Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer

The Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer was a British STOL transport aircraft built by Scottish Aviation Limited at Prestwick Airport, Scotland, during the 1950s. It was designed for both civil and military operators. It was conceived as a twin-engined version of the Pioneer light transport. Both aircraft required "an area only 30m (99ft) by 275m (902ft) in which to operate." [1]

Twin Pioneer
Twin Pioneer prototype bearing Scottish Airlines markings at the 1955 Farnborough SBAC Show
Role Transport
Manufacturer Scottish Aviation
First flight 25 June 1955
Introduction 1956
Retired 1968
Primary users Royal Air Force
Number built 87
Developed from Scottish Aviation Pioneer

Design and development

Powered by two Alvis Leonides 531 radial engines, the Twin Pioneer was a high-wing cabin monoplane with a triple fin and rudder assembly and fixed tailwheel undercarriage.[2] The prototype Twin Pioneer, registered G-ANTP, first flew at Prestwick Airport on 25 June 1955. Flight trials proved that the aircraft had a very short landing run and the aircraft was displayed at the September 1955 Society of British Aircraft Constructors Show at Farnborough.[3][4]

Three pre-production aircraft were built for trials, and sales and demonstrations.

In 1958, the 33rd aircraft was used as a prototype for the Series 2 with Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340 radial engines which had been ordered by Philippine Air Lines. A Series 3 aircraft was also developed to use the improved Alvis Leonides 531 radial engine.

Operational history

The military version could carry external stores such as bombs under the stub wings. One aircraft became the first aircraft for the newly formed Royal Malaysian Air Force when it was delivered on 16 January 1962; the type served with the air force for 12 years.

The Royal Air Force ordered 39 aircraft, which were built between 1958 and 1959, deployed in Aden and the Far East. It was used extensively by British forces in the Malayan Emergency and the later confrontation in Borneo. In August 1959, No. 78 Squadron RAF at Khormaksar received some Twin Pioneers to supplement its single engine Pioneers. The Twin Pioneers were employed in moving troops and supplies around the wilderness and on occasions lending support to the Sultan of Oman. A series of double engine failures caused problems with the squadron losing two aircraft on the same day. Unsuitable soft and hard landing strips were also causes of failures during landings.

Other squadrons that operated the Twin Pioneers were No. 152 Squadron RAF based at Muharraq in Bahrain: No. 21 Squadron RAF, which reformed with the type at Benson in May 1959. The squadron then moved to Kenya and in June 1965 to Aden. No. 152 operated around the Persian Gulf and in 1959, No. 209 Squadron RAF based at Seletar began to receive Twin Pioneers. These operated in Borneo and Malaya. The SRCU (Short Range Conversion Unit) at RAF Odiham also flew three Twin Pioneers for aircrew training. RAF No. 230 Squadron in the UK was the last military operator of the Twin Pioneer. The squadron operated the type in an interesting sand-colour camouflage scheme.

Although mainly used in military operations, the Twin Pioneer was also successful as a commercial transport for operation in areas without proper airfields, where unprepared surfaces were often the norm. Twin Pioneers were sold as survey aircraft to oil exploration companies with some of the first sales to Rio Tinto Finance and Exploration Limited, and the Austrian and Swiss government survey departments. Three were used by the 'Kroonduif' in Dutch New Guinea.

One Twin Pioneer served as a STOL training aircraft with the Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) at RAE Farnborough for many years.


  • Twin Pioneer : Prototype aircraft with Alvis Leonides 503 radial engines, one built.
  • Twin Pioneer Series 1 : Production aircraft with Alvis Leonides 514 radial engines.
    • Twin Pioneer CC.Mk 1 : Military version of the Series 1 for the Royal Air Force, 32 built.
  • Twin Pioneer Series 2 : Production aircraft with Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engines.
  • Twin Pioneer Series 3 : Production aircraft with Alvis Leonides 531 radial engines.
    • Twin Pioneer CC.Mk 2 : Military version of the Series 3 for the Royal Air Force, 7 built.


Civil operators

 Netherlands New Guinea
Crown Colony of North Borneo
 Sierra Leone
 United Kingdom
 United States

Military operators

 United Kingdom

Aircraft on display


  • Twin Pioneer Mk 3 VH-SYS at Wedderburn Airstrip, Sydney
On display
  • Twin Pioneer Mk 1 VH-AIS at Bradfield. Queensland.

Twin Pioneer Mk3 VH-EVC at Bankstown Aviation Museum, Sydney


On display
  • Twin Pioneer Mk 3 FM1001 at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Museum
  • Twin Pioneer Mk 3 FM1064 at the Melaka Transport Museum

United Kingdom

On display
  • Twin Pioneer CC.1 XL993 at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, Shropshire, England.[5]
  • Twin Pioneer Mk 2 G-BBVF at the National Museum of Flight Scotland, East Fortune, Scotland.[6]
  • Twin Pioneer Mk 2 G-APRS at the Classic Air Force, Coventry, England.[7] Reported as having been converted to a 'glamping' home in 2018.
Stored or under restoration
  • Twin Pioneer Mk 3 G-AZHJ at the Classic Air Force, Coventry, England.[8] The Classic Air Force shut down in October 2015 and after several years doing the display circuit this aircraft had apparently been grounded and was in need of replacement main spars at that time. Current fate unknown.

Incidents and accidents

  • A recorded loss of a Twin Pioneer occurred on takeoff from Limbang Airport on 17 May 1967. The aircraft, operated by Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, carried the registration 9M-ANC. The cause was given as unknown.[9]
  • In Royal Air Force service three aircraft had fatal accidents:
    • 2 March 1961 – XL966 of 21 Squadron flew into rising ground at Mount Meru, Tanganyika, Tanzania, one killed.
    • 14 February 1963 – XN318 of 209 Squadron flew into a wooded cliff in Borneo, all five onboard killed.
    • 18 April 1963 – XL994 of 152 Squadron dived into the ground near Bu Hafafa in Oman, all eight onboard killed.
  • Two aircraft had accident in Garuda Indonesian Airways :

Specifications (Twin Pioneer CC.Mk 2)

Data from Green.[12]

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two (pilot and co-pilot)
  • Capacity: Up to 13 troops or 2,000 lb (907 kg) of cargo
  • Length: 45 ft 3 in (13.79 m)
  • Wingspan: 76 ft 6 in (23.32 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 3 in (3.73 m)
  • Wing area: 670 ft2 (62 m2)
  • Empty weight: 10,062 lb (4,564 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 14,600 lb (6,622 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 14,600 lb (6,622 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Alvis Leonides 531 radial engine, 640 hp (564 kW) each


See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists



  1. Royal Air Force Museum – Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer Archived 20 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 11 May 2010
  2. Taylor 1961, p. 181.
  3. Hemming Air Enthusiast August to October 1993, p. 26.
  4. "Development of Twin Pioneer". The Glasgow Herald. 22 October 1956. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  5. Ellis 2016, p. 195
  6. Ellis 2016, p. 310
  7. Ellis 2016, p. 274
  8. Ellis 2016, p. 275
  9. ASN Aircraft accident Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer 1 9M-ANC Limbang Airport (LMN) Retrieved: 16 September 2010
  10. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. Green 1964, p. 269.


  • Ellis, Ken, Wrecks and Relics 25th Edition. Manchester, England. Crecy Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978 191080 9037
  • Green, William. Macdonald Aircraft Handbook. London. Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1964.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
  • Hemming, Nick. "'Primrose' & Friends: The Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer". Air Enthusiast, Fifty-one, August to October 1983. pp. 21–31.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1961–62. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd, 1961.
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918–57, 1st edition. London: Putnam, 1957.
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