Avro 504 Biplane History
The Avro 504 Biplane as a Zeppelin
During the last year of WWI, some Avro 504 aircraft were converted into a 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. As a result, some Avro 504 aircraft were fitted with "aerial bombs" for use against Zeppelins, while others were fitted with vertical firing machine guns. The Avro 504's excellent stability made it the perfect gun platform to defend against the "Zeppelin menace" that London, in particular, was enduring.
This was not the first time it had been used against Zeppelins, as the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) had bombed the Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen in November 1914 using these biplanes. They caused 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. An additional 1000+ aircraft were produced between 1918 and 1933, many of which were built by the Soviet Union, as the Avrushka U-1, and were used alongside older British built aircraft as primary trainers.
The Avro 504 Biplane as an RAF
When the RFC and RNAS combined to form the Royal Air Force (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 into RAF service once again; this time in the capacity of air tugs. They were withdrawn from military service as soon as newer replacements could be sourced.
Various scale models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in the market place.
Avro 504k Biplane Specifications:
Avro 504 Crew: Pilot and gunner/trainee
Avro 504 Length: 29ft 5in (8.97m)
Avro 504 Wingspan: 36ft 0in (10.97m)
Avro 504 Height: 10ft 5in (3.17m)
Avro 504 Wing area: 330ft² (30.7 m²)
Avro 504 Empty weight: 1231lb (558kg)
Avro 504 Max takeoff weight: 1829lb (830kg)
Avro 504 Engine: Single 110 hp Le Rhône or Gnome Monosoupape Rotary engine
Avro 504 Maximum speed: 90mph (145 km/h)
Avro 504 Range: 250 mi (402 km)
Avro 504 Service ceiling: 16,000ft (4875m)
Avro 504k Biplane Armament:
Single upper-wing mounted Lewis gun Avro 504K