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Armstrong Whitworth Ensign

United Kingdom (1936)
Picture of Armstrong Whitworth Ensign Mail Service / Passenger Transport Aircraft

The impressive Armstrong Whitworth Ensign saw only limited production numbers but managed to serve both sides of World War 2.


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.






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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (205mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Armstrong Whitworth AW.27 Ensign Mk I's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
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
14
14


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1936
Type: Mail Service / Passenger Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Armstrong Whitworth - UK
Production: 14
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
France (Vichy French); Nazi Germany; United Kingdom
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Armstrong Whitworth AW.27 Ensign Mk I model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
5


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
114.17 ft


Meters
34.8 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
123.03 ft


Meters
37.5 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
23.03 ft


Meters
7.02 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
35,053 lb


Kilograms
15,900 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
55,556 lb


Kilograms
25,200 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Wright GR-1820-G102A geared radial piston engines developing 1,100 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
205 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
330 kph


Knots
178 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,367 mi


Kilometers
2,200 km


Nautical Miles
1,188 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
23,950 ft


Meters
7,300 m


Miles
4.54 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
900 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
274 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• AW.27 Mk I - Fitted with 4 x Armstrong Siddeley Tiger IXC radial piston engines.
• AW.27 Mk II - Fitted with 4 x Wright GR-1820-G102A Cyclone radial piston engines.