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The Avro Type 706 Ashton was a high altitude research aircraft, designed to provide a means of developing the internal pressurisation systems needed for post war jet powered airliners.


In November 1947 the Avro company followed conversion of Tudor Mk 4 G-AGST, a.k.a TT181, to Tudor Mk 8 configuration[N 1] by submitting a tender to the Ministry of Supply for a new contract, which would cover the construction of a specialist research aircraft. Known as the Avro Type 705 Tudor Mk 9, this would, like the Tudor Mk 8, be powered by four Nene turbojets.[2]

In fiction[]

An Avro Ashton, in its six-engined, Olympus testbed form appeared as the fictitious Phoenix airliner in Cone of Silence (1960), based on the novel of the same name[3] by David Beaty, a former BOAC pilot. This concerned the takeoff problems of the Phoenix, and the subsequent accident investigation; it was based on two takeoff accidents to the de Havilland Comet.[4]



  1. Originally the second prototype Avro Tudor Mk 1, TT181 was fitted with four Nene 5 jet engines in place of the original Merlins. The conversion to jet power resulted in the aircraft being re-serialled as VX195[2]


  1. Air Team Images
  2. 2.0 2.1 Aeroplane - Database: October 2013 - Avro Ashton
  3. Cone of Silence by David Beaty. Morrow. 1959
  4. Conspiracy of Silence. Flight International Issue 2668 (volume 77). 29 April 1960. Page 610