Armstrong Whitworth A.W.650 Argosy
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Armstrong Whitworth A.W.650 Argosy

Designed by Armstrong Whitworth later incorporated into Hawker Siddeley Group. The first prototype flew on January 8, 1959. More than 70 aircraft were built including 56 for British Air Forces.

Armstrong Whitworth A.W.650 ArgosyA three-view drawing (668 x 770)

 MODEL"Argosy" series 100
 ENGINE4 x Rolls-Royce Dart 526 turbo-prop, 1506kW
    Take-off weight39916 kg88000 lb
    Empty weight20865 kg46000 lb
    Wingspan35.05 m115 ft 0 in
    Length26.44 m87 ft 9 in
    Height8.23 m27 ft 0 in
    Wing area15.45 m2166.30 sq ft
    Cruise speed451 km/h280 mph
    Ceiling6100 m20000 ft
    Range3219 km2000 miles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60
Roy Lawton, 23.02.2010

Just wondered how long it takes before a comment appears on this site?? Roy Lawton

Roy Lawton, 18.02.2010

I was involved on the final assembly of the first Argosy to fly at Bitteswell in January, 1959. My first job involved a major modification, right up in the upper reaches of the undercarriage bays. Not an easy place to work for long periods. John Jeavons and I fitted strenghening stifferners using Schobert rivets. After that we fitted modifications in the wing fuel tanks. Yes those Shackelton wings really were that big! We had to lay on our backs for hours at a time, very, very hot. We also worked on the pressurisation of the fuselage, locked in a pressurised fuselage and sealing any leaks with compound and communicating with the crew outside. The first Argosy was fitted with all sorts of instrumentation to measure the effects of flight on the aircaft. Some of these were positioned in the most difficult places, including the cock loft at the rear of the cockpit.
I think John and I worked together on the first two aircraft from October 1958 until February 1959.
Nothing was straight forward and there were always queries with every job.These were resolved by 'Shop Query Forms' or 'Sqiffs' where the problems were detailed on a sheet with the eventual fix (sometimes). It was I suppose a bit chaotic at the time and the pressure was always on us to complete the work. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the challenges and witnessed the first flight of the Argosy on a very cold January morning in 1959.
Hope you find this interesting
I recounted these experiences and many others more than fifty years later in my life story, 'Memories of a Coventrian.

Paul Herbert, 02.02.2010

As a RAF engine fitter I was posted to Benson in Feb 1962 onto the Argosy,did the course etc, then went in April 62 out to Khormaksar with 105 Sqd, fortunate enough to be allocated XP439 as travelling groundcrew, went all over Africa, Persia, Iran, as far East as Pakistan on the route & trial proving flights, was a good way to spend the tour (came home in April 1964 just after XP413 "fell" into the water on approach into K/Sar, was waiting on the taxiway to get in it to go to Djibouti, didn't happen obviously but then spent my last month dismantling it at the Marine Craft section after it was hauled up the slipway). As there are some AW people on the site does anyone remember the nail from the old Coventry Catherdral that was "implanted" in the fuselage (port side at the C of G datum point) of XP409 ? I have hundreds of photos of my time with the Argosy, Aden & on tour but none of the nail , anybody out there help or even remember it ?. As an aside for Bernard Rumbold above the Argosy was never intended as a Beverley replacement but as a medium heavy freighter to supplement the Bev, & although it did have some trouble in service entry it did do the job it was intended for, we were height & payload limited initially but mid 1963 the aircraft was allowed to operate at 105,000lb MAUW from 85,000MAUW after Boscombe trials. would be pleased to share the experiences with other Argosy enthusiats, Rgds, Paul Herbert, Bicester, Oxon.

paul scott, 14.08.2009

Another classic, unusual aircraft - I saw one (a civil one0 at the Aeropark at East Midlands aero museum. Glad I did.

j mcnab, 16.07.2009

Hi does any one know where I could buy a model/kit of an Argosy please ex-AWA APPRENTICE [DRAUGHTSMAN ]1957 -1962 BAGINTON

G.W. Gijsbertsen, 12.05.2009

In September 1944 Ginkel Heath near Ede was known as DZ Y. It was used by the 4th Parachute Brigade on the 18th of September at the Battle of Arnhem.
After the war the airborne commemorations started. At first they were only held at Oosterbeek and Arnhem, later also on Ginkel Heath. In 1960 a memorial was unveiled by General Urquhart. It was also the start of the annual memorial parachute drop.
I am asked by the municipality of Ede to write a book on the airborne commemorations of the last 65 years. The book is especially meant for the youth, so they will know why these commemorations take place. There will most likely be an English edition as well.
One of the things I want to add in the book are the types of airplanes used in the annual drops. Nowadays its the C-130 Hercules, but at the sixties and early seventies these planes were the Hastings, the Beverly and the Argosy. I would like to use some pictures of the Argosy in the book, preferably pictures taken in Holland (Deelen airfield and/or the parachute drop at Ginkel Heath) or pictures of an Argosy during a parachute drop. And, if there are some, I would like to add in some personal/remarkable stories or events during the drops.
Can anyone help me on this?


Gerard Gijsbertsen

Bernard Rumbold, 28.03.2009

I was a young airman stationed at RAF Khormaksar in 1962 when 115 Sqn were posted in with their Argosies - they were a replacement for the venerable Beverlies. It appears that due to the extra weight involved by floor strengthening to carry AFVs, their range and performance were considerably compromised - in the event their service life was fairly short.

Bill Griffin, 25.09.2008

I was also an Armstrong Whitworth apprentice,completing my time in the flight shed ;where I remained until joining British European Airways in 1967.When Baginton had its Argosy open day,(which I think was in 1959) I flew with the aircraft from Bitteswell in to Baginton,landing on the grass. The flight engineer I think was Roy Spencer and the two pilots I seem to recall were Eric Franklin and Jo Lancaster Helped to look after machine on the Sunday, flying back to Bitteswell in it on the Monday.My boss in the flight shed at the time was Mr.Reg Hall;known throughout AWA as Nobby.My forman was Fred Richardson; better known as Panic.I at the time being on Jim Colliers gang;a jovial north country man.Whom I nicknamed the Boltonnut

D. GRIFFITHS, 02.07.2008

As an ex-AWA apprentice, I was at Bitteswell on the day of the AW650 prototype first flight in January 1959 - a cold day with snow covering the airfield.
The aircraft did indeed 'borrow' the Shackleton wing design. It was main spar failure that curtailed the fatigue life of the AW 650/660 aircraft. I was at the Whitley Mechanical Test Laboratory when this was determined on the whole aircraft fatigue testing rig.
Trust this is of interest.

Mick Ashcroft, 03.05.2007

As an ex-apprentice I remember well helping to build the military version known as the AW 660. This was done at the great factories at Whitley, Baginton with final assembly and flight test at Bitteswell. These three facilities are long gone (shame).
The 660 had the 'Shackleton Wing' and had 'clam-shell' doors at the rear of the fuselage to allow air-dropping of stores. Unlike the civil 650, the nose was fixed. The early versions of the civil AW 650 also had the 'safe life' Shackleton wing. However later versions known as AW 650 200 were manufactured with a 'fail safe' wing of much more modern structural philosophy. The series 200 can be recognised as it is fitted with large wing fences.
Hope you find this interesting.

Mrs Sybil Farmer, 07.02.2007

My husband now 80 years old remembers loading engines into the front of Argosy aircraft with a forlift when working in BA cargo.He would love a model of the Argosy AW650 or a model to make.If anyone knows how I could get one please e-mail me.Thank you.Sybil Farmer.

a . atherton, 26.12.2006

Dispite Rolls Royce's and B.E.A.s best efforts it was too underpowered and slow making it difficault to gain height and fly over the mountains in Italy where most of it's work was required at the time and B.E.A. had a surplus of Vanguards which they converted to Merchantmen freighters which led to it's demise as a British freighter

Admin, 21.11.2006

Thank you for your attention.
Yes, I know, this may be a problem for US or UK visitors.

I will try to add translation. I think it wouldn't be difficult as I use a database for generating all these specifications.

Howard Rose, 21.11.2006

I find the site an interesting reference but would thought a few details of it's design development including such information that it has a Shackelton based wing would be worthwhile.

However, I do find giving it's specification in metric as totaly inappropriate. It was designed, built and flown using imperial measurement and translating these figures into metric is mis-leading and unnecessary. I fly modern wide-body aircraft where we fly in knots, at flight levels in feet and work out fuel requirements based on nautical miles. I do not believe the designers used metric measurements anywhere - they are not used in the Flight Manual so I see no need to re-write history with changing the specifications of defunct British Aircraft.


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