down towards LHR in a setting sun looking very elegant with its distinctive three fin tail only to see the dreadful news on TV when I got home-always sticks in my mind because of that

John Townes, 06.07.2017

Mr. Bandmann. Small correction, hope you don't mind. The York was not a conversion of the Lancaster, but it did use some components, including wings and engines. Sadly I witnessed a Scottish Airlines York crash while serving in Malta in the RAF in the mid 50s. Around 60 RAF personnel died while flying home from Fayid Egypt. There was a fire on the #1 engine and it stalled and spun in from about 300 feet. I was the first on the scene, which is something I will never forget.

Steve Cherry-Downes, 09.10.2016

Yes I flew the Rolls Royce aircraft at Hucknall. It had a Dart 10 on one side and I cant quite remember if it had a Dart 12 on the other side. I flew it with Cliff Rogers who was the Chief test Pilot, G-ARRD

Tommy marshfield, 20.06.2016

Who remembers me? I worked the night shift as a signwriter on the 'Lizzie'
Fleet at Heathrow writing British European airways along the fuselage with all thiose damned rivets and the insignia on the nose with all those 'Elizabethan' names. All of my 4 colleagues on the day shift are now passed away

philip rowlands, 22.07.2015

i'm an aviation enthusiast and i've never found a really
good picture of the cockpit of the ambassador.
I've only seen one,a pretty poor
picture so could you help with that?Are there any good pictures i can find?

John Gothard, 08.01.2015

My first ever flight back in 1967 was on board a Dan Air Ambassador, from Manchester to Ostend.It was a good experience flying on such a distinctive plane.

John Gothard, 08.01.2015

Gothard

Richard, 17.12.2014

My first flight, to Pisa from Gatwick, 1963 or 4. At Pisa the runway was just perforated steel sheets! On the flight home, as the only boy aboard, I was invited to the flight deck. After 15 minutes in the co-pilot's seat I set off back to my seat. As I closed the bulkhead door there was the most enormous bang.... the plane was hit by lightning! We landed safely.

Phil Gallagher, 10.11.2014

First flew in one in the mid sixties on a holiday flight to Spain via Perpignan. All a bit nerve racking as the Ambassador was definitely third division by then and was amongst other things being used to transport horses - although not at the same time as my flight.

NIGEL FERRIS, 16.10.2014

I FIRST FLEW IN AN AMBASSADOR FROM ICELAND TO A VOLCANIC ISLAND ON THE 22ND AUGUST 1987 AND THEN BACK WHILST ON A DAYTRIP IN CONCORD THAT WAS ON A SPECIAL TRIP BY GOODWOOD TRAVEL FROM HEATHROW TO REYKJAVIK AND BACK IN A DAY.I WAS TREATING MY FAMILY OF TWO GIRLS ONE AGED 15 AND ONE AGED 13 AND MY WIFE ON MY 5OTH BIRTHDAY.I AM NOW 77 AND I AM WRITING A BOOK WITH MANY CONCORD PHOTOS PLUS SOME OF THE AMBASSADORB WHICH I LIKED VERY MUCH.

Terry Skeet, 24.03.2014

I flew home from Dusseldorf to London a few times in the Elizabethan during 1956 whilst in the RAF. If I remember correctly the fare was 12 return, concession price because I was in the forces. Due to the high wings you had great views. In 1957 they were replaced by the Viscounts but I will always remember the Elizabethans, my first taste of air travel.

Andy Cole, 07.02.2013

I flew on the "Elizabethan" from Hamburg to Heathrow in the 1950's and on one occasion I remember we were struck by lightening and forced to land in either Brussels or Amsterdam on route to London. We had to spend a night in a hotel which was exciting for a young lad. Does anybody know what year it could have been or how I can find out? My father worked for BEA 1953 to 1979.

Duncan Ratcliffe, 26.01.2013

I am seeking information regarding RR test bed aircraft that my father was involved with in the late 1950's. Ambassador with Tynes
Ashton's with Nenes and Conways
Dakota's with Dart engines/
Lincoln's with Tyne in the nose &4x Merlin
and others. I would like to corespond or obtain photo's

Klaatu83, 17.08.2012

I can't help wondering why Airspeed didn't re-design this plane to take turbo-prop engines. It probably would have been a good seller, at least as good as the Viscount.

Simon Morrison, 20.09.2011

Wonderful aeroplane. My first flight too. In Spring of 1952 so exiting as a ten year old to fly in luxury. Leaving drab dreary post-war Britain for Vienna with my Mum and six year old brother. Post-war Austria was occupied by the Russians and it's capital city divided into British, American, French and Russian zones, much like Berlin. Beautiful day to fly, amazing to watch continental countryside from 10,000 feet. Our Dad and my favourite uncle both army intelligence officers so both we and our cousins were to pretend not to know them if our adventures took us to parts of the city where they might be! Kids imagination did the rest. We were little Dick Barton special agents!

David, 23.05.2011

The first aircraft I ever flew on, July 1958. Watched oil leaking from engine all the way from Belfast to Newcastle! Otherwise wonderful. Such a brilliant view. Would love to fly in one again.

Michael, 28.04.2011

I worked on this aircraft after leaving the Air Force. I enjoyed running the engines and taxying the aircraft. Yep ground engineers could do that I actually taxied the aircraft into the hanger with about three feet on either side of the wing tips. It wasn't oficial to do that and I am sure the boss would have hung up by my balls but it was night shift and I was very young. Things were a bit more relaxed around smaller airports then. This aircraft wasn't viable and the engines were a problem a lot of the time.

Oliver Bandmann, 05.10.2010

As a kid in Hamburg, I saw the BEA "Elizabethan" come in daily from London, and on to Berlin. It replaced the previous Avro "York", coverted WWII bomber,surely one of the boxiest, ugliest, and loudest aircraft ever built (taking off, conversation all over town was impossible for minutes), this one hummed, "sang" - we called them The Beauty and The Beast. My first-ever flight to Berlin was on the "Beast", back on the "Beauty": unforgettable.

peter norton, 18.06.2008

What a beautiful airplane. I flew on many airtests in this type, its high wing allowing superb views through the enormous cabin windows and was later involved in recovering G-AMAD when it was, sadly, lost on landing at Heathrow. A four-engine turbine-powered version was planned but never built. The Vickers Viscount had arrived.

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