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Capital Airways Armstrong Whitworth AW.650 Argosy


Model ID#:












L. Hawkins

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1962

SKU: Model-0414 Categories: ,

Additional Information:

The Armstrong Whitworth Argosy was a British post-war transport/cargo aircraft that was the final aircraft to be designed and produced by aviation company Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Although given different internal design numbers, the AW.650 civil and AW.660 military models were basically the same design and both models shared the “Argosy” name.

Development of the Argosy originated with the AW.66, a proposed twin-engine military transport. While Armstrong Whitworth terminated work on the AW.66, the company decided to move forward with a civilian-oriented derivative of the design, designated the AW.65. The AW.65 was redesigned to use four Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines, and thus was re-designated as the AW.650. On 8 January 1959, the first Argosy conducted the its maiden flight and in December of 1960, the aircraft received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification which enabled the civil version, referred to as the Series 100, to enter civil service across most parts of the world.

The Armstrong Whitworth Argosy was a general-purpose transport aircraft largely used for freight operations by both military and civil operators. Principally designed as a freighter, the aircraft could also be used for other tasks. In the cargo role, the Argosy was designed for rapid turnaround times of only 20 minutes by using pallets and rollers and without the use of lifting trucks or cranes. A total of 17 Argosy’s were built for civil operators Riddle Airlines and British European Airways.

The Argosy Series 100 first entered service with the American cargo airline Riddle Airlines. Early on, Riddle had expressed interest in the aircraft to use in obtaining contracts to provide logistics support to the United States Air Force (USAF) within the domestic United States. During late 1960, Riddle purchased a batch of seven Argosies for this purpose. However, when Riddle lost the logistics contract in 1962 the Argosies were repossessed by Armstrong Whitworth and subsequently sold onto other airlines, some of which had taken over the contracts previously being served by Riddle.

Capitol Air was an American charter air carrier and after 1978, a scheduled passenger air carrier operational from 1946 until its bankruptcy filing on November 23, 1984. It was founded as Capitol Airways in 1946, and then renamed Capitol International Airways in 1967. In 1981, the airline changed its name to Capitol Air and was operating scheduled domestic and international passenger flights that year.

Capitol Airways began to transport priority freight for the U.S. Air Force in 1954. By 1956, Capitol was a primary civilian carrier for the military’s Logistic Air Support (LOGAIR) program.

Capitol Air declared bankruptcy in the mid-1980s after George Batchelor, then Capitol’s owner, had largely dismantled the airline in favor of his newly acquired venture, Arrow Air, another formerly all-charter air carrier that eventually initiated scheduled passenger airline operations.

Capitol Airways, a US Air Force LOGAIR contractor, used the Armstrong Whitworth AW.650 Argosy aircraft to transfer munitions from California to Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Several of the aircraft landed and refueled at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque New Mexico in 1962.

Below are several photos of a Zantop AW.650 Argosy that also provided services to the USAF as a LOGAIR contractor.