The Avro 504 was developed from the Avro 500 as a two seater Bi-plane with an all wooden and fabric construction including a square sectioned fuselage with an unmistakeable single skid between the front wheels. It was fitted with a Gnome rotary engine producing just 80 hp.
The first flight of the Avro 504 was on the 18th of September 1913. They were purchased in small numbers by the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS) before WWI.
The Avro 504 was mainly used as an instructor aircraft but during the first months of WWI it was also used as a recconnaisance-bomber.
The Avro 504 was the first aeroplane to straffe troops on the ground and the first Allied aircraft to be shot down, which occured on the 22nd of August 1914, piloted by 2nd Lieutenant Vincent Waterfall with his navigator Lieutenant Charles George Gordon Bayly of 5 Squadron.
On the 21st of November 1914, three Avro 504B's of the RNAS set out to bomb the Zeppelin factory at Friedrichshafen. They carried four 20lb bombs each under the wings and achieved several direct hits on the Zeppelin Hangars and also destroyed the Hydrogen plant.
With the Avro 504 soon becoming outdated as a front line aircraft, it was used extensively as a trainer aircraft. The 504K was mass produced with universal engine bearers enabling it to be fitted with a variety of engines in order to accomodate the engine shortage.
In early 1918, the RFC Home Defence Squadrons were using old B.E.2c's and were in need of an upgrade so they were replaced by converted 504J's and 504K's. They were converted to single seater fighters with a Lewis gun mounted above the top wing and powered by either a Gnome rotary engine or a Le Rhone rotary engine. All together there were 274 aircraft converted and issued to 8 Home Defence Squadrons.
After WWI the Avro 504 continued in service as a trainer for the Royal Air Force (RAF), Due to the large quantities produced during the war many were surplus to requirements and were offered for sale. Over 300 were registered for civillian use such as training, pleasure flights, banner towing etc.
In 1925 the Avro 504 was improved and redesigned to accomodate an Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial engine producing 160 hp, twice the original Avro 504 and given the mark 504N. The Avro 504N replaced the 504K with 592 being manufactured between 1925 and 1932. These aircraft were issued to the RAF's five training schools and also used as communication aircraft.
In 1933 the Avro 504N was replaced by the Avro Tutor for RAF service.
|Crew:||1 or 2 (in tandem)|
|Length:||29ft 5in (8.97m)|
|Wingspan:||36ft 0in (10.97m)|
|Height:||10ft 5in (3.17m)|
|Empty Weight:||1,231lb (558.38kg)|
|Max. Weight:||1,829lb (829.63kg)|
|Max. Speed:||95mph (152.9km/h)|
|Range:||250 miles (400km)|
|Machine Guns:||2 x Lewis 0.303"|
|Bombs:||4 x 20lb under wings|
Variants: -Avro 504
The original aircraft version with a Gnome rotary engine producing 80 hp.
Modified 504 with smaller ailerons and broader struts.
RNAS version fitted with larger tail fin. Fitted with original Gnome or Le Rhone rotary engine.
Adapted as a single seater aircraft with an extra fuel tank in place of the observer. Used by the RNAS as an anti-zeppelin aircraft.
Adapted as a single seater aircraft with an extra fuel tank in place of the observer. Used by the RFC as an anti-zeppelin aircraft.
Fitted with an upgrade Gnome rotary engine producing 100 hp.
Prototype fitted with Rolls Royce Hawk engine producing 75 hp.
Fitted with a Gnome rotary engine producing 80 hp.
Adapted for catapult trials, fitted with Gnome rotary engine 80 hp.
Trainer version fitted with Gnome rotary engine producing 100 hp or Le Rhone rotary engine producing 80 hp.
Fitted with an universal engine mounting to accept either Clerget engine producing 130 hp, a Gnome engine producing 100 hp or a Le Rhone engine producing 110 hp. Generally used as a two seater training aircraft but could be converted to a single seat fighter as an anti-zeppelin aircraft.
Adapted as a floatplane fitted with a Bentley BR1 engine producing 150 hp, a Clerget engine producing 130 hp or a Le Rhone engine producing 110 hp.
Prototype of a three seat aircraft fitted with a Gnome engine producing 100 hp.
A postwar redesigned two seater aircraft used as a RAF trainer fitted with an Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engine producing 160 hp.
A 504N Adapted as a floatplane.
Three seater cabin version, fitted with an Armstrong Siddeley Lynx engine, built for the Oxford University Arctic Expedition.
A modified lightweight structure with five prototypes tested with various engines from 1926 to 1927 with the Armstrong Siddeley Mongoose engine producing 150 hp being choosen for production.
Japanese and Russian Marks have not been included
H5199, was built in 1918 as an Avro 504K and later converted, whilst in service with the RAF, to an Avro 504N which included a radial engine rather than a rotary engine.
After being sold from the RAF it was registered as a civillain aircraft as G-ADEV, although it was once again pressed into military service in 1940 for glider towing duties.
After WWII, it was returned to civillian status and was converted back to an Avro 540K for the film 'Reach for the Sky' by Avro apprentices afterwhich it was passed to the Shuttleworth Collection where it can be seen today, based at Old Warden.