Airspeed AS.51 Horsa

About 1948 the Belgian Army had plans to equip their Paracommando units with Airspeed Horsa gliders. In January 1949 6 aircraft were bought from Airspeed, but after delivery of the first glider the Belgian government refused to issue a permission to fly over the country with heavy gliders, although it was proven that the glider could be towed by the Douglas C47 Dakota, which was in use with the Belgian Air Force.
Finally it was transported by ship and road from RAF Brize Norton (United Kingdom) to the para training center at Schaffen. During the transport the aircraft was severely damaged, this shattered the hopes of having flying one day, but it was used for ground training.
After a few years this ground training was no longer of use and the glider was repainted and placed as a monument in front of the Officers' Mess at Schaffen.
In 1960 it was damaged when an Airspeed Oxford collided with the glider while taxiing and the remains were scrapped.

----- RAF-Serial: RX783
000149: ordered by the Belgian Army for use by the Pararegiment (in total 6 were ordered)
170551: delivered at RAF Brize Norton

000000: transferred to parachute training center at Diest-Schaffen
000000: used as a monument at Schaffen
000060: hit by an Airspeed Oxford during taxiing and subsequently scrapped

Airspeed AS.51 Horsa - Belgian Military Aircraft Database
Collection Serge Verbeeck


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