Airspeed Oxford Gunnery / Bomber / Navigation / Radio Crew Trainer
The Airspeed Oxford was a priceless trainer in use by British and Commonwealth forces throughout the Second World War.
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The Airspeed Oxford was a critical component of the British and Commonwealth forces aerial training program during World War 2. The type appeared in two notable forms as the "Oxford I" and the "Oxford II" with a few subvariants emerging between. The Oxford I series was charged with the training of bomber and gunnery personnel while the Oxford II was used to train navigators and radio personnel on the finer points of their respective crafts. As such, the Oxford series as a whole became a rather indispensable addition to the British Empire - serving to train numerous aircrews for their very specialized functions. First flight of the prototype occurred on June 19th, 1937.
Design-wise, the Airspeed Oxford was of a conventional design and overall arrangement. The engines were mounted along the leading edges of their respective low monoplane wings which straddled the cockpit. The cockpit was, itself, heavily glazed to provide for maximum views at nearly all angles in flight (including a perfect view of each engine). A single vertical tail fin was affixed to the tail unit as were a pair of horizontal tailplanes. There were enough crew accommodations for up to three personnel. The undercarriage was of a tail-dragger configuration, made up of a pair of single-wheeled main landing gear legs and a small tail wheel at the rear. Only the main legs were retractable and these only partially so under each engine nacelle.
Armament was optional and utilized in the training of bomber and gunnery personnel. A 7.7mm Vickers K machine gun could be mounted to a dorsal position while 16 x 11.5lb practice bombs could be stowed in the internal bomb bay.
The Airspeed Oxford went on to see extensive service in the inventories of many countries before her tenure had ended. Some 8,586 examples were produced in all.