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Avro 500 / AvroType E / Avro 502



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, differing principally in being slightly larger and having a more powerful (60 horsepower (45 kW)) water-cooled E.N.V. engine, 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. In service, most were fitted with ailerons and a revised rudder.




The aircraft was first flown on 3 March 1912 by Wilfred Parke, and while top speed and rate of climb did not meet expectations, the aircraft excelled in every other way. However, its performance was not up to Roe's expectations, and a second example was built, modified to take the much lighter 50 hp (37kW) Gnome air-cooled radial engine. This first flew on 8 May 1912, and a height of 2,000 ft (610 m) was reached in five minutes. The next day the aircraft was flown from Brooklands to Laffan's Plain, covering the 17 miles (28 km) in 20 minutes. The same day it demonstrated its ability to meet the requirements laid down by the War Office in the requirements for a "Military Aircraft" that had been published in connction with the forthcoming Military Aeroplane Competition, and the authorities were impressed enough to buy the aircraft and placed an order for two more examples of the aircraft, which Roe now renamed the Avro 500.


Avro 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.


United Kingdom

Royal Flying Corps
No. 3 Squadron RFC
No. 4 Squadron RFC
No. 5 Squadron RFC
Royal Naval Air Service


Avro 500
Engine: 1 × Gnome rotary, 50 hp (37 kW) each
Length: 29 ft 0 in (8.84 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
Height: 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
Wing area: 330 ft2 (30.7 sq.m)
Empty weight: 900 lb (409 kg)
Gross weight: 1,300 lb (590 kg)
Maximum speed: 61 mph (98 km/h)
Rate of climb: 440 ft/min (2.2 m/s)
Crew: one pilot
Seats: 2





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