Avro Anson

Avro Anson

Infobox Aircraft
name=Avro Anson

type=Multirole aircraft, primarily a trainer
first flight= 24 March avyear|1935
retired=28 June avyear|1968
primary user=Royal Air Force
more users=Fleet Air Arm
number built=11,020
unit cost=
variants with their own articles=
The Avro Anson was a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm and numerous other air forces during the Second World War and afterwards. Named for British admiral George Anson, it was originally designed for maritime reconnaissance but was soon rendered obsolete. However it was rescued from obscurity by its suitability as a multi-engine air crew trainer, becoming the mainstay of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. By the end of its production life in 1952, the Anson spanned nine variants and a total of 8,138 had been built in Britain by Avro and, from 1941, a further 2,882 by the Canadian Federal Aircraft Ltd.

Design and development

The Anson was derived from the commercial six-seat Avro 652 and the militarised version, which first flew on 24 March 1935, was built to Air Ministry Specification 18/35. It was the first RAF monoplane with a retractable undercarriage. The first production run resulted in 174 Anson Mk I aircraft for service with Coastal Command. No. 48 Squadron RAF was the first to be equipped in March 1936.

A distinctive feature of the Anson was its landing gear retraction mechanism which required no less than 140 turns of the hand crank by the pilot. To forgo this laborious process, Ansons often flew with the landing gear extended at the expense of 30 mph (50 km/h) of cruise speed Gunston, Bill. "Classic World War II Aircraft Cutaways". London: Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-526-8.] .

A total of 11,020 Ansons were built by the end of production in 1952, making it the second-most-numerous (after the Vickers Wellington) British multi-engine aircraft of the war.

Operational history

At the start of the Second World War, there were 26 RAF squadrons operating the Anson I; ten with Coastal Command and 16 with Bomber Command. However, by this time, the Anson was obsolete in the roles of bombing and coastal patrol and in the process of being superseded by the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley and Lockheed Hudson.

Limited numbers of Ansons continued to serve in operational roles such as coastal patrols and air/sea rescue. Early in the war an Anson scored a probable hit on a German U-boat. In June 1940, a flight of three Ansons was attacked by nine Luftwaffe Messerschmitt Bf 109s. Remarkably, the Ansons downed two German aircraft "and damaging a third before the 'dogfight' ended" [ Murphy, Kevin. "Avro 652 Anson". [http://www.warbirdalley.com/anson.htm] Access date: 13 February, 2007.] , without losing any of their own. The aircraft's true role, however, was to train pilots for flying multi-engine bombers such as the Avro Lancaster. The Anson was also used to train the other members of a bomber's air crew, such as navigators, wireless operators, bomb aimers and air gunners. Postwar, the Anson continued in the training role and light transport roles. The last Ansons were withdrawn from RAF service with communications units on 28 June 1968.

The Royal Australian Air Force operated 1,028 Ansons, mainly Mk Is, until 1955. The Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy operated Ansons until 1952. The USAAF employed 50 Canadian-built Ansons, designated as the AT-20.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force operated 23 Ansons as navigation trainers in the Second World War, (alongside the more numerous Airspeed Oxford), and acquired more Ansons as communication aircraft immediately after the war. A preserved navigation trainer is in the Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum at Wigram.

The Egyptian Air Force operated Ansons in communications and VIP duties. A specially outfitted Anson was gifted to the then King by the Royal Air Force. The Royal Afghan Air Force obtained 13 Anson 18 aircraft for various duties from 1948. These aircraft survived through 1972.

Postwar use

After the war, Ansons continued in civilian use as light transports.


The main Anson variant was the Mk I, of which 6,704 were built in Britain. The other variants were mainly distinguished by their powerplant with Canadian-built Ansons using local engines. To overcome steel shortages, the 1,051 Canadian-built Mk V Ansons featured a plywood fuselage.

;Mk I: 6,688 Mk Is were built. Powered by two 350-hp Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX or two 395-hp XIX engines.;Mk II: 1,822 Mk IIs were built in Canada; powered by two 330 hp Jacobs L-6MB R-915 engines.;Mk III: Powered by two 330 hp Jacobs L-6MB R-915 engines; British-built.;Mk IV: Powered by two Wright Whirlwind R-975 engines; British-built.;Mk V: 1,069 Mk Vs were built in Canada for navigator training; powered by two 450 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior R-985 engines.;Mk VI: One aircraft was built in Canada for bombing and gunnery training; powered by two 450 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior R-985 engines.;Mk X: 104 Anson Mk Is were converted into Mk Xs;Mk 11: 90 Anson Mk Is were converted into Mk 11s;Mk 12: 20 Anson Mk Is were converted into Mk 12s, plus 221 new Mk 12 aircraft were built.;Mk XIII: Gunnery trainer powered by two Cheetah XI or XIX engines; never built.;Mk XIV: Gunnery trainer powered by two Cheetah XV engines; never built.;Mk XVI: Navigation trainer; never built.;Mk XV: Bombing trainer; never built.;C 19: 264 were built for the RAF; used as communications and transport aircraft.;T 20: 60 aircraft were built for the RAF; used for bombing and navigation training in Southern Rhodesia.;T 21: Navigation trainers for the RAF; 252 aircraft were built.;T 22: Radio trainers for the RAF; 54 aircraft were built.;Anson 18: Developed from the Avro Nineteen; 12 aircraft were sold to the Royal Afghan Air Force for use as communications, police patrol and aerial survey aircraft.;Anson 18C: 13 aircraft were built for the Indian government; used for training civil aircrews.;Avro Nineteen: (Also known as the Anson XIX): Civil transport version; 56 aircraft were built in two series.


;AFG: 13 Anson 18 aircraft were delivered to the Afghan Air Force from 1948 and retired by 1972;ARG: At least one, LV-FBR, in use in 1960. ;AUS: 1,028 Ansons were operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, retiring in 1955;BEL
*Belgian Air Force (15 x Anson I, 2 x Anson 12 operated 1946 to 1954);BOT:;flag|Canada|1921: Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy Ansons were retired in 1952;CUB: three Canadian-built Ansons were transported to Cuba, operated by ANSA-Aerolineas del Norte S.A., a regional airline from 1947 through the mid-1950s;flag|Egypt|1922: Egyptian Air Force;EST:;ETH:;FIN: Finnish Air Force;FRA:;flag|Greece|royal: Hellenic Royal Air Force;flag|Iran|1925:;flag|Iraq|1924:;IRL: Irish Air Corps;ISR:;NLD:;NZL: Royal New Zealand Air Force;NOR:;POR:;SAU:;flag|South Africa|1928: South African Air Force;TUR:;UK: Royal Air Force, Royal Navy;USA: 50 Canadian built Ansons were delivered to the United States Air Force as the AT-20.

pecifications (Mk I)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop

ref=, David. "The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II" [ Mondey 1994, p. 26.]
length main=42 ft 3 in
length alt=12.88 m
span main=56 ft 6 in
span alt=17.22 m
height main=13 ft 1 in
height alt=3.99 m
area main=463 ft²
area alt=43.1 m²
empty weight main=5,512 lb
empty weight alt=2,500 kg
loaded weight main=7,955 lb
loaded weight alt=3,608 kg
max takeoff weight main=8,500 lb
max takeoff weight alt=3,900 kg

engine (prop)=Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX
type of prop=radial engines
number of props=2
power main=350 hp
power alt=260 kW

max speed main=188 mph
max speed alt=163 knots, 303 km/h
max speed more=at 7,000 ft (2,100 m)
range main=790 mi
range alt=690 nm, 1,300 km
ceiling main=19,000 ft
ceiling alt=5,791 m
climb rate main=750 ft/min
climb rate alt=3.8 m/s
loading main=17.2 lb/ft²
loading alt=83.9 kg/m²
power/mass main=0.088 hp/lb
power/mass alt=140 W/kg

** 1× .303 in (7.70 mm) machine gun in front fuselage
**1× .303 in Vickers K machine gun in dorsal turret
bombs=360 lb (160 kg)

ee also


* Avro 652

similar aircraft=
* Airspeed Oxford

*List of aircraft of the RAF
*List of aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm




* Donald, David and Lake Jon, eds. "Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft". London: AIRtime Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-880588-24-2.
* Gunston, Bill. "Classic World War II Aircraft Cutaways". London: Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-526-8.
* Jackson, A.J. "Avro Aircraft since 1908, 2nd edition". London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-834-8.
* Hall, Alan W. "Avro Anson Mks. 1-22" (Warpaint Series No. 53). Blechley, Buckinghamshire, UK: Warpaint Books Ltd., 2006. ISBN 0-0530-9999-X.
* Hall, Alan W. and Taylor, Eric. "Avro Anson Marks I, III, IV & X". London: Almark Publishing Co. Ltd., 1972. ISBN 0-85524-064-4.
* Holmes, Harry. "Avro Anson" (Images of Aviation). London: Tempus Publishing Ltd., 2000. ISBN 0-752417-38-X.
* Mondey, David. "The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II". London: Chancellor Press. 1994. ISBN 1-85152-668-4.
* Sturtivant, Ray C. "The Anson File". London: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85130-156-8.

External links

* [http://www.airforcemuseum.co.nz/main/AvroAnson/ RNZAF Museum Anson page]

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