STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Armstrong Whitworth - UK
OPERATORS: France (Vichy French); Nazi Germany; United Kingdom
LENGTH: 114.17 feet (34.8 meters)
WIDTH: 123.03 feet (37.5 meters)
HEIGHT: 23.03 feet (7.02 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 35,053 pounds (15,900 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 55,556 pounds (25,200 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Wright GR-1820-G102A geared radial piston engines developing 1,100 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 205 miles-per-hour (330 kilometers-per-hour; 178 knots)
RANGE: 1,367 miles (2,200 kilometers; 1,188 nautical miles)
CEILING: 23,950 feet (7,300 meters; 4.54 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 900 feet-per-minute (274 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Armstrong Whitworth Ensign Mail Service / Passenger Transport Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 1/12/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The impressive Armstrong Whitworth Ensign AW.27 series was made originally designed to a 1934 British government requirement for an air mail service transport to spearhead an improved method of correspondence to all points of the British Empire. The Armstrong Whitworth design was accepted and development proceeded, albeit at a interrupted pace thanks to the ever-changing requirements as put forth by Imperial Airways. Couple that with early engine reliability issues and the Ensign seems to have been doomed to failure. On the contrary, the system was recognized as a successful design and would see many years of usefulness in commercial and military ventures thanks to its stellar design.
Design of the Ensign was characterized by its smooth lines and high-wing mounting. The cockpit was situated at extreme forward offering up good views past the wings which were seated to the middle of the fuselage, far back from the cockpit. Oval-shaped windows dotted the fuselage sides while the fuselage bottom sagged from nose to tail tip. The main landing gear were housed in the wing roots and consisted of large donut type wheels consistent with large aircraft design of the times. Four engines were placed two to a wing in the leading wing edges and contoured nicely into the wing elements. The empennage was of a traditional layout complete with rounded fin edges. Crew accommodations amounted to five personnel that included the pilot, co-pilot, radio operator and - if needed - two cabin stewards for passenger flight. Depending on the required range, passenger seating numbers fell between 27 and 40 total personnel.
The AW.27 came in two dominant variants, categorized by the brand of engine fitted to each. The AW.27 Mk I was seen fitted with four Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IXC radial piston engines whilst the AW.27 Mk II model came with four Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G102A radial piston engines. Beyond that, both models were basically similar in design, layout and operation.
The AW.27 series served with the RAF in military service during the Second World War and also appeared in a single captured form with the Vichy French and later the Luftwaffe. With the RAF, the Ensign served with the No. 24 Squadron.
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Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (205mph).
Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Armstrong Whitworth AW.27 Ensign Mk I's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units