Armstrong Whitworth A.W.27 Ensign

1938

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Armstrong Whitworth A.W.27 Ensign

The Ensign class of airliner was designed to an Imperial Airways specification for a new aircraft capable of carrying a large number of passengers and mail over the land sections of the Empire routes to South Africa and Australia. In the event the aircraft was proposed in two forms: the 40-seat 'European' or 'Western' (with 12 passengers in the front cabin, 4 in the card room, 12 in the middle cabin and 12 in the rear cabin, plus 3 toilets) and the 27-seat 'Empire' or 'Eastern' (with 3 cabins and 2 toilets) which could also be configured as a 20-passenger sleeper. Both versions were externally similar, being shoulder-wing monoplanes with the four 596kW Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IX radial engines mounted in the leading edges of the wings. The fuselage was long and slim and a retractable undercarriage was fitted, each main leg carrying a single large Dunlop wheel.

The first A.W.27 flew on 23 January 1938 and from October it flew the London-Paris service. Production was slow, mainly because of the company's heavy commitment to the manufacture of bombers for the RAF, but nevertheless three others were completed in time for mail-carrying flights to Australia in late 1938. However, due to engine troubles, all broke down well short of their goal. The sixth production A.W.27 was fitted with 637kW Tiger IXC engines driving new de Havilland three-blade constant-speed propellers, and had a modified tail unit. This arrangement subsequently became standard on all the A.W.27s.

With the outbreak of World War II the A.W.27s were used to ferry RAF personnel initially to France and then between RAF stations within the UK. During this period several were destroyed or damaged by German fighters. In 1941 the surviving aircraft were re-engined with 671kW Wright R-1820-G Cyclone radials and were known as A.W.27A Ensign Mk IIs. With the end of the war the airliners were scrapped. Altogether 14 A.W.27s had been built.

Armstrong Whitworth A.W.27 Ensign

Specification 
 ENGINE4 x Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IXC, 634kW
 WEIGHTS
  Take-off weight22226 kg49000 lb
  Empty weight14392 kg31729 lb
 DIMENSIONS
  Wingspan37.49 m123 ft 0 in
  Length34.75 m114 ft 0 in
  Height7.01 m23 ft 0 in
  Wing area227.61 m22449.97 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
  Max. speed330 km/h205 mph
  Cruise speed274 km/h170 mph
  Ceiling5485 m18000 ft
  Range1384 km860 miles

3-View 
Armstrong Whitworth A.W.27 EnsignA three-view drawing (900 x 551)

Comments
Paul Scott, e-mail, 18.01.2015 14:06

Nice aircraft for the time.

reply

Don, e-mail, 26.03.2014 13:44

Seemed like a nice airplane, pity none survive. It appeared to fly with a nose-down attitude, like the Whitley

reply

David Miles, e-mail, 24.08.2013 01:48

As a boy of 10, I had the privilege of looking over an AW27 at Croydon in 1939 - its mainwheel was as tall as I was ! What a pity that the class was plagued with rotten engines and the war prevented its development into what might have been the white hope of British civil air transport.

reply

David Miles, e-mail, 24.08.2013 01:47

As a boy of 10, I had the privilege of looking over an AW27 at Croydon in 1939 - its mainwheel was as tall as I was ! What a pity that the class was plagued with rotten engines and the war prevented its development into what might have been the white hope of British civil air transport.

reply

Carlos A, e-mail, 11.03.2012 22:55

English a very safe aircraft for its time and that opened great routes.

reply

Carlos A, e-mail, 11.03.2012 22:48

Very good and true its contained historical opened to extend just a little with more photosery

reply

loupan, 21.06.2011 05:11

With the end of the war the airliners were scrapped. Altogether 14 A.W.27s had been built.

reply

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