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Avro York

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The York would be one of the aircraft used by the Prime Minster Winston Churchill when travelling during the Second World War. As well as serving with Transport Command the type would also be used by British Overseas Airways Corporation. During its RAF career the Avro York would take part in the Berlin Airlift before its retirement in the late 1950s.

Quick Facts
Sorry, no image available
First flight
5th July 1942
Entered service
May 1943
Total built

Front view
York front view photo
Side view
Sorry, no view photo available
Rear view
York rear view photo

During February 1942 Roy Chadwick and his design team completed design work on a transport aircraft. This consisted of a new fuselage with the wings, tail, landing gear and engines of the Avro Lancaster. However, before the first prototype flight, four aircraft were ordered to be powered by two different engines. The Bristol Hercules VI was to power two with the Rolls-Royce Merlin XX powering the other two, in the end the Merlin XX would be fitted to all four aircraft.

Flying from Ringway the prototype made its maiden flight on the 5th July 1942 and once production started, originally at Ringway but during October 1945 Yeadon took over production of the type, from the third aircraft onwards a central third fin was added, this was due to the increased fuselage side area forward of the centre of gravity. Despite the Hercules engine not being used for two of the prototypes as originally planned a Mk II prototype appeared towards the end of 1943 using the Bristol Hercules XVI engine.

The Avro York entered service during May 1943 with No. 24 Squadron at RAF Northolt receiving the first example. These early Yorks would be used for VIP duties. Perhaps the most famous of these was the third York which was named Ascalon and used by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. A futher five were used by British Overseas Airways Corporation from April 1944 for use on a UK - Morocco - Egypt service. These were followed eighteen months later when during August 1945 twenty five were dispatched for operations with Transport Command.

The first squadron to be fully equipped with the Avro York was No. 511 Squadron during 1945 and by the time the Berlin Airlift (1948 – 1949) began on the 24th June 1948 a further six squadrons were equipped with the new aircraft. In all ten Royal Air Force squadrons would use the York.

The Avro York also saw service with a number of civilian firms including BOAC after it was phased out of service in favour of the Handley Page Hastings. In total 257 Yorks were built with the 29th April 1948 seeing the last one being delivered to RAF Honington.

Technical Details

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Top Speed Range Service Ceiling Armament
York I 298 mph 2,700 miles 23,000 ft none
York II Single prototype fitted with the Bristol Hercules XVI engine.


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York C1

See This Aircraft

(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.

York C1 Imperial War Museum, Duxford
York C1 Royal Air Force Museum, Midlands

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