Armstrong Whitworth Argosy

The Armstrong Whitworth Argosy was a British three-engine biplane airliner built by Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, and operated by Imperial Airways from 1926 to 1935.

For the 1950s transport, see Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy

An Argosy Mk I of Imperial Airways in 1926. This particular aircraft (G-EBLF) bore the name City of Glasgow.
Role Airliner
Manufacturer Armstrong Whitworth
First flight March 1926
Primary user Imperial Airways
Number built 7


The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.154 Argosy stemmed from a declaration by Imperial Airways that all its aircraft would be multi-engine designs, on the grounds of safety.[1] They were intended to replace the older single-engine de Havilland aircraft that Imperial Airways had inherited from its constituent companies, mainly Daimler Airway. The first example (G-EBLF) flew in March 1926,[2] following an initial order for three Argosies from Imperial Airways. An improved Mk. II version was introduced in 1929.

Operational history

The Argosy was initially used on European routes (later operating on services to South Africa), with the fleet named after cities. The first passenger flight was from London to Paris on 16 July 1926. Argosies implemented the world's first named air service, the luxury 'Silver Wing' service from London to Paris,[3] using Argosy City of Birmingham (G-EBLO). Two seats were removed and replaced with a bar, and a steward was in attendance. In April 1931 Edward, Prince of Wales and his brother Prince George flew home from Paris–Le Bourget Airport in City of Glasgow (G-EBLF), which landed specially in Windsor Great Park.[4][5]

Three Argosies were lost during service with Imperial Airways, one being written off in a forced landing near Aswan, and one during a training accident, both in 1931, with no injuries in either accident. On 28 March 1933, however, the City of Liverpool caught fire over Belgium, causing a crash in which all three crew and twelve passengers were killed.[2]

Argosies continued in service with Imperial Airways until 1935, with the last example, City of Manchester (G-AACJ), being used for joy-riding by United Airways Ltd of Stanley Park Aerodrome (Blackpool), which later was merged into British Airways Ltd. It continued in use with British Airways until December 1936.


  • Argosy Mk I :Three-engined airliner. Powered by three 385 hp (287 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IIIA radial piston engines. Later fitted with Jaguar IVA engines. Three constructed.
  • Argosy Mk II :Three-engined airliner. Powered by three 420 hp (313 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IVA radial piston engines. Four constructed.


 United Kingdom

Imperial Airways Argosy fleet 1926–1935

Type Registration Name
Mk. I G-EBLF City of Glasgow
Mk. I G-EBLO City of Birmingham
Mk. I G-EBOZ City of Wellington
Mk. II G-AACH City of Edinburgh
Mk. II G-AACI City of Liverpool
Mk. II G-AACJ City of Manchester
Mk. II G-AAEJ City of Coventry

Specifications (Argosy II)

Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919.[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2[1]
  • Capacity: 20 passengers[1]
  • Length: 64 ft 6 in (19.66 m)
  • Wingspan: 90 ft 0 in (27.43 m)
  • Height: 19 ft 0 in (5.79 m)
  • Wing area: 1,890 sq ft (176 m2)
  • Empty weight: 12,090 lb (5,484 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 19,200 lb (8,709 kg)
  • Powerplant: 3 × Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IVA 14-cylinder radial engines, 420 hp (310 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 110 mph (180 km/h, 96 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 90 mph (140 km/h, 78 kn)
  • Range: 405 mi (652 km, 352 nmi)
  • Time to altitude: 4.5 min to 3,000 ft (910 m)[7]

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. Jackson 1973, p. 49
  2. Donald 1997, p. 63
  3. Taylor 1980
  4. "Arrival at Windsor by Air". The Straits Times. 30 April 1931. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  5. "Princes Home". The Advertiser and Register. 1 May 1931. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  6. Jackson 1973, p. 51
  7. Tapper 1988, p. 254
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