The Ensign (AW 27)

  

 

 

 

This 4 engine passenger transport aircraft was the largest pre-war machine built for Imperial Airways, having a span of 123 ft. 

 

It flew for the first time at Hamble on 24th January 1938, piloted by C. Turner-Hughes and E. Greenwood.  

 

A total of 14 aircraft were completed, although delivery was delayed due to wartime expediency.

 

A feature of the high wing configuration was the very large retractable undercarriage which had tyres of 6 ft. 3 ins. diameter and 27 ins. wide.

 

The fuselage was of monocoque construction and had a very large door for loading freight, whilst the wing was built on a box spar of corrugated light alloy sheet. 

 

40 passengers could be carried in the main hold.

 

 

 

 

Although intended for carrying passengers and mail on the Empire routes, this use of the Ensigns was marred by the war which broke out when 11 aircraft had been delivered.

 

After seeing varied service, most of the fleet were employed in a ferrying role in the Near East and later still on the Cairo to Calcutta route.

 

Two aircraft were captured by the Germans and five destroyed through enemy action, leaving seven aeroplanes to be disposed of at the end of the war.  Most of these had logged between 3000 & 4000 hrs.  It was finally decided that refurbishing would be too costly, so they were broken up.

 

It may be of interest to know that the price of the prototype was £70,000 (Design £27,000 & make £43,200) and for production £37,000 each.

 

 

Power Plant: 

 

Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IX air cooled radial engines of 850 h.p.

 

These were replaced by 4 Wright Cyclone radial air cooled engines of 950 h.p.

 

 Dimensions:

 

Span:               123 ft.  

Length:             114 ft.

Height:              23 ft.

Wing Area:        2,450 sq. ft.

 

Weight:

 

36,585 lb. Empty

12,000 lb. Payload & Crew

55,500 lb. A.U.W.

 

All with Tiger engines.

 

Performance:

 

Max. Speed at 7,000ft.                   210 mph

Rate of Climb at Sea Level            900 ft. / min.                      

Service Ceiling                                24,000 ft.

Normal Range in Still Air                1,370 miles.

 

Accommodation:

 

Crew of 5.

40 seated passengers, or

20 passengers by night with sleeping accommodation.

Promenade Deck in the Empire Class layout.

 

Registrations:

 

G-ADSR, G-ADSW, G-ADTA, G-ADSS, G-ADSX, G-ADTB, G-ADST, G-ADSY,

G-ADTC, G-ADSU, G-ADSZ, G-AFZU, G-ADSV & G-AFZV.

   

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