Avro 504

Avro 504

Infobox Aircraft
name =Avro 504
type = Trainer, Fighter, Bomber
manufacturer = Avro

designer =
first flight=18 September avyear|1913
introduced = avyear|1913
retired = avyear|1934
status =
primary user = Royal Flying Corps
more users = Royal Naval Air Service
produced = 1913 - 1932
number built = 8970Holmes, 2005. p 23.]

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 twenty years, making it the most-produced aircraft of any kind that served in World War I, in any military capacity, during that conflict.

Design and development

First flown on 18 September 1913, Jackson 1990, p.52.] powered by an 80 hp 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.

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 the Germans, on 22 August 1914. Jackson 1990, p.56.] 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 southern France on 21 November 1914, carrying four 20 lb 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.Mason 1994, p.21.

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. Bruce 16 July 1954, p.87.]

In the winter of 1917-18, it was decided to use converted 504Js and 504Ks to equip Home Defence squadrons of the RFC, replacing aging 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 Gnome or 110 hp 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 1 Mason 1992, p.127..

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 Fact|date=July 2007.

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 RAFs 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 towing.

The 504 was the first airplane to strafe troops on the ground Bruce 9 July 1954, p.43.] as well as the first to make a bombing raid over Germany. 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.


*504: 80 hp Gnome engine.:Original model
*504A: :Modified with smaller ailerons and broader struts. 80 hp Gnome engine.
*504B:Version for RNAS with larger fin. 80 hp 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 Gnome engine. Ten built.
*504F: 75 hp Rolls Royce Hawk engine. One built.
*504G: 80 hp Gnome engine.

*504H:Used for catapult trials. 80 hp Gnome engine.

*504J :Used as a trainer. 100 hp Gnome or 80 hp Le Rhône engine.
*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 Clerget, 100 hp Gnome or 110 hp 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. Jackson 1990, p.105.]
*504L:Floatplane version. 150 hp Bentley BR1, 130 hp Clerget or 110 hp Le Rhône engines.
*504M:Three-seat cabin biplane. Only one was ever built. 100 hp Gnome engine.
*504N:Two-seat training aircraft.: Redesigned postwar trainer for RAF with 160 hp Armstrong Siddely Lynx engine. 598 built.
*504O:Floatplane version of 504N.
*504P:Unbuilt version of the 504N with side-by side seating. Jackson 1990, p.127.]
*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 prototypoes flown 1926 to 1927 with various engines (100 hp Gnome Monosoupe, 100 hp Avro Alpha, 140 hp Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major and 150 hp Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose), with the Mongoose chosen for prduction 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. Jackson 1990, p.129-133.]
*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 (97-kW) Mitsubishi-built Armstrong-Siddeley Mongoose radial piston engine.
*Yokosuka K2Y2:Improved version of the K2Y1, powered by a 160-hp (119-kW) Gasuden Jimpu 2 radial piston engine. 360 built (K2Y1 and K2Y2). Mikesh and Abe 1990, p.276.]
*U-1 (Uchebnyi - 1) "Avrushka":Russian copy of the 504K. Over 700 built. Jackson 1990, p.104.]
*MU-1 (Morskoy Uchebnyi - 1):Russian seaplane version.

urvivors 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 [ [http://www.shuttleworth.org/shuttleworth_aircraft.asp Shuttleworth Collection - Aircraft] ] -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. [ cite web |url= http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects/aeronautics/1920-52.aspx?keywords=avro|title= Avro 504K biplane D7560 with 130hp Clerget engine, c 1917.|accessdate=2008-07-06 |work= |publisher= Science Museum|date= ]

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.


*Australian Flying Corps
**No. 5 (Training) Squadron in the United Kingdom
**No. 6 (Training) Squadron in the United Kingdom
**No. 7 (Training) Squadron in the United Kingdom
**No. 8 (Training) Squadron in the United Kingdom
**Central Flying School at Point Cook, Victoria
*Royal Australian Air Force;BEL
*Belgian Air Force:Belgium purchased 50 British built 504Ks from 1920-22, with a further 27 being built under license by SABCA Jackson 1990, p.88.] These were replaced by the 504N, 17 being built by Avro in 1929-31, Jackson 1990, p.123.] and 31 being built under license. Jackson 1990, p.124.] ;BRA;flag|Canada|1921
*Royal Canadian Air Force;CHI;China as ROC;DNK;EST;FIN;flag|Greece|old;GUA;flagicon|India|British British India;IRL;JPN;flagicon|Malaysia|1895 Federated Malay States;MEX;flagicon|Netherlands (Netherlands East Indies);NZL
*1 Avro 504K;POR;flag|Russian Empire|1914;flag|South Africa|1928
*South African Air Force;USSR;flagicon|Spain|1785 Kingdom of Spain;SWE;SUI;flag|Thailand|name=Siam (Thailand);UK
*Royal Flying Corps
*Royal Air Force
*Royal Naval Air Service;flag|United States|1912;URY

pecifications (Avro 504K)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref=The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft Donald 1997, p.77. ]
length main= 29 ft 5 in
length alt= 8.97 m
span main= 36 ft
span alt= 10.97 m
height main= 10 ft 5 in
height alt= 3.17 m
area main= 330 ft²
area alt= 30.7 m²
empty weight main= 1,231 lb
empty weight alt= 558 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main= 1,829 lb
max takeoff weight alt= 830 kg
more general=
engine (prop)=Le Rhône
type of prop=Rotary
number of props=1
power main= 110 hp
power alt= 82 kW
power original=
max speed main= 90 mph
max speed alt= 145 km/h
cruise speed main= 75 mph
cruise speed alt= 126 km/h
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
range main= 250 mi
range alt= 402 km
ceiling main= 16,000 ft
ceiling alt= 4,875 m
climb rate main= 700 ft/min
climb rate alt= 3.6 m/s
loading main= 5.54 lb/ft²
loading alt= 18.2 kg/m²
power/mass main= 0.06 hp/lb
power/mass alt= 0.099 kW/kg
more performance=*Climb to 3500 ft (1065 m) in 5 min


The following companies are recorded as manufacturing the Avro 504 under licence. [ [http://www.gregorie.org/gregories/history/avro_504k.htm Manufactureres of the 504] ]

*A. V. Roe and Co Ltd, Park Works, Newton Heath, Manchester; and at Hamble Aerodrome, near Southampton, Hants.
*Australian Aircraft and Engineering Co Ltd, Sydney, NSW, Australia
*The Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd, Loughborough
*Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd, Toronto, Canada
*The Eastbourne Aviation Co Ltd, Eastbourne
*Fabrica Militar de Aviones, Cordoba, Argentina
*Frederick Sage and Co Ltd, Peterborough and London
*The Grahame-White Aviation Co Ltd, Hendon Aerodrome, London
*Harland and Wolff Ltd, Belfast
*The Henderson Scottish Aviation Factory, Aberdeen
*Hewlett and Blondeau Ltd, Oak Road, Leagrave, Luton, Bedfordshire.
*The Humber Motor Co Ltd, Coventry Morgan and Co, Leighton Buzzard, Beds.
*Nakalima Hikoki Seisaku Sho, Ohta-Machi, Tokyo, Japan
*Parnall and Sons, Mivart Street, Eastville, Bristol
*S. E. Saunders Ltd, East Cowes, Isle of Wight Savages Ltd, King's Lynn,
*Societe Anonyme Belge de Constructions Aeronautiques Haren, Brussels, Belgium
*The Sunbeam Motor Car Co Ltd, Wolverhampton
*TNCA, Balbuena field in Mexico City.
*Yokosuka Naval Arsenal, Japan

ee also

*La Cierva C-6
similar aircraft=
see also=


*cite journal |last=Bruce |first= J.M.|authorlink= |coauthors= | date =16 July 1954 |title= The Avro 504: Historic Military Aircraft No. 8, Part II|journal=Flight |volume= |issue= |pages=pp.83—88 |id= |url=http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1954/1954%20-%202060.html | format = pdf |quote=
*cite book |title=Warplanes of the First World War - Fighter, Volume One, Great Britain |last=Bruce |first= J. M.|authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1965 |publisher=Macdonald |location= London|isbn= |pages=
* cite book|author=Donald, David (Editor)|title = The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft|year = 1997
publisher = Aerospace Publishing|isbn=1-85605-375-X

*Cite book|author=Mason, Francis K|title=The British Fighter since 1912|publisher=Naval Institute Press|year=1992|isbn= 1-55750-082-7

External links

* [http://www.britishaircraft.co.uk/aircraftpage.php?ID=8 British Aircraft Directory]
* [http://www.avro504.org/ Avro 504]
* [http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/avro-504k.htm/ Raf Museum]
* [http://www.biplanes.de/bilderserien/ora_avro/index.php Biplanes.de German language page with Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome's Avro 504 reproduction]
* [http://www.biplanes.de/bilderserien/ora_avro_2/index.php Biplanes.de German language page with assembly photos of ORA's Avro 504 reproduction]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG4LX8Smc5w YouTube Video of Old Rhinebeck's Avro 504 reproduction in flight]

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