Avro 504: Wikis

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Avro 504
Role Trainer, Fighter, Bomber
Manufacturer Avro
First flight 18 September 1913[1]
Introduced 1913
Retired 1934
Primary users Royal Flying Corps
Royal Naval Air Service
Produced 1913 - 1932
Number built 8970[1]

The Avro 504 was a World War I biplane aircraft made by the Avro aircraft company and under licence by others. Production during the War totalled 8,970 and continued for almost 20 years,[1] making it the most-produced aircraft of any kind that served in World War I, in any military capacity, during that conflict. Over 10,000 would be built from 1913 to the time production ended in 1932.

Contents

Design and development

First flown on 18 September 1913,[2] powered by an 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome Monosoupape engine, the Avro 504 was a development of the earlier Avro 500, designed for training and private flying. It was a two-bay biplane of all-wooden construction, with a square-section fuselage.

The Shuttleworth Avro 504K

Operational history

Small numbers of early aircraft were purchased both by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) prior to the start of World War I, and were taken to France when the war started. One of the RFC aircraft was the first British aircraft to be shot down by the Germans, on 22 August 1914. The pilot was 2nd Lt. Vincent Waterfall and his navigator Lt Charles George Gordon Bayly (both 5 Sqn RFC)[3][4] The RNAS used four 504s to form a special flight in order to bomb the Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance. Three set out from Belfort in north-eastern France on 21 November 1914, carrying four 20 lb (9 kg) bombs each. While one aircraft was shot down, the raid was successful, with several direct hits on the airship sheds and destroying the hydrogen plant.[5]

Soon obsolete as a front-line aircraft, it came into its own as a trainer, with thousands being built in the war, with major production types being the 504J and the mass production 504K, which was designed with modified engine bearers to accommodate a range of engines, in order to cope with engine shortages. 8,340 Avro 504s had been produced by the end of 1918.[6]

Foster mounted Lewis gun on night fighter Avro 504K

In the winter of 1917-18, it was decided to use converted 504Js and 504Ks to equip Home Defence squadrons of the RFC, replacing ageing B.E.2cs, which had poor altitude performance. These aircraft were modified as single-seaters, armed with a Lewis gun above the wing on a Foster mounting, and powered by 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome or 110 hp (80 kW) Le Rhône engines. 274 converted Avro 504Js and Ks were issued to eight home defence squadrons in 1918, with 226 still being used as fighters at the end of World War I[7].

Following the end of the war, while the type continued in service as the standard trainer of the RAF, large numbers of surplus aircraft were available for sale, both for civil and military use. More than 300 504Ks were placed on the civil register in Britain. Being used for training, pleasure flying and banner towing, civil 504s continued flying in large numbers until well into the 1930s.

Although Avro 504s sold to China were training versions, they participated in battles among warlords by acting as bombers with pilot dropping hand grenades and modified mortar shells.

The improved, redesigned and radial engined 504N was produced by Avro in 1925. After evaluation of two prototypes powered by Bristol Lucifer and Armstrong-Siddeley Lynx engines respectively, the Lynx powered aircraft was selected by the RAF to replace the 504K. 592 were built between 1925 and 1932, equipping the RAF's five flying training schools, while also being used as communication aircraft. The 504N was also exported to the militaries of Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Greece, Thailand and South Africa, with licenced production taking place in Denmark, Belgium, Canada and Japan.

The 504N was finally replaced in 1933 by the Avro Tutor in RAF service, with small numbers continuing in civilian use until 1940, when seven were impressed into RAF service, where they were used for target- and glider-towing.

The 504 was the first airplane to strafe troops on the ground[8] as well as the first to make a bombing raid over Germany.[1] It was also the first Allied airplane to be downed by enemy anti-aircraft fire and was Billy Bishop's first army aircraft.

The 504 is easily recognisable because of the single skid between the wheels.

Variants

Qantas Avro 504K replica displayed at Qantas Domestic Terminal
  • 504: 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome engine.
Original model
  • 504A:
Modified with smaller ailerons and broader struts. 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome engine.
  • 504B
Version for RNAS with larger fin. 80 hp (60 kw) Gnome or Le Rhône engine.
  • 504C
Single-seat anti-zeppelin aircraft for the RNAS. The 504C was fitted with an extra fuel tank, in place of the observer.
  • 504D
Single-seat anti-zeppelin aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps. Six built.
  • 504E: 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome engine. Ten built.
  • 504F: 75 hp (60 kW) Rolls-Royce Hawk engine. One built.
  • 504G: 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome engine.
  • 504H
Used for catapult trials. 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome engine.
  • 504J
Used as a trainer. 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome or 80 hp (60 kW) Le Rhône engine.
This Avro 504K was the first airplane in Iceland, brought there in 1919.
  • 504K
Two-seat training aircraft. The 504K had a universal mount to take different engines. Single seat fighter conversion used for anti-zeppelin work. Several were assembled in Australia by Australian Aircraft & Engineering. 130 hp (100 kW) Clerget, 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome or 110 hp (80 kW) Le Rhône engines.
  • 504K Mk.II
Hybrid trainer based on 504K fuselage with 504N undercarriage and wings and powered by rotary engine. Built under license in Mexico as Avro Anahuac.[9]
  • 504L
Floatplane version. 150 hp (112 kW) Bentley BR1, 130 hp (100 kW) Clerget or 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône engines.
  • 504M
Three-seat cabin biplane. Only one was ever built. 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome engine.
  • 504N
Two-seat training aircraft. Redesigned postwar trainer for RAF with 160 hp (120 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engine. 598 built.
  • 504O
Floatplane version of 504N.
  • 504P
Unbuilt version of the 504N with side-by-side seating.[10]
  • 504Q
Three-seat cabin biplane. The 504Q was built for the Oxford University Arctic Expedition. Only one was ever built. Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engine.
  • 504R Gosport
Reworked trainer with revised, lightweight structure. Five prototypes flown 1926 to 1927 with various engines (100 hp/75 kW Gnome Monosoupape, 100 hp/75 kW) Avro Alpha, 140 hp/104 kW Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major and 150 hp/110 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose), with the Mongoose chosen for production aircraft. Ten were sold to Argentina, with 100 more built by FMA under licence in Argentina. At least six were exported to Estonia, remaining in service until 1940, and an unknown number to Peru.[11]
  • 504S
Two-seat training aircraft. Built under licence in Japan by Nakajima.
  • Yokosuka K1Y
Two-seat training aircraft for the Japanese Navy. Japanese version of the 504K. 104 were built in Japan.
  • Yokosuka K2Y1
Japanese version of the Avro 504N, powered by a 130 hp (100 kW) Mitsubishi-built Armstrong-Siddeley Mongoose radial piston engine.
  • Yokosuka K2Y2
Improved version of the K2Y1, powered by a 160 hp (120 kW) Gasuden Jimpu 2 radial piston engine. 360 built (K2Y1 and K2Y2).[12]
  • U-1 (Uchebnyi - 1) Avrushka
Russian copy of the 504K. Over 700 built.[13]
  • MU-1 (Morskoy Uchebnyi - 1)
Russian seaplane version.

Survivors and flyable reproductions

A small number of static display, and airworthy examples of the Avro 504 exist, almost a century after the first one flew, one of the airworthy examples being the Shuttleworth Collection's example[14] -another flyable example exists in a Canadian aviation museum. An Avro 504K can also be found on static display in the Making of the Modern World Gallery at the London Science Museum.[15]

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has had a flyable Avro 504 reproduction aircraft, powered by an original 110 hp Le Rhône rotary engine, flying since 1971, and a newly founded company (Blue Swallow Aircraft) in Virginia is starting to produce reproduction Avro 504 examples.

Operators

 Argentina
 Australia
 Belgium
  • Belgian Air Force purchased 50 British-built 504Ks from 1920-22, with a further 27 being built under license by SABCA[16] These were replaced by the 504N, 17 being built by Avro in 1929-31,[17] and 31 being built under license.[18]
 Brazil
 Canada
 Chile
 China
 Denmark
 Estonia
 Finland
 Greece
 Guatemala
India British India
 Ireland
 Japan
Malaysia Federated Malay States
 Mexico
 Mongolia
Netherlands (Netherlands East Indies)
 New Zealand
 Norway
 Peru
 Poland
  • 1 Avro 504K
 Portugal
 Russian Empire
 South Africa
 Soviet Union
Spain Kingdom of Spain
 Sweden
 Switzerland
 Siam (Thailand)
 United Kingdom
 United States
 Uruguay

Specifications (Avro 504K)

Data from The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft[19]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 29 ft 5 in (8.97 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft (10.97 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 5 in (3.17 m)
  • Wing area: 330 ft² (30.7 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,231 lb (558 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,829 lb (830 kg)
  • Powerplant:Le Rhône Rotary, 110 hp (82 kW)

Performance

Manufacturers

The following companies are recorded as manufacturing the Avro 504 under licence.[20]

See also

Related development

References

  1. ^ a b c d Holmes, 2005. p 23.
  2. ^ Jackson 1990, p.52.
  3. ^ "Casualty Details:Vincent Waterfall". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  4. ^ Jackson 1990, p.56.
  5. ^ Mason 1994, p.21.
  6. ^ Bruce 16 July 1954, p.87.
  7. ^ Mason 1992, p.127.
  8. ^ Bruce 9 July 1954, p.43.
  9. ^ Jackson 1990, p.105.
  10. ^ Jackson 1990, p.127.
  11. ^ Jackson 1990, p.129-133.
  12. ^ Mikesh and Abe 1990, p.276.
  13. ^ Jackson 1990, p.104.
  14. ^ Shuttleworth Collection - Aircraft
  15. ^ "Avro 504K biplane D7560 with 130hp Clerget engine, c 1917.". Science Museum. http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects/aeronautics/1920-52.aspx?keywords=avro. Retrieved 2008-07-06.  
  16. ^ Jackson 1990, p.88.
  17. ^ Jackson 1990, p.123.
  18. ^ Jackson 1990, p.124.
  19. ^ Donald 1997, p.77.
  20. ^ Manufactureres of the 504

External links

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