The Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer was a British STOL transport aircraft built by Scottish Aviation Limited at Prestwick Airport, Scotland, during the 1950s. It was designed with both civil and military operators in mind. It was conceived as a twin-engined version of the Pioneer light transport.
Design and development
Powered by two Alvis Leonides 531 radial engines, it was a high-wing cabin monoplane with a triple fin and rudder assembly and fixed tailwheel undercarriage. The prototype Twin Pioneer, registered G-ANTP, first flew at Prestwick Airport on 25 June 1955. Flight trials proved that the aircraft had a very short landing run and the aircraft was displayed at the September 1955 Society of British Aircraft Constructors Show at Farnborough.
Three pre-production aircraft were built for trials, and sales and demonstrations.
In 1958, the 33rd aircraft was used as a prototype for the Series 2 with Pratt & Whitney Wasp R-1340 radial engines which had been ordered by Philippine Air Lines. A Series 3 aircraft was also developed to use the improved Alvis Leonides 531 radial engine.
The military version could carry external stores such as bombs under the stub wings. One aircraft became the first aircraft for the newly formed Royal Malaysian Air Force. FM1062 c/n580 and FM c/n581 were delivered to the Malaysian Air Force 16 January 1962 and FM1064 c/n 583 FM1065 c/n 584 were delivered two days later. The first two aircraft were taken "on charge" by No 1 Squadron Royal Malaysian Air Force. The type served with the air force for 12 years and were retired in 1969. FM1064 c/n 583 is now on display at the Muzium Pengangkutan Melaka (Melacca Transport Museum) Malacca.
The Royal Air Force ordered 39 aircraft, which were built between 1958 and 1959, deployed in Aden and the Far East. It was used extensively by British forces in the Malayan Emergency and the later confrontation in Borneo. In August 1959, No. 78 Squadron RAF at Khormaksar received some Twin Pioneers to supplement its single engine Pioneers. The Twin Pioneers were employed in moving troops and supplies around the wilderness and on occasions, lending support to the Sultan of Oman. A series of double engine failures caused problems with the squadron losing two aircraft on the same day. Unsuitable soft and hard landing strips were also causes of failures during landings.
Other squadrons that operated the Twin Pioneers were No. 152 Squadron RAF based at Muharraq in Bahrain: No. 21 Squadron RAF, which reformed with the type at Benson in May 1959. The squadron then moved to Kenya and in June 1965 to Aden. No. 152 operated around the Persian Gulf and in 1959, No. 209 Squadron RAF based at Seletar began to receive Twin Pioneers. These operated in Borneo and Malaya. The SRCU (Short Range Conversion Unit) at RAF Odiham also flew three Twin Pioneers for aircrew training. RAF No. 230 Squadron in the UK was the last military operator of the Twin Pioneer. The squadron operated the type in an interesting sand-colour camouflage scheme.
Although mainly used in military operations, the Twin Pioneer was also successful as a commercial transport for operation in areas without proper airfields, where unprepared surfaces were often the norm. Twin Pioneers were sold as survey aircraft to oil exploration companies with some of the first sales to Rio Tinto Finance and Exploration Limited, and the Austrian and Swiss government survey departments. Three were used by the 'Kroonduif' in Dutch New Guinea.
One Twin Pioneer served as a STOL training aircraft with the Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) at RAE Farnborough for many years. In 2009, Air Atlantique of Coventry currently operates it on public flights in civil markings, retaining its ETPS colour scheme.
Specifications (Twin Pioneer CC.Mk 1)
Published - July 2009
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