Avro 504

The Avro 504 was a British biplane, which was used as a multi-purpose aircraft by the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service and was one of the most successful of the First World War with almost 9.000 aircraft built.


Development and construction:

In 1911, after the British War Office announced its requirements for a military aircraft, the Avro prototype Avro E was built and presented. This far exceeded the requirements by far. When the Type E prototype crashed on 29 June 1913 during a training flight, an improved version was built and classified as Avro 500.

Despite the good performance of the chief constructor Alliott Verdon Roe was not satisfied and developed more aircraft. In July 1913, finally, the prototype of the Avro 504 could start in Brooklands for his first flight.

When the First World War broke out in Europe, the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service had an urgent need for suitable aircraft. The two departments bought the already existing aircraft, ordered more and let the bought to bring to France.



Avro 504


Avro 504


Avro 504 with mounted machine gun


Avro 504




Use in the First World War:

Of the used in France Avro 504 was on August 22, 1914, the aircraft of 2nd Lt. Shot down by Vincent Waterfall, it was the first British plane in the war that was lost due to enemy fire.

The Royal Naval Air Service used its aircraft on 21 November 1914 for the bombardment of Zeppelinwerke in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. Of the three aircraft that were launched, one was shot down, the other two managed to damage the airship halls and the hydrogen production facility.

In the course of 1915, however, showed that the Avro 504 was outdated and could not keep up with newer types of aircraft. For this reason, the aircraft was gradually replaced at the front.

Most of the aircraft were subsequently used in Great Britain to train new pilots. However, there were also attempts to equip the aircraft with machine guns and thus to increase the combat strength. However, the results were not sufficient enough.

Nevertheless, different versions of the entire war were developed and used:

  • Avro 504 = Basic model. From this 68 pieces were built
  • Avro 504A = Similar to the basic model. From this 1485 pieces were built
  • Avro 504B = Version for the Royal Naval Air Service with larger vertical stabilizer and modified abrasive spur. From this 250 pieces were built
  • Avro 504C = Single-seat version for the Royal Naval Air Service as a patrol aircraft and zeppelin defense. From this 80 pieces were built
  • Avro 504D = Version for the Royal Flying Corps. From this 6 pieces were built
  • Avro 504E = Version for the Royal Flying Corps with another engine. From this 10 pieces were built
  • Avro 504H = A reinforced 504B version for testing catapults on ships
  • Avro 504J = Engine like the 504E. Becomes the standard training aircraft. From this 2.000 pieces were built
  • Avro 504K = Adapted cell version for various Trulin, Gnome, Curtiss, Sunbeam, Bentley, Wasp and Hispano-Suiza engines. Both military and civil use during the war. From this 6.175 pieces were built
  • Avro 504L = Three seaplane equipped with a Bentley B.R.1 circulating engine with 152 hp. Was used only in civil aviation. From this 17 pieces were built
  • Avro 504M =Prototype with cabin cockpit and a 9-cylinder Gnome Monosoupape engine with 100 hp in the summer of 1919
  • Avro 504N = After the war rebuilt 504K version for export

By the end of the war, a total of 8.970 Avro 504 aircraft were built, after the war, around 1.000 built aircraft were added.




Technical specifications:

Designation: Avro 504
Country: Great Britain
Typ: Multi-purpose aircraft,
Training aircraft
Length: 8,97 meters
Span: 10,97 meters
Height: 3,17 meters
Mass: 558 kg empty
Crew: Max. 2
Engine: One Lé-Rhone circulating engine with 110 hp
Maximum speed: 145 km/h
Reach: Max. 402 kilometers
Armament: One 7,7-mm Lewis machine gun






You can find the right literature here:


The First Air War, 1914-1918

The First Air War, 1914-1918 Hardcover – December 1, 1990

In this concise study, Kennett tells the complete story of World War I's air battles, from Eastern to Western front, from the skies of Europe and its seas to those of the Middle East and Africa.

Click here!



Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide)

Aircraft of World War I 1914-1918 (Essential Identification Guide) 2nd Edition

Illustrated with detailed artworks of combat aircraft and their markings, Aircraft of World War I: The Essential Aircraft Identification Guide is a comprehensive study of the aircraft that fought in the Great War of 1914–18. Arranged chronologically by theatre of war and campaign, this book offers a complete organizational breakdown of the units on all the fronts, including the Eastern and Italian Fronts. Each campaign includes a compact history of the role and impact of aircraft on the course of the conflict, as well as orders of battle, lists of commanders and campaign aces such as Manfred von Richtofen, Eddie Rickenbacker, Albert Ball and many more. Every type of aircraft is featured, including the numerous variations and types of well- known models, such as the Fokker Dr.I, the Sopwith Camel and the SPAD SVII, through to lesser-known aircraft, such as the Rumpler C.1, and the Amstrong Whitworth FK8. Each aircraft profile is accompanied by exhaustive specifications, as well as details of individual and unit markings. Packed with more than 200 color profiles of every major type of combat aircraft from the era, Aircraft of World War I 1914–1918 is an essential reference guide for modellers, military historians and aircraft enthusiasts.

Click here!



World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

World War One Aircraft Carrier Pioneer: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF Hardcover – June 13, 2011

Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1½ Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle.

He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning’s first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He also witnessed the Tondern raid in 1918, the world’s first carrier strike mission. He took part in more than a dozen sweeps into the North Sea by elements of the Grand Fleet and Battle Cruiser Fleet. He carried out reconnaissance missions off the coast of Denmark, landing in the sea to be picked up by waiting destroyers. He witnessed the surrender of the High Seas Fleet. Promoted to Captain, he acted as temporary CO of F Squadron for a time postwar.

Click here!



A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness

A World War 1 Adventure: The Life and Times of RNAS Bomber Pilot Donald E. Harkness Paperback – June 25, 2014

A deeply personal and revealing eyewitness narrative of one airman's life as a bomber pilot in England 's RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) in WWI. It is a true story, an adventure, and a war memoir carefully constructed from Captain Donald E. Harkness's unpublished diaries, letters, sketches and photographs - only recently uncovered nearly a century later - that documented his remarkable experiences and military adventures over England, France and Belgium. The first book written by a highly decorated WWI flyer from New Zealand that captures the "behind the scenes" life of RNAS pilots, as well as the surprises, terrors, traumas, humor, and sheer excitement of an aerial form of combat never before experienced by anyone, anywhere - and only eleven short years after the Wright Brothers historic flight at Kitty Hawk. With a talent for writing, Don begins an epic journey at a major turning point in history when the world is poised at the dawn of flight, and bracing itself for unknown dangers of unprecedented sophistication and savagery. Don's journal reveals unique insights and vivid imagery of another time and experience, to wit: - the terror and devastation of a Zeppelin bombing raid in London - the training regimen of early flying schools, and their serious & comic episodes - the wonder, awe, and poetry of flying aloft in the majestic heavens - vivid bombing raids, plus the raid that earned him the DSC - his crash-landing and capture - working with the underground to help downed pilots evade capture - London's unrestrained exuberance on Armistice Day; . . . and much, much more.

Click here!






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