Finishing up this month’s transport and heavies theme today’s post takes a look at one of the rarer airframes on display at Duxford and a key part of the Duxford Aviation Society airliner’s collection. The photographs within this post today as the York was open for access. I’ve been waiting for another chance to get onboard this machine for quite a while.
For those unaware, the Avro York is essentially a cargo development of the Avro Lancaster, sharing many components (notably the wing and undercarriage. Rather than the mid-wing set up of the famous bomber, the York features a high wing design, placing the spar up and out of the way of cargo or passenger areas.
Built in January 1946 with RAF Serial MW232 joining 242 squadron in August of the same year. During its time with the RAF it took part in many cargo and paratroop duties most notably as part of the famous Berlin Airlift in 1948/49. This airframe had the honour of carrying the 100,000th ton of cargo into Berlin as part of the impressive operation.
As part of the Berlin operations the York was damaged following a gear collapse and following repairs went into storage before disposal in 1951, after which it was used by Fairey for in-flight refuelling trials.
In 1954 the airframes real civilian life started, being purchased by Dan Air. The York eventually entered service with the airline in October 1956 with the civilian registration G-ANTK. Eight years of service followed with the airframes final flight taking place in 1964. What followed was two decades in storage at Lasham (even being used as a base for the local ATC Cadets) before the aircraft was transported from Duxford after being acquired by the Dan Air preservation group in 1986. The journey from Lasham to Duxford took seven low loaders, an impressive feat moving such an aircraft in this way.
The Duxford Aviation Society have since carried out an incredible thorough restoration, with the airframe being officially rolled out in June 2006, shortly before the York was repositioned into the then new Airspace hangar at Duxford, where it still sits today just a short distance from its bomber ancestor, the Lancaster.
The York tells an important story of those in-between years between the wartime combat and transport airframes and the newer purpose built airliners that would become more common-place in the 1950s and beyond. The idea of a merlin engine transport/airliner is certainly an impressive prospect and one can only imagine how impressive it would have been to be a passenger aboard this mighty design.
The Duxford York is a great testement to the Duxford Aviation Society and a great asset for the British Airliner Collection who work tirelessly to keep the York and the rest of the collection (many of which are outside all year round) in such impressive condition.