Avro Aircraft

Avro Aircraft

Avro Aircraft Information

Airplane Picture - The A.V. Roe Bulls Eye, an early duplex triplane


Fate: Subsidiary of Hawker Siddeley 1935 Merged into Hawker Siddeley Aircraft 1963
Successor: Hawker Siddeley Aviation
Founded: 1910
Defunct: 1963
Headquarters: Alexandra Park , Woodford
Key people: A.V. Roe, Roy Chadwick, Roy Dobson, Harry Broadhurst
Subsidiaries: Saunders-Roe (1929)

Subsidiary of Hawker Siddeley 1935

Avro was a British aircraft manufacturer, with numerous landmark designs such as the Avro 504 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.


Early history

Airplane Picture - The A.V. Roe Bulls Eye, an early duplex triplane

Picture - The A.V. Roe Bulls Eye, an early duplex triplane

One of the world's first aircraft builders, A.V. Roe and Company was established at Brownsfield Mill, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, by Alliott Verdon Roe and his brother Humphrey Verdon Roe on 1 January 1910. Humphrey's contribution was chiefly financial and organizational; funding it from the earnings of the family brace business and Managing director until he joined the RFC in 1917. Alliot had already made a name for himself as a pilot at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey and Farnborough in Hampshire. One early product was the A.V. Roe Bulls Eye, a duplex triplane with a wingspan of 20 feet. The company built the world's first totally enclosed monoplane in 1912, but it was the well-proportioned, wooden biplane known as the Avro 504 that kept the firm busy throughout the First World War and beyond. Production totalled 8,340 at several factories: Hamble, Failsworth, Miles Platting and Newton Heath and continued for almost 20 years. This was a substantial achievement considering the novelty of powered aircraft in this period.

Airplane Picture - The Avro Lancaster

Picture - The Avro Lancaster

The inter-war years

After the boom in orders during the First World War, the lack of new work with peace caused severe financial problems and in August 1920 68.5% of the company's shares were acquired by nearby Crossley Motors who had an urgent need for more factory space for vehicle body building. In 1924, the Company left Alexandra Park Aerodrome in south Manchester where test flying had taken place during the period since 1918 and the site was taken over by a mixture of recreation and housing development. A rural site to the south of the growing city was found at New Hall Farm, Woodford in Cheshire, which continues to serve aviation builders BAE Systems to this day. 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 that 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.

The Second World War

Airplane Picture - Avro Vulcan

Picture - Avro Vulcan

Maintaining their skills in designing trainer aircraft, the company built a more robust biplane called the Avro Tutor in the 1930s that 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 and Chadderton (Manchester) sites, with some 700 Lancasters built at the Avro "shadow" factory next to Leeds Bradford Airport (formerly Yeadon Aerodrome), north-west Leeds. This factory employed 17,500 workers at a time when the population of Yeadon was just 10,000. The old taxiway from the factory to the runway is still evident.

Postwar developments

Airplane Picture - Blue Steel missile

Picture - Blue Steel missile

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 that 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 bombers, originally designed as a nuclear strike aircraft, were 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. Recently Vulcan XH558 flew again after several years of refurbishment, and several are prized as museum exhibits.

A twin turboprop airliner, the Avro 748, was developed during the 1950s and sold widely across the globe, powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart engines. The Royal Flight bought a few and a variant with a rear-loading ramp and a "kneeling" main undercarriage was sold to the RAF and several members of the Commonwealth as the Andover.

Avro Canada

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, the Avro name ceased to be used. But the brand had a strong heritage appeal, and the marketing name "Avro RJ" (regional jet) was used by British Aerospace for production of the RJ-85 and RJ-100 models of the BAe 146 from 1994 to 2001. This 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, along with a single Vulcan, XH558 (Vulcan to the Sky), are lovingly 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.

Avro aeroplanes

Roe I Biplane
Roe I Triplane
Roe II Triplane
Roe III Triplane
Roe IV Triplane
Avro Mercury
Avro Curtiss type
Roe-Burga monoplane
Roe Type D
Roe Type F
Roe Type G
Avro 500 (Type E)
Avro 501 (Type H)
Avro 502
Avro 503 (Type H)
Avro 504
Avro 508
Avro 510
Avro 511
Avro 519
Avro 521
Avro 523 Pike
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 552
Avro 555 Bison
Avro 557 Ava
Avro 558
Avro 560
Avro 561 Andover
Avro 562 Avis
Avro 566 Avenger
Avro 571 Buffalo
Avro 581
Avro 584 Avocet
Avro 594 Avian
Avro 604 Antelope
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 679 Manchester (1939)
Avro 683 Lancaster (1941)
Avro Lancaster PA474
List of Avro Lancaster operators
List of surviving Avro Lancasters
Avro 684 (1941)
Avro 685 York (1942)
Avro 688 Tudor (1945)
Avro 689 Tudor
Avro 691 Lancastrian (1943)
Avro 694 Lincoln (1944)
Avro 701 Athena (1948)
Avro 695 Lincolnian (1949)
Avro 696 Shackleton (1949)
Avro 698 Vulcan (1952)
Avro Vulcan XH558
Avro Vulcan XM655
Avro 707 (1949)
Avro Ashton (1950)
Avro 748 (1960) - became the Hawker Siddeley Andover, HS 748 and BAe 748

Unbuilt projects

Avro 720 - planned rocket interceptor, to OR.301 as for the SR.53. Cancelled before flight.
Avro 730 - planned supersonic bomber, never completed


Avro 574 - Cierva C.6
Avro 586 - Cierva C.8
Avro 576 - Cierva C.9
Avro 612 - Cierva C.17
Avro 620 - Cierva C.19
Avro 671 Rota - Cierva C.30
Cierva C.12

Avro Canada

Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner
Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck
Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow
Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar

Unbuilt projects

Avro Canada CF-103 (mock-up only)
Avro Canada Project Y-1 (mock-up only)
Avro Canada Project Y-2 (scale test models only)
Avro Canada PV-704 (built as engine test model only)


Blue steel missile

Aerospace industry in the United Kingdom


Campagna, Palmiro. Requiem For a Giant: A.V. Roe Canada and the Avro Arrow. Toronto, Ontario and Oxford, UK: Dundurn Press, 2003. ISBN 1-55002-438-8
Harlin, E.A. and G.A. Jenks. Avro: An Aircraft Album. Shepperton, Middlesex, UK: Ian Allen, 1973. ISBN 0-7710-0342-4.
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: Putnam, 1965. ISBN 0-85177-797-X.
Molson, Ken M. and Harold A. Taylor. Canadian Aircraft since 1909. Toronto: Putnam, 1982. ISBN 0-09-200211-0.
Wood, Derek. Project Cancelled: British Aircraft That Never Flew. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1975. ISBN 0-672-52166-0.

Type D Type E Type F Type G Type H

500 501 502 503 504 508 510 511 513 519 521 522 523 527 528 529 530 531 533 534 536 538 539 545 546 547 548 549 550 551 552 553 554 555 556 557 558 560 561 562 563 566 567 571 572 574 575 576 578 578 580 581 584 586 587 594 597 604 605 608 609 611 612 613 616 617 618 619 620 621 624 625 626 627 631 632 633 636 637 638 639 640 641 642 643 644 646 652 655 656 663 664 665 666 668 670 671 672 674 675 679 680 681 682 683 684 685 686 688 689 691 682 694 695 696 698 701 706 707 711 720 721 724 726 728 729 730 731 732 735 748 776 784

Bombers: 730 Aldershot Antelope Buffalo Lancaster Lincoln Manchester Vulcan

Transports: Andover Lancastrian York

Maritime Patrol: Anson Bison Shackleton

Passenger transports: 748 Ashton Commodore Eighteen Five Six Ten Tudor

Trainers: 504 Athena Cadet Tutor Prefect

Fighters: Avenger Avocet Spider

Sports planes: Avian Baby

Experimental: Triplane Ashton Burga 707

Avro Pictures and Avro for Sale.

Living Warbirds: The best warbirds DVD series.

Source: WikiPedia

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