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G-ALZP Airspeed A.S.57 Ambassador 2 c/n 5213 - Decca Navigator - Groningen Airport Eelde in Holland - 23 May 1968 vliegveld Groningen-Eelde (GRQ)

In 1943, the British government formed a committee under the chairmanship of Lord Brabazon of Tara to identify post-war civil aviation requirements. The Ambassador was one of the results of the Brabazon Committee's Type IIA requirement for a twin-engined, unpressurised design in the 14.5 tonnes gross weight class, short to medium-range airliner for European routes. By the time the British Ministry of Aircraft production ordered two prototypes from Airspeed Ltd., immediately after the end of the World War II, the design had grown substantially. The Ambassador would be pressurised and have a maximum gross weight of almost 24 tonnes, offering seating for 47 passengers. The prototype (G-AGUA) powered by two 2.600 hp Centaurus 631 radials was first flown on 10 July 1947. The second prototype (G-AKRD) flew on 26 August 1948; two static-test airframes were built, followed by one pre-production Ambassador (G-ALFR) which was used to obtain the C.of A. and for route proving by BEA - British European Airways. Airspeed AS57 Ambassador G-ALFR had the definitive Centaurus 661 powerplant, and was flown first in May 1950. British European Airways ordered 20 Ambassador 2s. On 13 March 1952, the first service London-Paris was inaugurated. BEA called its Ambassadors fleet "Elizabethans", in honour of perhaps the most famous period in British history, the Elizabethan era. A popular name for the Ambassadors derieved from Elizathans became "Lizzies". Only 23 Airspeed Ambassadors were produced.

Airspeed AS57 Ambassador 2 s/n 5213 was built in 1950. The aircraft was delivered in 1951 to B.E.A. - British European Airways as G-ALZP. In March 1960, the airliner was sold to the Royal Jordanian Air Force as 109 and in September 1960 transfered to Morocco where was used as the CN-MAK for the King of Morocco. In 1964, the CN-MAK was sold to Decca Navigator Co. Ltd. and used as a test-bed for their navigation equipment. In May 1968, during the Dutch Aero Fair Eelde, stayed the Ambassador for some days at the Groningen Airport Eelde in the Netherlands. In 1971, the Ambassador G-AZLP was sold in New Zealand and registered ZK-DFC. The ZK-DFC was withdrawn from use and finally brooken up in the UK in 1973.

page last updated: 06-08-2003
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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