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IAF Aircraft Inventory: Airspeed A.S. 65 Consul

The Airspeed Consul begun its life as the Airspeed Oxford, A twin engined monoplane wooden trainer which first flew on 19 June 1934. The Oxford saw extensive service as a pilot and aircrew trainer in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during World War II, when it was also used for medical use, radar calibration, communications as well as other roles. 161 aircraft were refurbished after the war for civilian use, these being renamed the Consul.

October 1949 saw the formation of 141 Squadron, the IAF's multi-engined-flying school, in Ekron (Tel-Nof) AFB. 141 Squadron trained aircrew in flying, navigation, radio operation, instrument flying and aerial gunnery and operated both the Avro Anson and a number of Consuls acquired from their British operator in 1949. The Consuls were primary tasked with training pilots for the transport and de Havilland Mosquito fighter bomber fleets. In 1950 the IAF flight school moved to Sirkin AFB and Consul operations continued from there. As Consuls were also fitted with 6 passenger seats, the aircraft were occasionaly used as VIP transports as well. The most notable occasion was in June 1949 when a Consul carried David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, and his entourage on tour of southern Israel.

The aircraft initial poor mechanical state, coupled with the poor quality of IAF maintenance and the aircraft's tough handling characteristics, caused a quick depletion in IAF Consul numbers. 14 aircraft were still operational in December 1952, but only 3 had remained servicable by April 1957. The type was retired in sometime during the same year.

Specification: Airspeed A.S. 65 Consul
Type: two crew, low-wing, pilot and aircrew monoplane trainer.
Powerplant: two Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah X.
Performance: cruising speed - 262km/h, max speed - 306km/h, rate of climb - 305m/min, service ceiling - 7,163m, range - 1,448km.
Weights: empty - 2,720kg, max takeoff - 3,740kg.
Dimensions: span - 16.3m, length - 10.8m, height - 3.1m.
Armament: none.

Sources: IAF Inventory