ON THIS DAY: 24th June 1960

60 Years since the maiden flight of the Avro Type 748.

The second Avro 748, G-ARAY, performing rough landing trials on a ploughed field

Avro had designed the 748 in response to the government's cuts on the manufacturing of military aircraft in 1957, and moved into the civil market, in turn also offering a replacement for the soon to be phased out Douglas DC-3 airliner. The first Series One prototype (G-APZV) took flight on the 24th June 1960 from Woodford at the hands of Avro Test Pilot Tony Blackman. Further testing proved the wide range of capabilities of the airframe had and so a Series Two prototype (G-ARAY, known as ‘Gary’) was built. 

HS748 Production line at Chadderton, late 1970s

The first production run of eighteen Series 1A 748s were delivered to airlines from 1962, and a subsequent batch of the new improved Series 2 748s. In 1963, Avro was absorbed into Hawker Siddeley Aviation, and so the previously named Avro 748 became the Hawker Siddeley HS748. It was during this era that the Indian Aerospace company Hindustan Aero Limited (HAL) began to build the HS748 for the Indian Air Force and other local operators, giving those airframes the name HAL748.

G-BCDZ, the HS748 Coastguarder carrying the MAREC Radar system. The Coastguarder achieved no sales and eventually this airframe was reverted to a standard HS748

The 748 wasn’t just useful in its role as a medium regional airliner... It was developed into the Radar carrying, maritime reconnaissance aircraft name ‘Coastguarder’ however this saw limited success and achieved no sales, the airframe eventually was reverted to a standard 748. A Multi Role Cargo and Passenger Transport aircraft was also developed, designated ‘748MF’ (aka the HS780 and then later the Hawker Siddeley Andover) which operated with the RAF, NATO and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The RAF were the last to operate the Andover, the final airframe withdrawn from service in 2015.