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HS 780 Andover
Andover C1
Role Transport aircraft
Manufacturer Hawker Siddeley
First flight 9 July 1965
Primary users Royal Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force
748 Air Services
Number built 37
Developed from Hawker Siddeley HS 748

The Hawker Siddeley Andover (HS 780) is a twin engined turboprop military transport aircraft produced by Hawker Siddeley for the Royal Air Force developed from the Avro-designed HS 748 airliner. The Andover was named after the Avro Andover, a Royal Air Force (RAF) biplane transport used for medical evacuation between the wars, and RAF Andover, where trials of the aircraft were partially carried out. The Andover had a curious kneeling undercarriage to make ramp loading easier. Reputedly, the air-portable Land Rover was developed to allow carriage in Andover aircraft.

Design and development[]

At the start of the 1960s the Royal Air Force issued a requirement for a medium tactical freighter and Avro started work on a military variant of the Dart-powered twin-engined Avro 748 airliner. Handley Page also proposed a variant of the Handley Page Herald to meet the same requirement and both types were tested by the Air Force in February 1962 at Martlesham Heath in Suffolk. A prototype Avro 748 Srs 2 was used for the trials. The RAF decided to order a military variant of the 748, designated by Avro as the Avro 780 and the original Avro 748 prototype was modified with an upswept rear-fuselage and rear loading ramp as the Avro 748MF to test the military configuration. It had more powerful Dart Mk 301s engines and a unique kneeling landing-gear was fitted. In April 1963 the Royal Air Force ordered 31 aircraft and these were designated the Andover C.1 by the RAF. The 748MF first flew from Woodford Aerodrome on 21 December 1963. The aircraft had larger four-bladed propellers than the 748 which required a larger centre-section, although the wing tips were reduced by 18 in to maintain the same wingspan as the 748. A dihederal tailplane was also fitted to keep it clear of the propeller slipstream. The first production Andover C.1 flew from Woodford on 9 July 1965 and the first four aircraft were used for trails and test with both Hawker Siddeley and the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down. Following a release to service in May 1966 the fifth production aircraft was delivered to 46 Squadron at RAF Abingdon in June 1966. Subsequent RAF types are the Andover CC.2 VIP transport and Andover E.3 electronic calibration aircraft.

Operational history[]

Andover C.1 of 46 Squadron RAF in 1971

Andover CC.2 of 60 Squadron RAF in 1987

The Andover C.1 was flown for the first time on 9 July 1965. The first four examples were flown to RAF Boscombe Down for acceptance trials that year. The full contract of 31 aircraft were delivered and deployed to squadrons in Transport Command. These were No. 46 Squadron RAF at RAF Abingdon and later RAF Thorney Island, 52 Squadron at RAF Seletar (Far East) and 84 Squadron at RAF Sharjah (Middle East).[1]

There was a follow on order placed with Hawker Siddeley for six aircraft that were designated CC.2, being a version of the standard HS 748, and these went initially to 21 Squadron at RAF Khormaksar. The squadron had these for six months before being disbanded when the aircraft went to 32 Squadron at RAF Northolt, designated the Metropolitan Communications Squadron. The aircraft were with 32 Squadron for over 18 years including some time spent on detachment at RAF Bruggen (Germany).[1] Three of these RAF Andovers continue to fly, one C.1 with the Empire Test Pilots' School and one C.1 with the Heavy Aircraft Test Squadron of the Joint Test and Evaluation Group. The remaining aircraft is a modified C.1 converted for photo-reconnaissance, the Andover C.1(PR), serial number XS596. This is the UK-designated aircraft under the Treaty on Open Skies. All three are based at RAF Boscombe Down.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force operated 10 aircraft, acquired from the RAF while still relatively new, in 1976. These saw service with UN missions to Somalia and on the Iran-Iraq border, and in disaster relief work in the Pacific. The type was retired from service in 1998. The main difficulty with their service in New Zealand was their limited range – 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) of Pacific Ocean separate New Zealand from its nearest neighbours. New Zealand's Andovers were purchased to replace an even shorter-legged aircraft, the Bristol Freighter.


Avro 748MF
Prototype Avro 748 converted to military prototype which included an upswept rear fuselage and rear loading ramp and unique kneeling landing gear.
Andover C.1
First production series for RAF, 31 aircraft built.
Andover C.1(PR)
Two C1 aircraft was converted for Photographic Reconnaissance duties.
Andover CC.2
Not a variant of the cargo/transport Andover but a VIP transport version of the HS 748.
Andover E.3 / E.3A
Seven C.1 aircraft were converted for radio and airport nav aid calibration. Four aircraft were equipped with an inertial referenced flight inspection system (IRFIS) and were designated E3. The other three aircraft didn’t have this equipment installed, and were designated E3A.


Military operators[]

One Royal Air Force aircraft was loaned to NATO and based at Oslo, Norway for use by the Commander Air Force North.
 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
  • Hunting Aviation
    • Military Flight Checking Unit

Civil operators[]

Both former RAF and RNZAF[2] aircraft were later sold to civil operators, mainly in Africa. As of July 2010 a total of six ex-military Andovers remain in airline service. Current operators are:[3]

 Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Air Kasai (1)
  • Air Transport Office (1)
  • International Trans Air Business (2)
  • 748 Air Services (2)

Aircraft on display[]

As well as the small number of Andovers which are still flying, the following aircraft are on public display:

New Zealand[]

  • Andover CC.1 serial NZ7621 is a former Royal Air Force aircraft sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1977, on display at the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum in Christchurch.

United Kingdom[]

  • Andover E.3A serial XS639 a former navigation aid calibration Andover, exhibited in the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford.
  • The cockpit of Andover E.3A serial XS643 a former navigation aid calibration Andover, is currently under restoration for display with a private owner in Coventry.

Specifications (Andover C.1)[]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2–3
  • Capacity: 52 troops, 40 paratroops or 24 stretcher cases
  • Payload: 14,365 lb (6,546 kg)
  • Length: 78 ft 0 in (23.77 m)
  • Wingspan: 98 ft 3 in (29.95 m)
  • Height: 30 ft 1 in (9.15 m)
  • Wing area: 831.4 ft² (77.2 m²)
  • Aspect ratio: 11.55:1
  • Empty weight: 29,324 lb (13,301 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 51,000 lb (23,133 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Dart RDa.12 Mk 201 turboprop, 3,245 eshp (2,421 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 320 mph (278 knots, 515 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,570 m)
  • Cruise speed: 270 mph (235 knots, 430 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 90 mph (78 knots, 145 km/h) (flaps and wheels down)
  • Range: 1,425 miles (1,239 nmi, 2,300 km)(fuel for 230 mi (370 km) diversion and 30 min stand-off)
  • Service ceiling: 24,000 ft (7,300 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s)

See also[]


  • JEFFORD, RAF Squadrons 2nd edition, 2001
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1966–67. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1966.

External links[]

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