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The Hawker Siddeley HS 780 Andover is a twin-engined turboprop military transport aircraft produced by Hawker Siddeley for the Royal Air Force (RAF), developed from the Avro-designed HS 748 airliner. The Andover was named after the Avro Andover, a biplane transport used by the RAF for medical evacuation between the first and second world wars; and RAF Andover, where some of its trials were carried out. The Andover had a kneeling landing gear to make ramp loading easier.

HS 780 Andover
Macdrop Para Briefing.jpg
Andover C1
Role Transport aircraft
Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley
First flight 21 December 1963
Retired 2015
Status Retired
Primary users Royal Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
748 Air Services
Number built 37
Developed from Hawker Siddeley HS 748

Design and developmentEdit

At the start of the 1960s the Royal Air Force (RAF) issued a requirement for a medium tactical freighter and Avro started work on a military variant of the Rolls-Royce Dart-powered twin-engined Avro 748 airliner. Handley Page also proposed a variant of the Handley Page Herald and both types were tested by the Air Force in February 1962 at Martlesham Heath in Suffolk. A prototype Avro 748 Srs 2 was used for the trials.

The RAF decided to order a military variant of the 748, designated the Avro 780; and the original Avro 748 prototype was modified with an upswept rear fuselage and rear loading ramp as the Avro 748MF, to test the military version. It had more powerful Dart Mk 301s engines and a unique kneeling landing gear. In April 1963, the RAF ordered 31 aircraft as the Andover C.1 by the RAF. The 748MF first flew from Woodford Aerodrome on 21 December 1963. The aircraft had larger four-bladed propellers than the 748, which required a greater distance between the engines and the fuselage, although the wingtips were reduced by 18 inches to maintain the same wingspan as the 748. A dihedral tailplane was also fitted to keep it clear of the propeller slipstream.

The first production Andover C.1 flew from Woodford on 9 July 1965 and the first four aircraft were used for trials and tests with Hawker Siddeley and the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. Following a release to service in May 1966, the fifth production aircraft was delivered to No. 46 Squadron RAF at RAF Abingdon in June 1966. Subsequent RAF types are the Andover CC.2 VIP transport and Andover E.3 electronic calibration aircraft.

Operational historyEdit

 
Andover C.1 of 46 Squadron RAF in 1971
 
Andover CC.2 of 60 Squadron RAF in 1987

The Andover C.1 was flown for the first time on 9 July 1965 and the first four examples were flown to RAF Boscombe Down for acceptance trials that year. The full contract of 31 aircraft were delivered to squadrons in Transport Command. These were No. 46 Squadron RAF at RAF Abingdon and later RAF Thorney Island, No. 52 Squadron RAF at RAF Seletar (Far East) and No. 84 Squadron RAF at RAF Sharjah (Middle East).[1]

There was a follow-on order placed with Hawker Siddeley for six aircraft as the CC.2, a version of the standard HS 748, and these went initially to 21 Squadron at RAF Khormaksar. The squadron had these for six months before being disbanded; the aircraft went to 32 Squadron at RAF Northolt, the Metropolitan Communications Squadron. The aircraft were with 32 Squadron for over 18 years, including some time spent on detachment at RAF Bruggen (Germany).[1]

Three of the RAF Andovers continued to fly into the second decade of the 21st century, a C.1 with the Empire Test Pilots' School and one C.1 with the Heavy Aircraft Test Squadron of the Joint Test and Evaluation Group. The remaining aircraft was a modified C.1 converted for photo-reconnaissance, the Andover C.1(PR), serial number XS596; the UK-named aircraft under the Treaty on Open Skies; all three were based at RAF Boscombe Down.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force operated ten aircraft from 1976, acquired from the RAF while still relatively new. These saw service with UN missions to Somalia and on the Iran-Iraq border and in disaster-relief work in the Pacific. The type was retired from service in 1998. The main difficulty with the Andover's service in New Zealand was its limited range—1,000 nmi (1,900 km) of Pacific Ocean separates New Zealand from its nearest neighbours. New Zealand's Andovers were purchased to replace the Bristol Freighter which had even shorter range.

VariantsEdit

Avro 748MF
Prototype Avro 748 converted to military prototype which included an upswept rear fuselage and rear loading ramp and unique kneeling landing gear.
Andover C.1
First production series for RAF, 31 aircraft built.
Andover C.1(PR)
Two C1 aircraft was converted for Photographic Reconnaissance duties.
Andover CC.2
Not a variant of the cargo/transport Andover but a VIP transport version of the HS 748.
Andover E.3 / E.3A
Seven C.1 aircraft were converted for radio and airport nav aid calibration. Four aircraft were equipped with an inertial referenced flight inspection system (IRFIS) and were designated E3. The other three aircraft didn’t have this equipment installed, and were designated E3A.

OperatorsEdit

 
An RNZAF Andover in 1977

Military operatorsEdit

NATO
One Royal Air Force aircraft was loaned to NATO and based at Oslo, Norway for use by the Commander Air Force North.
New Zealand
United Kingdom

Civil operatorsEdit

Both former RAF and RNZAF[2] aircraft were later sold to civil operators, mainly in Africa. As of July 2010 a total of six ex-military Andovers remained in commercial service, operated by:[3]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Kenya

As of July 2013 only one Andover remained in commercial service, operated by Kenyan company Wilken Aviation.[4] The aircraft was damaged beyond repair in a non-fatal accident at Malakal Airport in South Sudan on 10 November 2015, leaving no aircraft of the type in commercial service.[5]

Aircraft on displayEdit

 
The Andover E.3A on display at Royal Air Force Museum Cosford in 2014

The following aircraft are on public display:

New ZealandEdit

United KingdomEdit

Specifications (Andover C.1)Edit

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67.[6]

General characteristics

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 320 mph (278 knots, 515 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,570 m)
  • Cruise speed: 270 mph (235 knots, 430 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 90 mph (78 knots, 145 km/h) (flaps and wheels down)
  • Range: 1,425 miles (1,239 nmi, 2,300 km) (fuel for 230 mi (370 km) diversion and 30 min stand-off)
  • Service ceiling: 24,000 ft (7,300 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s)

See alsoEdit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit