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Airspeed AS.45 Cambridge



Designed to Air Ministry Specification 134/39 for an advanced trainer, the Airspeed AS.45 design was a conventional low-wing monoplane having retractable tailwheel type landing gear, and powered by a 544kW Bristol Mercury VIII radial air-cooled engine. Following Air Ministry approval of the design, which was given the provisional name Cambridge, two prototypes were ordered, the first of these making a maiden flight on 19 February 1941.

The wings and tail unit were wood with plywood skins, except for control surfaces which were fabric-covered. The trailing edge of each wing was shared almost equally by ailerons and flaps. Four doors were provided, two on each side, so that exit in emergency could be made on either side. The main units of the Dowty landing gear retracted inwards, the wheels lying flush in the undersurface of the wing centre-section. Instructor and trainee were seated in tandem beneath a glazed canopy.

Flight testing of these two prototypes was to show that low-speed flight characteristics were poor, and speed was below estimates. Both of the aircraft were handed over to the RAF in July 1942, following a decision not to proceed with production.

Engine: 1 x Bristol Mercury VIII radial piston, 544-kW (730-hp)
Propeller: three-blade constant-speed
Maximum speed at 4875 m (16,000ft): 381 km/h (237 mph)
Service ceiling: 7560m (24,800ft)
Range: 1094 km (680 miles)
Wing span: 12.8m (42ft 0in)
Length: 11 m (36ft 1 in)
Height: 3.51 m (11ft 6in)
Wing area: 26.94sq.m (280sq,ft)
Armament: none
Seats: 2



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