Imperial Airways’ Boxy Airliner – Armstrong Whitworth Argosy | Aircraft History #100

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The Argosy was the first of three airliner designs that company built for Imperial Airways during the interwar period. 

One of the Best Success Stories 

Despite its boxy look, this jet was one of the best success stories to come up of the earlier years of commercial aviation after WWI. It proved to be reliable. 

Named After Cities

Following review, the design was approved by Imperial Airways who order two aircraft in 1925, and a third was ordered and financed with the support of the British Air Ministry. 

These three aircraft were named after three cities- City of Glasgow, City of Birmingham, and City of Wellington. 

Roomiest Cabins

Because the aircraft has one of the roomiest cabins, a more luxurious service was introduced. Known as the Silver Wings service, this luxury lunch flight from London to Paris boasted a cabin steward and a buffet. 

Impressive Flight Hours

The Argosy tallied 4,862 flight hours by mid-December of 1928, an equivalent of some 437,000 miles of air travel. During the 1920s, this was a significant achievement. 

End of Service

While not build in large quantities, the Argosy had been a massive hit for Imperial Airways, as it was their very first airliner. However, the airline’s experience with this plane and other three engine designed had proven that these number of engine didn’t offer total immunity from forced landing due to engine failures. 

Imperial Airways eventually sought out newer, four engine designs and Armstrong Whitworth would later on develop the Atlanta.The last to see active use was the City of Manchester which was sold to United Airways in 1935 who used it for joyrides until the end of the following year.