Featured image: BAE Systems

6/24/1960: Hawker Siddeley HS 748' First Flight

DALLAS – Today, in 1960, the prototype Hawker Siddeley HS 748 (G-APZV) took to the skies for the first time from the manufacturer’s Woodford aircraft factory in 1960. Chief test Pilot J.G. Harrison was at the controls.

Nicknamed “Budgie” the HS 748 was a mainstay of the Dan Air fleet until its demise in 1992. Photo: Tim Rees (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

The Aircraft

The HS 748 was versatile, robust and reliable regional airliner, powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart engines. Designed and built as a replacement for the venerable Douglas DC-3, it could carry between 44 and 52 passengers in a pressurised and air-conditioned cabin.

The type entered service with launch customer Skyways Coach-Air on April 1, 1962.

G-ARMV was the first production aircraft built and entered service with Skyways Coach-Air in 1962. Photo: TSRL, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


A number of different variants were constructed. These included the Series 1, of which 24 were built before production switched to the 52-seat Series with more powerful Rolls-Royce Dart RDa7 Mk.531 engines. This was followed by the further upgraded Series 2A and 2B and the ‘Super 748’ which was a hush-kitted 2B airframe.

The HS 780 ‘Andover’ was a modified version of the 748, created for the Royal Air Force as a tactical transporter. The model featured an upswept rear fuselage and raised tail to accommodate a large rear loading ramp. Capable of carrying 48 troops or 40 paratroops, or 15 sitting and 18 stretcher cases for casualty evacuation.

Operated around the world, from war-torn countries, deserts and the Artic, the HS 748 found a niche within the market. Production continued until 1988 when 381 airframes had been built.

The featured image shows the second prototype Avro 748 G-ARAY in rough field trials in January 1962.

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