Friday, September 9, 2011

Britain - 1912 Avro Type E & 500

Early Successes in Design

The evolution of AVRO aircraft continued during 1912. The first difference we note was an enclosed fuselage which is becoming more recognizable as what we would we have come to believe an aircraft should look like. The ability to carry payloads for longer periods of flight became a concern which had to be addressed to meet specifications requested by eager military planners. Military aviation was soon to be possible.

The Avro Type E, Type 500, and Type 502 made up a family of early British military aircraft, regarded by Alliott Verdon Roe as his firm's first truly successful design.

The Type E biplane was designed in response to a War Office specification for a two-seat aircraft capable (amongst other things) of carrying a 350 lb (160 kg) payload with a total endurance of 4.5 hours. The Avro submission was based on the Avro Duigan design and was originally named "Military Biplane 1". It was a two-bay biplane with equal-span, unstaggered wings, and a boxy, rectangular-section fuselage. Lateral control was by wing warping.

During initial trials, it soon became apparent that while top speed and rate-of-climb were below the War Office specification, the aircraft excelled in every other way. The second prototype, however, first flew on 3 May 1912 and sufficiently impressed the War Office for them to buy the prototype and place an order for two more examples, which Roe now renamed the 500. The type proved an immediate success, and orders for another four machines plus five single-seat derivatives (designated 502 by Avro) soon followed. Other examples produced included six for the British Admiralty's Air Department, one presented to the government of Portugal (paid for by public subscription), one kept by Avro as a company demonstrator, and one bought by a private individual, J. Laurence Hall (commandeered by the War Office at the outbreak of World War I). The first prototype was destroyed in a crash on 29 June 1913 that killed its student pilot.

Avro 500s were flown by the British armed forces during the first years of the war, mostly as trainers. In service, most were fitted with ailerons and a revised rudder.


  1. Avro 500. (2010, May 4). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:27, December 9, 2010, from
  2. Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane''s Encyclopedia of Aviation. (1989). London: Studio Editions. pp. 91.
  3. World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 889 Sheet 92.


BigLee said...

Great looking picture. Looks very similar to a plane I saw at Hendon (it may be the same type, I'll have to check my pictures).

Unknown said...

Thanks Lee. When I did them all I had were some grainy gif files with extremely poor line quality. and some blurry pictures. Sometimes it feels like taking a stab in the dark.

I wish I was so lucky. It is always good seeing examples in real life. Seeing if full scale and in color helps so much.