Airspeed AS 6 Envoy 
The military version of the Airspeed Envoy


On 26 June, 1934, the prototype AS6 (first prototype G-ACMT) made its maiden flight, and its second flight was on 1 July, 1934.  It was a twin-engined monoplane transport, with two Armstrong-Siddeley Cheetah engines giving it a useful cruising speed of 170 mph. It was a development of the AS 5 Courier.

The Envoy saw service in Great Britain, Spain, Japan, China, Finland and South Africa.
The RAF used a small number of the military configuration of the Airspeed Envoy.  The Envoys supplied to South Africa were of a convertible type, in which four men were reputed to be able to transform in four hours an Envoy from a six-passenger liner format to a light bomber or reconnaissance machine, complete with gun-turret and bomb-racks.  The war-time crew would consist of pilot, navigator, wireless operator and rear gunner. In Japan, Mitsubishi built 10 licensed AS 6s between 1936 and 1937.

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Airspeed Envoy P5529 in 1942/1943

The Envoy had tragic memories for Australians, for it was whilst flying an Envoy that Charles Ulm (an honorary RAAF Flight Lieutenant) disappeared between Oakland and Honolulu during his 1934 Pacific flight attempt.

A special version of this aircraft type had the honour of  being selected for His Majesty's private plane in 1937, since Envoys had a noteworthy stability, and their flapped wings enabled them to land at about 60 mph, thus not requiring a large aerodrome. Royal flying was formalised on 21 July 1936 with the creation of  The King's Flight at Hendon. Airspeed Envoy III, G-AEXX, joined the Kings Flight in May 1937 as the first aircraft purchased specifically for the Flight. The Second World War saw the King's Flight temporarily disbanded.

The Airspeed Envoy' s military variant was the Airspeed Oxford. Designed for all aspects of aircrew training, the prototype Oxford first flew in 1937. On the outbreak of World War II, Oxfords were selected as trainers for the Empire Air Training Scheme (EATS), and a total of 8,751 Oxfords served in Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Rhodesia, and the Middle East.

Only one Envoy entered service with the Fleet Air Arm, being transferred from the RAF during 1941 to 781 Communications squadron at Lee on Solent for communications duties.

Fleet Air Arm history

     Airspeed Envoy
     Total FAA 1939-1945:        1
     First delivered to RN:         1941
     First squadron 1939-1945:   781 sqdn 1941
     Operational squadron:          None
     Last served with RN           781 squadron 1941

G-ACMT was the first prototype AS Envoy
Aircraft Type:
Airspeed Envoy
AS.6 Envoy
Primary Role:
First Flight: 
June 1934
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Airspeed, Portsmouth
Two 349 hp Armstrong Siddley Cheetah IX engines
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan: 53 ft 4 ins (15.9 m) 
Length: 34 ft 6 ins (10.5 m) 
Height: 11 ft 1 in (2.8 m) 
Wing area: 31.5 sq. m 
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty: 5,380 lb (1920 kg)
Loaded takeoff weight: 7,600 lb (2960 kg)



Crusing speed 170 mph (338km/h) 
Ceiling: 6800m 
Range: 1045km
None in FAA configuration
Load: 7 seats
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History

None with the Fleet Air Arm

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AS Envoy in Spanish employ during the Civil war

Surviving aircraft and relics
The fate of the single FAA Envoy is not known. The type is believed extinct.

Associations and reunions
None known
Airspeed Envoy III of the King's Flight, Buckingham Palace Website History of the Royal flying and then creation of The King's Flight at Hendon. 
Biography of Nevil Shute, owner and founder of Airspeed Aviation biography of Nevil Shute who started an aircraft manufacturing company, Airspeed Limited. This site details his life. 
Airspeed AS.6 Envoy In the Spanish Civil War Details of AS Envoy in Spanish employ during the Civil war [in Spanish] 
Airspeed AS.6E Envoy in FINNISH AIR FORCE AIRCRAFT IN THE WORLD WAR TWO Technical information about the Envoy in the FAF.
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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