Following the closure of Vickers subsidiary Airship Guarantee
Company, Nevil Shute Norway and A. Hessell Tiltman, along with support from Alan Cobham and Lord Grimthorpe (b. 1891 - d. 1963), founded Airspeed
Limited at York in 1931. Tiltman became Chief Designer, while Norway served as Chief Engineer. They had already done
some preliminary design work for two/three seat private owner type, but this was too ambitious a project for the fledgling
company. Cobham told the board he had a need for a small passenger plane for use by his National Aviation Day venture, but
no order could currently be placed. This would eventually appear as the AS.4 Ferry, but meantime the company began
work on a much more modest design, the AS.1 Tern glider.
In March 1933 the firm moved to Portsmouth and during
this period produced the Courier (the first British type with a retractable undercarriage to go into production) and Envoy
low wing cantilever monoplanes. Lord Grimthorpes nephew, Lawrence Aldred Mervyn Dundas (later 3rd Marquess of Zetland, b.
November 12, 1908 - d.October 5,1989), became one of Aispeeds '£5 per week working shareholders' and set
up a company, R K Dundas Limited, together with Ronald Douglas King (Airspeed's sales manager), to act as
Airspeed sales agents in India and Burma, later taking over as UK sales agents from Aircraft Exchange & Mart. In the following
year, Airspeed became associated with the Tyneside ship builder Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited and became Airspeed
(1934) Limited in August 1934. This was followed by the production of their most prolific design, the A.S.10 Oxford,
a trainer derivative of the Envoy.
Norway left the firm in 1938, partially over a disagreement with Tiltman, and
partially because, with success and mass production, much of the excitement had gone out of the effort. In 1940, de Havilland bought the shares in Airspeed held by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Limited, but the company retained a separate
identity, reverting to the name of Airspeed Limited on 25 January 1944. During this time, they produced
the Horsa troop carrying glider which was to be Tiltmans last design for the company. Hessell Tiltman left
Airspeed in 1942, and in 1945 formed a research partnership with Marcus Langley which, in 1948, became Tiltman Langley Laboratories.
Postwar were to produce the elegant Ambassador airliner, its final original design (the last Airspeed
product, the Consul, being merely a civilainised Oxford). During this time, Airspeed also provided additional design and manufacturing
support to de Havilland, but in 1951 completely merged with them and the Airspeed name disappeared..
Airspeed Aircraft Since 1931, H.A. Taylor (Putnam, 1970)
Possibly the 'Sabre Fighter'
shown in Buttler 
Note: In the Production Summary, conversions are only listed
where they result in a change from one Type to another. Changes to sub-type or Mark Number are not shown in the summary. For
details of these, see the individual listings.