Airspeed AS.51, AS.52/53, AS.58 Horsa


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Airspeed AS.51, AS.52/53, AS.58 Horsa

High-wing military transport gliders with accommodation for 30 equipped troops or freight, including vehicles. The prototype first flew in September 1941 and production AS.51 Horsa Is entered service in the latter part of 1942. The AS.58 Horsa II differed mainly from the Mk I in having a hinged nose section to allow easy loading of freight or vehicles. It is believed that a total of 3,655 Horsas were built. The first operational mission with Horsas was the invasion of Sicily in 1943, but the greatest triumph was the D-day landings, when huge numbers of Horsa gliders were towed across the Channel by Whitley and C-47 aircraft. The US forces also received several hundred of these gliders.

AS.58 Horsa II

Airspeed AS.51, AS.52/53, AS.58 HorsaA three-view drawing (800 x 680)

vance, e-mail, 08.12.2013 20:26

Was there ever a powered version of the Horsa considered?


Harold Smith, e-mail, 21.02.2013 19:13

I was apprenticed at Airspeed in 1942 and one of my first tasks in the Design Department was to install a large compressed air cylinder fitted with a pressure regulator beneath the seats. This was hooked into the pneumatic system so that pilots in training could do "circuits and bumps".


Brian Howett, e-mail, 31.05.2011 18:19

For further information please contact
re. Horsa under construction at RAF Shawbury.


Barry, 21.02.2011 15:38

There were two marks of Horsa produced. The main difference between the two marks being that the MkI had towing brackets attached to the wings neccessitating a bifurcated towing rope, and the MkII had single socket beneath the front fuselage to which the tow rope was attached. Towed not only by the aircraft noted above but also the Albermarle and the Halfax, which could tow two aircraft at once. The Horsa was not only manufactured by Airspeed at Christchurch but also Harris Lebus, the furniture manufacturer, and the Austin Motor company. An order placed with Tata Industries of India was subsequently cancelled.


Ian, e-mail, 22.04.2009 12:49

Made from wooden sections bolted together. Assemblies were produced by furniture manufacturers.
Crew: 2
Capacity: 25 troops
Length: 67 ft 0 in (20.43 m)
Wingspan: 88 ft 0 in (26.83 m)
Height: 19 ft 6 in (5.95 m)
Wing area: 1,104 ft (102.6 m)
Empty weight: 8,370 lb (3,804 kg)
Loaded weight: 15,500 lb (7,045 kg)
Maximum speed: 150 mph on tow; 100 mph gliding (242 km /h / 160 km /hs made from wood


madis - siim kull, e-mail, 25.09.2008 16:19

this subekt is veri indresting bad what material was it bilt aut of and hao keibebal vasit altitud speed and distans


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