Avro was a British aircraft manufacturer. Its designs include the Avro 504, used as a trainer in the First World War, the Avro Lancaster, one of the pre-eminent bombers of the Second World War, and the delta wing Avro Vulcan, a stalwart of the Cold War.
|public limited company |
|Fate||Subsidiary of Hawker Siddeley 1935|
Merged into Hawker Siddeley Aircraft 1963
|Successor||Hawker Siddeley Aviation|
|Founded||1910 – Brownsfield Mill, Manchester|
|Headquarters||Alexandra Park, Woodford,|
Stockport, United Kingdom
|A.V. Roe, Roy Chadwick, Roy Dobson, Harry Broadhurst|
Avro was founded in 1910 by Alliott Verdon Roe at the Brownsfield Mill on Great Ancoats Street in Manchester. The company remained based primarily in Lancashire throughout its 53 years of existence, with key development and manufacturing sites in Alexandra Park, Chadderton, Trafford Park, and Woodford. The company was merged into Hawker Siddeley Aviation in 1963, although the Avro name has been used for some aircraft since then.
One of the world's first aircraft builders, A.V. Roe and Company was established on 1 January 1910 at Brownsfield Mill, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, by Alliott Verdon Roe and his brother Humphrey Verdon Roe. Humphrey's contribution was chiefly financial and organizational; funding it from the earnings of the family webbing business and acting as managing director until he joined the RFC in 1917. Alliot had already constructed a successful aircraft, the Roe I Triplane, named The Bullseye after a brand of braces manufactured by Humphrey. The railway arch where A V Roe in 1909 built and achieved the first all-British powered flight still stands in the Lee Valley Park in Hackney. In 1911, Roy Chadwick began work as Alliott's personal assistant and the firm's draughtsman and in 1918 he was appointed Chief Designer. The first Avro aircraft to be produced in any quantity was the Avro E or Avro 500, first flown in March 1912, of which 18 were manufactured, most for the newly formed RFC. The company also built the world's first aircraft with enclosed crew accommodation in 1912, the monoplane Type F and the biplane Avro Type G in 1912, neither progressing beyond the prototype stage. The Type 500 was developed into the Avro 504, first flown in September 1913. A small number were bought by the War Office before the outbreak of the First World War, and the type saw some front-line service in the early months of the war, but it is best known as a training aircraft, serving in this role until 1933. Production lasted 20 years and totalled 8,340 at several factories: Hamble, Failsworth, Miles Platting and Newton Heath.
After the boom in orders during the First World War, the lack of new work in peacetime caused severe financial problems and in August 1920, 68.5% of the company's shares were acquired by nearby Crossley Motors which had an urgent need for more factory space for automotive vehicle body building. In 1924, the company left Alexandra Park Aerodrome in south Manchester where test flying had taken place since 1918; the site was used for a mixture of recreation and housing development. A rural site to the south of the city was found at New Hall Farm, Woodford in Cheshire, which continued to be used by aviation company BAE Systems until March 2011; the site has now been earmarked for a mixed use development. In 1928 Crossley Motors sold AVRO to Armstrong Siddeley Holdings Ltd. In 1928 A.V.Roe resigned from the company he had founded and formed the Saunders-Roe company, which after World War II developed several radical designs for combat jets, and, eventually, a range of powerful hovercraft. In 1935 Avro became a subsidiary of Hawker Siddeley.
Second World War
Maintaining their skills in designing trainer aircraft, the company built a more robust biplane called the Avro Tutor in the 1930s which the Royal Air Force (RAF) also bought in quantity. A twin piston-engined airliner called the Anson followed but as tensions rose again in Europe the firm's emphasis returned to combat aircraft. The Avro Manchester, Lancaster, and Lincoln were particularly famous Avro designs. Over 7,000 Lancasters were built and their bombing capabilities led to their use in the famous Dam Busters raid. Of the total, nearly half were built at Avro's Woodford (Stockport) and Chadderton (Oldham) sites, with some 700 Lancasters built at the Avro "shadow" factory next to Leeds Bradford Airport (formerly Yeadon Aerodrome), northwest Leeds. This factory employed 17,500 workers at a time when the population of Yeadon was just 10,000. It was the largest building in Europe at the time, at 1.5 million square feet, and its roof was disguised by the addition of fields and hedges to hide it from enemy planes. The old taxiway from the factory to the runway is still evident.
The Avro Lancaster carried the heaviest bomb loads of the war, including the Grand Slam bomb.
The civilian Lancastrian and maritime reconnaissance Shackleton were derived from the successful Lancaster design. The Tudor was a pressurised but problematic post-war Avro airliner which faced strong competition from designs by Bristol, Canadair, Douglas, Handley Page, and Lockheed. With the same wings and engines as the Lincoln, it achieved only a short (34 completed) production run following a first flight in June 1945 and the cancellation of an order from BOAC. The older Avro York was somewhat more successful in both the RAF and in commercial service, being distinguished by a fuselage square in cross-section. Both Tudors and Yorks played an important humanitarian part in the Berlin Airlift.
The postwar Vulcan bomber, originally designed as a nuclear-strike aircraft, was used to maintain the British nuclear deterrent, armed with the Avro Blue Steel stand-off nuclear bomb. The Vulcan saw service as a conventional bomber during the British campaign to recapture the Falkland Islands in 1982. Several Vulcans are prized as museum exhibits.
A twin turboprop airliner, the Avro 748, was developed during the 1950s and sold widely to airlines and governments across the globe, powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart engines. The RAF bought 6 for use by the Queen's Flight and a variant with a rear-loading ramp and a "kneeling" main undercarriage was sold to the RAF (31 aircraft) as the Andover.
Avro regional jets
The Avro name would subsequently be resurrected by British Aerospace when this aircraft manufacturer renamed its BAe 146 family of regional jetliners as Avro regional jets (Avro RJ). Three differently sized versions of the four engine jetliner were produced: the Avro RJ70, the Avro RJ85 and the largest example, the Avro RJ100.
In 1945, Hawker Siddeley Group purchased the former Victory Aircraft firm in Malton, Ontario, and renamed the operation A.V. Roe Canada Limited. Commonly known as Avro Canada, it was actually a subsidiary of the Hawker Siddeley Group and used the Avro name for trading purposes.
When the company was absorbed into Hawker Siddeley Aviation in July 1963 following the 1957 Defence White Paper, the Avro name ceased to be used. The brand still had a strong heritage appeal, and as mentioned above the marketing name "Avro RJ" (regional jet) was used by British Aerospace from 1994 to 2001 for production of the RJ70, RJ85 and RJ100 models which were respectively based on the BAe 146-100, BAe 146-200 and BAe 146-300. This four engine jet aircraft type is sometimes also loosely called the "Avro 146".
The BAe ATP (Advanced Turbo Prop) design evolved from the Avro 748 and examples continue in use on shorter, mainly domestic, scheduled air services. A few Avro 504s, Tutors, Ansons and Lancasters are maintained in flying condition as reminders of the heritage of this influential English company. At 39 years, the noisy but impressive Shackleton held the distinction of being the aircraft with the longest period of active RAF service, until overtaken by the English Electric Canberra in 1998.
- Roe I Biplane
- Roe I Triplane
- Roe II Triplane (Also known as the Mercury)
- Roe III Triplane
- Roe IV Triplane
- Roe Type D
- Avro Curtiss type (Also known as the Lakes Water Bird)
- Avro Duigan
- Avro 500 (Type E)
- Roe-Burga monoplane
- Roe Type F
- Roe Type G
- Avro 501 (Type H)
- Avro 502
- Avro 503 (Type H)
- Avro 504
- Avro 508
- Avro 509 – proposed twin engined tractor biplane seaplane, not built.
- Avro 510
- Avro 511
- Avro 513 – proposed twin engined tractor biplane seaplane, not built.
- Avro 519
- Avro 521
- Avro 523 Pike
- Avro 527
- Avro 528
- Avro 529
- Avro 530
- Avro 531 Spider
- Avro 533 Manchester
- Avro 534 Baby
- Avro 536
- Avro 539
- Avro 547
- Avro 548
- Avro 549 Aldershot
- Avro 550 – proposed reconnaissance triplane, not built
- Avro 552
- Avro 555 Bison
- Avro 557 Ava
- Avro 558
- Avro 560
- Avro 561 Andover
- Avro 562 Avis
- Avro 566 Avenger
- Avro 571 Buffalo
- Avro 580 – proposed heavy bomber, not built
- Avro 581
- Avro 584 Avocet
- Avro 594 Avian
- Avro 597 – proposed light bomber based on Type 571
- Avro 604 Antelope
- Avro 609 – proposed 3-seat general purpose aircraft
- Avro 613
- Avro 616 Avian
- Avro 618 Ten
- Avro 619 Five
- Avro 621 Tutor
- Avro 624 Six
- Avro 626 Prefect
- Avro 627 Mailplane
- Avro 631 Cadet
- Avro 636 (1935)
- Avro 638 Club Cadet (1933)
- Avro 641 Commodore (1935)
- Avro 642 Eighteen
- Avro 643 Cadet
- Avro 652
- Avro 652A Anson (1935)
- Avro 671 Rota (1935)
- Avro 674 – 24 modernised Hawker Audaxes built for the Egyptian government.
- Avro 679 Manchester (1939)
- Avro 683 Lancaster (1941)
- Avro 684 (1941)
- Avro 685 York (1942)
- Avro 688 Tudor (1945)
- Avro 689 Tudor
- Avro 691 Lancastrian (1943)
- Avro 694 Lincoln (1944)
- Avro 695 Lincolnian (1949)
- Avro 696 Shackleton (1949)
- Avro 698 Vulcan (1952)
- Avro 701 Athena (1948)
- Avro 707 (1949)
- Avro 706 Ashton (1950)
- Avro 720
- Avro 722 Atlantic (1953)
- Avro 730
- Avro 734
- Avro 748 (1960) – became the HS 748 and BAe 748, developed as the Hawker Siddeley Andover (HS.780), and later as the BAe ATP
- Avro 632 – proposed cabin biplane
- Avro 644 – proposed reconnaissance bomber
- Avro 655 – twin engine bomber
- Avro 656 – twin engine bomber
- Avro 664 – proposed twin engine transport
- Avro 666 – proposed cabin biplane
- Avro 670 – proposed army co-operation aircraft
- Avro 672
- Avro 675
- Avro 680 – proposed heavy bomber
- Avro 681 – proposed high-speed bomber
- Avro 682 – proposed high-speed bomber
- Avro 686 – proposed high-altitude bomber to succeed Avro Lancaster
- Avro 693 – proposed high-speed transport
- Avro 720 – planned rocket interceptor, to OR.301 as for the SR.53. Cancelled before flight.
- Avro 721 – proposed low-level bomber
- Avro 724 – planned VTOL interceptor
- Avro 726 – planned delta-wing interceptor
- Avro 728 – planned delta-wing mixed power naval interceptor
- Avro 729 – planned all-weather fighter
- Avro 730 – planned supersonic bomber, never completed
- Avro 731 – planned 3/8 scale model of Avro 730, not built
- Avro 732 – planned supersonic version of Avro Vulcan
- Avro 734 – planned long-range decoy air-launched by Vulcans
- Avro 735 – proposed supersonic airliner
- Avro 771 – proposed 60-seat airliner powered by two Bristol Siddeley BS.75 turbofans.
- Avro 776 – planned 3-engine maritime patrol aircraft
- Avro 784 – planned 4-engine maritime patrol aircraft
Avro also built motor vehicles in the immediate post-World War 1 era, including the three-wheeler Harper Runabout, as well as their own light car. Powered by a 1,330 cc 4-cylinder engine, wood and aluminium were used in an integral construction similar to an aircraft. Approximately 100 were built.
In 1927 Alliott Verdon-Roe designed a two-wheeler car powered by a 350 cc Villiers air-cooled engine. An outrigger wheel kept the car upright when stationary. The Mobile did not go into production.
Avro F.C. was founded at the Chadderton factory and still exists today.
- "Alliott Verdon-Roe." verdon-roe.co.uk. Retrieved: 5 April 2010.
- "H.V. Roe." Flight, 4 August 1949, p. 145.
- Winthrop, John (1910). The Technical World Magazine. Volume 13. Armour Institute of Technology. p. 223.
- Eyre, M., Chris Heaps and Alan Townsin. Crossley. Hersham, Surrey, UK: OPC Railprint, 2002. ISBN 0-86093-574-4.
- Bowyer, Laura (19 June 2013). "Motion to celebrate Leeds factory's war efforts". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
- Campagna 2003, p. 19.
- Chris Gibson Vulcan's Hammer p. 33
- "Avro 771 and BAC-107". Flight International: 449. 16 September 1960.
- Baldwin, Nick. A-Z of Cars of the 1920s. Bideford, Devon, England: Bay View Books, 1998. ISBN 1-901432-09-2.
- Campagna, Palmiro. Requiem For a Giant: A.V. Roe Canada and the Avro Arrow. Toronto, Ontario; Oxford, England: Dundurn Press, 2003. ISBN 1-55002-438-8
- Harlin, E.A. and G.A. Jenks. Avro: An Aircraft Album. Shepperton, Middlesex, UK: Ian Allan, 1973. ISBN 978-0-7110-0342-2.
- Holmes, Harry. Avro: The History of an Aircraft Company. Wiltshire, UK: Crowood Press, 2004. ISBN 1-86126-651-0.
- Jackson, Aubrey J. Avro Aircraft since 1908. London, England: Putnam, 1965. ISBN 0-85177-797-X.
- Molson, Ken M. and Harold A. Taylor. Canadian Aircraft since 1909. Toronto, Ontario: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-09-200211-0.
- Wood, Derek. Project Cancelled: British Aircraft That Never Flew. New York, NY: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1975. ISBN 0-672-52166-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Avro.|
- A.V. Roe and Company (Avro)
- A. V. Roe, 1877–1958
- Clippings about Avro in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW