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Aircraft pictures of Airspeed AS.51 Horsa

The Airspeed AS.51 Horsa was a British troop-carrying glider used during the Second World War. It was developed and manufactured by Airspeed Limited. The glider was named after Horsa, the legendary 5th-century conqueror of southern Britain. Thousands of examples of the highly versatile Horsa glider were built by the Allies. They were used in North Africa, Italy, Normandy, Holland and Germany.

During the D-Day operation "Overlord" in Normandy on 6 June 1944, 6th Airborne Division used more than three hundred Horsa gliders to transport the infantry and equipment. Towed from England by bombers, the aircraft were realised over the landing zones, hundreds landing within a few square kilometres. Each aircraft could carry 28 soldiers or a jeep and trailer or a Jeep and 6 pounder gun. Fully loaded a Horsa glider weighed almost 7 tons.

The pictures below show a full size copy of a Horsa glider in the park of the Pegasus Memorial Museum at Ranville, France. It was constructed for the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004.

Airspeed AS.51 Horsa general characteristics:

- Crew: 2
- Capacity: 25 troops (20–25 troops was the standard load)
- Length: 67 ft (20.43 m)
- Wingspan: 88 ft (26.83 m)
- Height: 19.6 ft (5.95 m)
- Wing area: 1,104 ft² (102.6 m²)
- Empty weight: 8,370 lb (3,804 kg)
- Loaded weight: 15,500 lb (7,045 kg)
- Maximum speed: 150 mph (242 km/h) on tow; 100 mph (160 km/h) gliding
- Wing loading: 14.0 lb/ft² (68.7 kg/m²)

Airspeed AS.51 Horsa
Pegasus Memorial Museum, Ranville, France
May 2018

Airspeed AS.51 Horsa glider (PF800) Airspeed AS.51 Horsa glider (PF800) Airspeed AS.51 Horsa glider (PF800)

Airspeed AS.51 Horsa glider (PF800) Airspeed AS.51 Horsa glider (PF800)

Airspeed AS.51 Horsa glider (PF800), Pegasus Memorial, Ranville, France
- full size copy of an original glider

Photos #19750 and #20200 Courtesy of © Peter Grueschow

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