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Avro: Lancastrian

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August 1945.
March 1946. G-AGWH 'Stardust'.
March 1946.
Sept. 1946. Aries Lodge Plugs.
September 1946. Nene-Lancastrian VH742.
November 1946. Nene-Lancastrian VH742.
1946. Flight from London to Paris in November 1946. (Left-Right): John Heyworth, Capt Shepherd, Roy Chadwick (Avro designer) or William Thompson (Ministry of Supply), Frank Smith (Radio Operator) and Herbert Rogers.
1947. Nene-Lancastrian VH742.


  • Passenger and mail transport airliner.



Number produced[1]

  • 91 (including conversions)


  • See variants.

The Avro 691 Lancastrian was a Canadian and British passenger and mail transport aircraft of the 1940s and 1950s developed from the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber. The Lancaster was named after Lancaster, Lancashire; a Lancastrian is an inhabitant of Lancashire.

The Lancastrian was basically a modified Lancaster bomber without armour or armament and with the gun turrets replaced by streamlined metal fairings, including a new nose section. The initial batch was converted directly from Lancasters; later batches were new builds.

In 1945, deliveries commenced of 30 British-built Lancastrians for BOAC. On a demonstration flight on 23 April 1945, G-AGLF flew 13,500 mi (21,700 km) from England to Auckland, New Zealand in three days, 14 hours at an average speed of 220 mph (354 km/h).

The Lancastrian was fast, had a long range, and was capable of carrying a heavy load, but space inside was very limited as the Lancaster had been designed with space for its seven crew dispersed throughout the fuselage, and the 33 ft (10.05 m) long bomb bay. Consequently, it was not suited to carry large numbers of passengers, but was suitable for mail and a small number of VIP passengers. BOAC used it for flights between England and Australia from 31 May 1945. It also served with the RAF; RAF Lancaster I serial number PD328, was converted to a Lancastrian and renamed Aries, as well as serving with QANTAS and Flota Aérea Mercante Argentina.[2]

Nene-Lancastrian (VH742) - Flew the first international all-jet passenger flight from London to Le Bourget, Paris on 18th November 1946 en route for Villacoublay. The journey took 50 minutes.[3]

On 2 August 1947 Lancastrian G-AGWH Star Dust of British South American Airways was lost in the Argentine Andes, whilst en route from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile. The probable cause of the crash was a navigation error due to the then-unknown effect of the fast-moving jetstream.

See the article about the Stardust accident on Wikipedia here.


Name Serial Test engine
Nene-Lancastrian VH742 2x Rolls-Royce Nene + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin
Nene-Lancastrian VH737 2x Rolls-Royce Nene + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin
Avon-Lancastrian VM732 2x Rolls-Royce Avon + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin
Avon-Lancastrian VL970 2x Rolls-Royce Avon + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin
Ghost-Lancastrian VM703 2x De Havilland Ghost 50 + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin + 2x Walter HWK 109-500 RATOG packs
Ghost-Lancastrian VM729 2x De Havilland Ghost 50 + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin
Sapphire-Lancastrian VM733 2x Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin
Griffon-Lancastrian VM704 2x Rolls-Royce Griffon 57 inboard + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin T.24/4 outboard.
Griffon-Lancastrian VM728 2x Rolls-Royce Griffon 57 inboard + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin T.24/4 outboard
Merlin 600-Lancastrian VM704 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin 600 + 2x Rolls-Royce Merlin

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Illustrated London News 1946/11/23
  4. Wikipedia