Avro 504
Role Trainer, Fighter, Bomber
Manufacturer Avro
First flight 18 September 1913[1]
Introduction 1913
Retired 1934
Primary users Royal Flying Corps
Royal Naval Air Service
Produced 1913–1932
Number built 11,303 including Japanese, Soviet and other foreign production[2]

The Avro 504 was a First World War 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 any military capacity during the First World War. More than 10,000 were built from 1913 until production ended in 1932.[3]

Design and development

First flown from Brooklands by Fred "Freddie" Raynham on 18 September 1913,[4] powered by an 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome Lambda seven-cylinder rotary engine, the Avro 504 was a development of the earlier Avro 500, designed for training and private flying. It was a two-bay all-wooden biplane with a square-section fuselage.

The Shuttleworth Avro 504K
The Shuttleworth Avro 504K

Manufacturers

The following companies are recorded as manufacturing the Avro 504 under licence.[5][6]

Operational history

Small numbers of early aircraft were purchased by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) prior to the start of the First World War, 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 of 5 Sqn RFC)[7][8] 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 the destruction of the hydrogen generating plant.[9]

Soon obsolete as a frontline aircraft, it came into its own as a trainer, with thousands being built during the war, with the major production types being the 504J and the mass production 504K, 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.[10]

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 (82 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 the First World War.[11]

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. Used for training, pleasure flying, banner towing and even barnstorming exhibitions (as was ongoing in North America following World War I with the similar-role, surplus Curtiss JN-4s and Standard J-1s); civil 504s continued flying in large numbers until well into the 1930s.

The embryonic air service of the Soviet Union, formed just after the First World War, used both original Avro 504s and their own Avrushka (" Little Avro") copy of it for primary training as the U-1 in the early 1920s, usually powered by Russian-made copies of the Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine. This Russian version of the 504 was replaced by what would become the most produced biplane in all of aviation history, the Polikarpov Po-2, first known as the U-2; the type remained in Soviet service till the late 1920s, and much later elsewhere.

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

The improved, redesigned and radial-engined 504N with a new undercarriage was produced by Avro in 1925. After evaluation of two prototypes, one powered by the Bristol Lucifer and the other by the Armstrong-Siddeley Lynx, 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 armed forces of Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Greece, Siam and South Africa, with licensed production taking place in Denmark, Belgium, Canada, Siam and Japan.

The RAF's 504Ns were finally replaced in 1933 by the Avro Tutor, 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 British aeroplane to strafe troops on the ground[12] as well as the first British aircraft to make a bombing raid over Germany.[1] It was also the first Allied aeroplane to be downed by enemy anti-aircraft fire and was the first aircraft flown by many future aces, including Billy Bishop.

The 504 is easily recognisable because of the single skid between the wheels, referred to as the "tooth pick" in the RAF.

Variants

Qantas Avro 504K replica with Sunbeam engine displayed at Qantas Domestic Terminal
Qantas Avro 504K replica with Sunbeam engine displayed at Qantas Domestic Terminal
Original model
Modified with smaller ailerons and broader struts. 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome engine.
Version for RNAS with larger fin. 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome or Le Rhône engine.
Single-seat anti-zeppelin aircraft for the RNAS. The 504C was fitted with an extra fuel tank, in place of the observer.
Single-seat anti-zeppelin aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps. Six built.
Used for catapult trials. 80 hp (60 kW) Gnome engine.
Used as a trainer. 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome or 80 hp (60 kW) Le Rhône engine.
This Avro 504K was the first aeroplane in Iceland, taken there in 1919
This Avro 504K was the first aeroplane in Iceland, taken there in 1919
Two-seat training aircraft. The 504K had a universal mount to take different engines. Single-seat fighter (Comic) conversion used for anti-zeppelin work. Several were assembled in Australia by Australian Aircraft & Engineering.[13] 130 hp (97 kW) Clerget 9B, 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome Monosoupape or 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône 9J engines.
Hybrid trainer based on 504K fuselage with 504N undercarriage and wings and powered by rotary engine. Built under licence in Mexico as Avro Anahuac.[14]
Floatplane version. 150 hp (110 kW) Bentley BR1, 130 hp (97 kW) Clerget or 110 hp (82 kW) Le Rhône engines.
Three-seat cabin biplane. Only one was ever built. 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome engine.
Two-seat training aircraft. Redesigned postwar trainer for RAF with 160 hp (120 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engine. 598 built.
Floatplane version of 504N. First aircraft to fly above the Arctic Circle in 1923 Oxford Expedition.
Unbuilt version of the 504N with side-by-side seating.[15]
Three-seat cabin biplane. The 504Q was built for the Oxford University Arctic Expedition. Only one was ever built, powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engine.
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. Twelve were exported to Estonia, remaining in service until 1940, and an unknown number to Peru.[16]
Two-seat training aircraft. Built under licence in Japan by Nakajima.
Japanese version of the Avro 504N, given the long designation Yokosuka Navy Type 3 Primary Trainer, powered by a 130 hp (97 kW) Mitsubishi-built Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose radial piston engine, 104 built.
Improved version of the K2Y1, powered by a 160 hp (120 kW) Gasuden Jimpu 2 radial piston engine. 360 built (K2Y1 and K2Y2).[17] Watanabe built aircraft were given the long designation Watanabe Navy Type 3-2 Land-based Primary Trainer.
Russian copy of the 504K. Over 700 built.[18]
Russian seaplane version.

Operators

 Argentina
 Australia
 Belgium
 Bolivia
 Brazil
 Canada
 Chile
 China
Flag of the Republic of China-Nanjing (Peace, Anti-Communism, National Construction).svg China-Nanjing
 Denmark
 Estonia
 Finland
 Greece
 Guatemala
India British India
 Iran
 Ireland
 Japan
 Latvia
 Federated Malay States
 Mexico
 Mongolia
 Netherlands
 New Zealand
 Norway
 Peru
 Poland
 Portugal
 Russian Empire
 South Africa
 Soviet Union
Spain Kingdom of Spain
 Sweden
  Switzerland
 Siam (Thailand)
 Turkey
 United Kingdom
 United States
 Uruguay

Surviving aircraft and replicas

Australia
Replica Avro 504K on display at Sydney Airport.
Replica Avro 504K on display at Sydney Airport.
Replica Avro 504K on display at RAAF Museum.
Replica Avro 504K on display at RAAF Museum.
Canada
Finland
New Zealand
Norway
Russia
United Kingdom
United States

Specifications (Avro 504K)

Avro 504K 3-view drawing
Avro 504K 3-view drawing

Data from The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft,[58] Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War I[59]

General characteristics

Performance

87 mph (76 kn; 140 km/h) at 8,000 ft (2,438 m)
85 mph (74 kn; 137 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,048 m)
71 mph (62 kn; 114 km/h) at 75% power at 10,000 ft (3,048 m)
  • 2 hours at sea level at maximum speed
  • 2 hours 8 minutes at 8,000 ft (2,438 m) at maximum speed
  • 3 hours at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) at maximum speed
  • 3 hours 42 minutes at 8,000 ft (2,438 m) at cruise speed
  • 4 hours 15 minutes at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) at cruise speed
  • 3,500 ft (1,067 m) in 5 minutes
  • 8,000 ft (2,438 m) in 10 minutes
  • 10,000 ft (3,048 m) in 16 minutes

Armament
1 fixed .303 Lewis atop upper wing (single-seat night fighter variants)

Notable appearances in media

Main article: Aircraft in fiction § Avro 504

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

Footnotes

  1. ^ The 504 is listed in several sources as having been used by the Argentine Air Force. This is because its predecessor, the Army Aviation Service, was established in 1912 and dissolved in 1945 when the Air Force was created.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Holmes, 2005. p 23.
  2. ^ http://britishaviation-ptp.com/avro504.html accessdate: 23 January 2019
  3. ^ http://britishaviation-ptp.com/avro504_foreignderiv.html accessdate: 23 January 2019
  4. ^ Jackson 1990, p.52.
  5. ^ Flight 1954 p87
  6. ^ Gregorie, Martin C. "The Avro 504K". Martin Gregorie's Home Page. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Casualty Details:Vincent Waterfall". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
  8. ^ Jackson 1990, p.56.
  9. ^ Mason 1994, p.21.
  10. ^ Bruce 16 July 1954, p.87.
  11. ^ Mason 1992, p.127.
  12. ^ Bruce 9 July 1954, p.43.
  13. ^ a b Wilson, Stewart (1994). Military Aircraft of Australia. Weston Creek, Australia: Aerospace Publications. p. 216. ISBN 1875671080.
  14. ^ Jackson 1990, p.105.
  15. ^ Jackson 1990, p.127.
  16. ^ Jackson 1990, p. 129-133.
  17. ^ Mikesh and Abe 1990, p. 276.
  18. ^ Jackson 1990, p. 104.
  19. ^ "DANISH AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURE" (PDF). ole-nikolajsen.com. Copenhagen. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  20. ^ Magnusson 2007, p. 155
  21. ^ Ay, Carlos (15 August 2013). "Catálogo Ilustrado de Aeronaves de la Fuerza Aérea Argentina". Gaceta Aeronautica (in Spanish).
  22. ^ Jackson 1990, p.88.
  23. ^ Jackson 1990, p.123.
  24. ^ Jackson 1990, p.124.
  25. ^ Morgała, Andrzej (1997). Samoloty wojskowe w Polsce 1918-1924 [Military aircraft in Poland 1918-1924] (in Polish). Warsaw: Lampart. p. 118. ISBN 83-86776-34-X.
  26. ^ Garlicki, Jarosław (2001). Historia lotnictwa wojskowego Królestwa Tajlandii w latach 1912 - 1945. Część 2. "Militaria i Fakty". 1-2/2001, p. 34-35 (in Polish)
  27. ^ World Air Forces – Historical Listings Thailand (THL), archived from the original on 25 January 2012, retrieved 30 August 2012
  28. ^ "Avro 504K two-seat biplane elementary trainer : A3-4". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  29. ^ "Qantas Founders Museum Aircraft Collection". Qantas Founders Museum. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  30. ^ "Avro 504K E3747". RAAF Museum. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  31. ^ "AVRO 504K (G-CYFG)". Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  32. ^ a b c Hine, Colin (August 2013). "Canada Aviation and Space Museum Aircraft: Avro 504K RCAF Registrations: G-CYFG & G-CYCK" (PDF). Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  33. ^ "AVRO 504K (G-CYCK)". Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  34. ^ "KUVIA BREGUET-PROJEKTISTA". Suomen Ilmavoimamuseo (in Finnish). Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  35. ^ "Avro 504K". Ilmailumuseot.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  36. ^ "Aircraft ZK-ACU Data". Airport-Data.com. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  37. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Avro 504K, c/r ZK-ACU". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  38. ^ Prince, Ivan; Cowan, Brendan (6 December 2013). "RNZAF Avro 504K 201 to 206 & RAF Serials". NZDF Serials. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  39. ^ "Avro 504". Norsk Luftfartsmuseum. Archived from the original on 19 August 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  40. ^ "WWI - Aircraft". Military Aviation Museum. Military Aviation Museum. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  41. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N504K]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  42. ^ "AVRO 504K". Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  43. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Avro 504K, s/n BK892 RAF, c/n R3/LE/61400, c/r G-ADEV". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  44. ^ "GINFO Search Results [G-ADEV]". Civil Aviation Authority. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  45. ^ "Avro 504K biplane D7560 with 130hp Clerget engine, c 1917". Science Museum. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  46. ^ "Avro 504K Plane". Science Museum. Retrieved 23 May 2017.[permanent dead link]
  47. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Avro504, s/n H2311 RAF, c/n H2311, c/r G-ABAA". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  48. ^ "Avro 504K". Royal Air Force Museum. Trustees of the Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  49. ^ Simpson, Andrew (2014). "INDIVIDUAL HISTORY [E449]" (PDF). Royal Air Force Museum. Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  50. ^ "Avro 504K (replica)". Brooklands Museum. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  51. ^ "Our Exhibits". Solent Sky. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  52. ^ Von Reuter, Jennifer (22 September 2009). "Company Making Antique Airplanes". NBC29.com. Frankly Media. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  53. ^ Gaertner, John, "Building The Avro 504... A 25 Year Dream", WW1 Aero
  54. ^ McCullough, Patrick; Haggerty, Tim. "World War I (1914-1918)". Cole Palen's Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  55. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N4929]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  56. ^ Air Progress: 20. September 1971. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  57. ^ "Avro 504K". National Museum of the US Air Force. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  58. ^ Donald, David (1997). The encyclopedia of world aircraft (Updated ed.). Ottawa: Prospero Books. p. 77. ISBN 9781856053754.
  59. ^ John W.R. Taylor (1990). "forward". Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War I. By Whittaker, W. E. De. B. New York, N.Y.: Military Press. pp. 50–51. ISBN 978-0517033760.

Bibliography