Airspeed Oxford
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Airspeed Oxford

The 'Ox-box', as the Oxford became known to members of the RAF, was originally designed as a military development of the Envoy and was built to an Air Ministry specification of 1936. The prototype flew for the first time on 19 June 1937. The first production Oxfords entered service at the Central Flying School in November 1937 as the RAF's first twin-engined cantilever low-wing monoplane trainer. A total of well over 8,500 Oxfords were eventually produced by Airspeed and several sub-contractors and served in training, communications, ambulance and other roles.

Airspeed produced five basic versions of the design for military use, of which three were major types. The Mk I was a weapons trainer, usually fitted with a dorsal gun turret; the Mk II a pilot, radio-operator and navigator trainer; and the Mk V, which was similar to the Mk II but powered by two 335kW Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior radial engines. Large numbers of Oxfords were delivered to the air forces of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and Portugal, as well as to the Fleet Air Arm, the USAAF and the Free French. A small number of civil Oxfords were also produced (not including military conversions), operated post-war by companies, airlines and flying clubs.

Airspeed OxfordA three-view drawing (650 x 771)

 ENGINE2 x Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN6 Wasp Junior, 336kW
    Take-off weight3269 kg7207 lb
    Empty weight2572 kg5670 lb
    Wingspan16.26 m53 ft 4 in
    Length10.52 m35 ft 6 in
    Height3.38 m11 ft 1 in
    Wing area32.33 m2348.00 sq ft
    Max. speed325 km/h202 mph
    Ceiling6400 m21000 ft
    Range1127 km700 miles

Airspeed Oxford

David French, 15.05.2015

If you see this can you please contact me as we are about to start our restoration and would like to ask a few questions please.

Ken Wella, 07.02.2015

Comment on crash at Lossiemounh. I had a fright, the hiss to the south of ud were our low flying area, one day I was flying I thought reasonably low, whwn a Shack from Lossiemouth came out of a valley at right angle and passed underneath me.

Ken Wella, 07.02.2015

I was staioned at RAF Dalcross (inverness) to convert from Chipmunk to Oxford in May 1952. Do not do very well and failed the course, in spite of coming top in my Chipmuk course. Part of th the trouble was height, at 5ft 6, I could only get full rudder on with the seat fairly well forward, tha meant I had troublr getting the control column back fsr enough for three point landings, and also had trouble getting enough rudder on quickly to control swings on take off,

Klaatu83, 17.08.2014

It is a little-known fact that, during the Iraq "Rebellion" of April 1941, when the Iraqi government fell to a coup d'état, a number of Airspeed Oxfords that were stationed in Iraq at the time were pressed into service as bombers. I believe that was the only occasion when Oxfords were actually used in combat.

Klaatu83, 17.08.2014

In addition to becoming a successful fiction writer Nevil Shute Norway, who designed the aircraft shown here, wrote a fascinating non-fiction account of his experiences in the British aircraft industry. Entitled "Slide Rule", it is highly recommended to those interested in this website. In addition to his experiences with Airspeed Ltd., he also discusses his earlier experiences with Vickers, where he worked on the design and construction of the airship R-100. His discussion of the R-100 and it's ill-fated competitor, the infamous R-101, coming as they do from one who was on the "inside" and was really privy to what was going on at the time, are highly enlightening.

Don Stewart, 02.08.2014

I believe that the first fatal crash from RAF Lossie on 1st Aug 1939 involved Oxfords, but I cannot find an official reference. See Youtube/Lossie History.

bill oakey, 02.07.2013

The development of this aircraft and all of Airspeed products is wonderfully covered in Nevil Shute (Norway)'s autobiography titled "Slide Rule".

Gary Hillman, 29.11.2012

I am the Vice President of the Harvard Historical Aviation Society in Penhold, Alberta, Canada, who have recently found the remains of a MkV Oxford and then discovered it had actually served as a trainer at our airport in Penhold during the war. We intend to restore this aircraft to at least display status if not flying status in the future and would like to communicate with those with such experience as well as anyone who has flown one.

kevin cranley, 05.05.2012

I flew OXFORDS at Little Rissington and Chipping Norton I really enjoyed flying the Oxford.Subsequently I was posted to 27 OTU Lichfield Bomber Command.I did not enjoy the Wellington and had a prang in a fog at nightime

kevin cranley, 05.05.2012

I flew OXFORDS at Little Rissington and Chipping Norton I really enjoyed flying the Oxford.Subsequently I was posted to 27 OTU Lichfield Bomber Command.I did not enjoy the Wellington and had a prang in a fog at nightime

jim wingett, 26.01.2012

Hello David Thomas
I seem to remember the "Boost" button delivered a really fat spark during start up. Dear old Oxfords eh?

Klaatu83, 05.03.2011

Based on a design by Nevil Shute Norway, who later became a novelist, writing such well-known books as "On The Beach", "No Highway in the Sky" and "A Town Called Alice".

David Thomas, 05.02.2011

I trained on Oxfords at Point Cook in 1944 and recall starting the engines involved pressing a "Boost" button...was never too sure what this actually did...any suggestions?

Martin Shelley, 05.02.2011

I am the Marque Specialist for OEC motorcycles in the Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMCC). During research for a book on these machines, I came across wartime work by their maker, the Osborne Engineering Company of Portsmouth and Gosport, who produced tubular steel struts to lock the undercarriage of Airspeed Oxfords which were apparently prone to U/C collapsed on careless landing. These struts were fitted as a remedy although the result was non-retracting U/C. Would be pleased to hear more from anyone with experience of this modification.

Ken Hindle, 19.12.2010

I am a co-ordinator in Werribee,Australia,currently
re-building a B24Liberator. Our new venture which is in its infancy, is to buicd an Airspeed Oxford. All information,detail pictures ecetera we are always looking for. Kindly keepus in mind. Regards Ken Hindle

Rob tribelhorn, 19.09.2010

I am in the process of restoring GAITF the aircraft swapped for a SAAF Ventura in 1984 at the SAAF Museum Port Elizabeth South Africa. It is painted in the trainer yellow that was used here at 42 Air Training school during WW2. Lots of work to still be done as I started work on her in 2004.

Rob Tribelhorn, 25.07.2010

I have restored the oxford at the SAAF Museum in Port Elizabeth to the stage where it is in the colours of the trainers at WW2 42 Air School P.E. South Africa (Mid chrome yellow )The internals still require a lot of work. Both Cheetah X motors fitted.Both motors have been overhauled Port motor has run Starboard motor yet to run.

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