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.
|A three-view drawing (800 x 738)|
| ENGINE||2 x Brist. "Centaurus 661", 1930kW|
| Take-off weight||24959 kg||55025 lb|
| Empty weight||18025 kg||39739 lb|
| Wingspan||35.1 m||115 ft 2 in|
| Length||25.0 m||82 ft 0 in|
| Height||5.6 m||18 ft 4 in|
| Wing area||111.5 m2||1200.17 sq ft|
| Cruise speed||463 km/h||288 mph|
| Ceiling||7600 m||24950 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||1930 km||1199 miles|
| Range w/max payload||934 km||580 miles|
|Ken Hawking, e-mail, 12.11.2020 05:33|
My first solo out of Dishforth airfield was interrupted by a Queen's Flight Elizabethan in 1964. I was told to clear the pattern on my first solo flight in a Chipmunk. Circling at altitude changed my perspective and I finished up doing a go-around, so my first flight was 2 circuits and some loitering at altitude!
|Tim Evans, e-mail, 27.02.2018 19:32|
Could someone verify my memory, please? My first ever flight (alone) at age 17 was from Ashford to Beauvais (coach /air) in 1970 or71. The aeroplane was an Elizabethan. That much I know. Can anyone (1) name the airline running this service and (2) confirm that "Elizabethan" is another name for the "Airspeed Ambassador"? Thanking you in advance.
|Raymond Hedley, e-mail, 09.01.2018 18:03|
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, e-mail, 10.10.2017 16:05|
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, e-mail, 06.07.2017 06:55|
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, e-mail, 09.10.2016 20:32|
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, e-mail, 20.06.2016 18:43|
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, e-mail, 22.07.2015 21:43|
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, e-mail, 08.01.2015 19:39|
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.
|Richard, e-mail, 17.12.2014 00:53|
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, e-mail, 10.11.2014 18:23|
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, e-mail, 16.10.2014 08:13|
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, e-mail, 24.03.2014 19:19|
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, e-mail, 07.02.2013 13:43|
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, e-mail, 26.01.2013 08:12|
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, e-mail, 17.08.2012 16:13|
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, e-mail, 20.09.2011 12:08|
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, e-mail, 23.05.2011 17:54|
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, e-mail, 28.04.2011 04:29|
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, e-mail, 05.10.2010 13:45|
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.
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