The A-17AS was a three-seat unarmed staff transport version of the A-17A. The S stood for "Staff" or for "Special". Two examples were ordered on March 20, 1936. Although they bore manufacturer's numbers 289 and 290 which followed those assigned to the first batch of A-17As, they were actually built and delivered before the A-17As.
The first A-17AS (36-349) was powered by a 600 hp direct-drive Pratt & Whitney R-1340-41 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial driving a three-bladed propeller. It was delivered on July 17, 1936. It served as Maj Gen Oscar Westover's personal aircraft. General Westover was the chief of the Army Air Corps, and he personally flew the airplane for more than two years for inspection trips and for attending Army maneuvers. On September 21, 1938, this aircraft crashed at Burbank, California, killing General Westover and his mechanic S/Sgt Sameul Hymes.
The second A-17AS (36-350) was
assigned as Brigadier General Henry H. Arnold's personal transport. Brig Gen Following the death of General Westover, General Arnold was
named as his successor as Air Corps chief, and he remained so
throughout the Second World War. The second A-17AS
was powered by a 600 hp geared R-1340-45 radial driving a two-bladed
propeller. 36-350 was lost in an accident on March 2, 1940, but Arnold was not on board that day.