Avro 504 k Biplane (1913-1933)




Avro 504 Biplane History
The Avro 504 was a two seat all-wooden biplane introduced into RFC (Royal Flying Corps) service in late 1913. The aircraft proved to be a very reliable and relatively easy aircraft to fly and was popular with it's aircrew. When introduced the Avro 504 was seen as a fighter bomber by the RFC, once it's performance was no longer up to the standards needed to successfully survive aerial combat in WW1 with German purpose designed fighters, the Avro 504 was demoted to an observation platform and scout aircraft. As the war progressed the Avro 504 became unsuitable in any combat role, but due to it's excellent flying qualities remained in production until 1933 as a trainer.

The Avro 504 Biplane as a Zeppelin interceptor
During the last year of WWI some Avro 504 aircraft were converted into single seat configuration and used in the skies over England as interceptors. Enemy fighters lacked the range to reach the UK, but Zeppelin airships could do so with ease, some Avro 504 aircraft were used by the RFC with "aerial bombs" for use against Zeppelins, others were fitted with vertical firing machine guns. The Avro 504's excellent stability made it an excellent Gun platform to defend against the "Zeppelin menace" London in particular was enduring.

This was not the first time the Avro 504 had been used against Zeppelins as the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) had bombed the Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen in November 1914 using Avro 504 biplanes causing considerable damage to the hydrogen generating plant and several airship sheds with the loss of only one aircraft.

A total of 8,970 Avro 504 aircraft were produced during WW1 and an additional 1000+ aircraft between 1918 and 1933, many of these were built by the Soviet Union as the Avrushka U-1 and were used alongside older British built Avro 504 aircraft as primary trainers.

The Avro 504 Biplane as a RAF trainer
When the RFC and RNAS combined to form the RAF in April 1918 the Avro 504 was it's primary trainer and was destined to remain in use with the RAF until 1933 when they were replaced by the Avro Tutor.

The Avro 504 Biplane in WW2
When in 1939 WW2 started a small number of Avro 504 aircraft were pressed back into to RAF service once again, this time in the capacity of air tugs, they were quickly withdrawn from military service as soon as newer replacements could be sourced.

Avro 504k Biplane Specifications:

Crew: Pilot and gunner/trainee
Length: 29ft 5in (8.97m)
Wingspan: 36ft 0in (10.97m)
Height: 10ft 5in (3.17m)
Wing area: 330ft² (30.7 m²)
Empty weight: 1231lb (558kg)
Max takeoff weight: 1829lb (830kg)
Engine: Single 110 hp Le Rhône or Gnome Monosoupape Rotary engine
Maximum speed: 90mph (145 km/h)
Range: 250 mi (402 km)
Service ceiling: 16000ft (4875m)

Avro 504k Biplane Armament: Single upper-wing mounted Lewis gun Avro 504K

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