The 504 was introduced by entry in the second Aerial Derby, which was scheduled for 20 September 1913. It was built behind closed doors and when flown to Hendon to take part in the race it was seen in public for the first time. It came fourth at an average 107km/h. An achievement for an aircraft first flown three days previously.
The 504 fuselage and undercarriage was designed by "Messrs Chadwick and Taylor" wings where designed by H. E. Broadsmith.
First flown on 18 Sept 1913.
With an order placed by the Royal Navy and Royal Army of Britain, the Type 504 was in service by 1913 with its Gnome Rotary engine generating a perceived 80hp which amounted to more like 60hp in practice.
A small number entered service as light bombers in both the RFC and RNAS just as war broke out in 1914 and a few went to France with the original expeditionary force in August, 1914. Within a year it was widely used as a trainer except by the RNAS as an anti-Zepplin aircraft.
The Avro Type 504, at its core, was a single engine biplane design. Depending on the model series, crew accommodations amounted to one or two personnel. Armament was usually a forward flexible-mounted Lewis machine gun of 7.62mm caliber. Additional stores in the way of bombs could be affixed to underwing portions of the aircraft. Early models also contained a landing skid in addition to the fixed landing gears, though this skid would be removed in subsequent models.
The Avro 504 was made in larger numbers than any other air-craft prior to the Second World War, and served in many air forces for more than 20 years. The Avro 504 was very similar to the Avro 500, and likewise powered by the 80-hp Gnome rotary engine.
In November 1913 a 504 set a measured speed of 130.2 km/h (80.9 mph) and soon afterwards a British altitude record at 4395 m (14420 ft).
A total of 63 early models were supplied to the RFC (one was shot down on scouting duty over the Western Front as early as August 22, 1914 - the first British aircraft ever shot down) and RNAS. The RNAS used their machines as strategic bombers, three flying as single-seaters from Belfort on November 21, 1914, each carrying four 9-kg (20-lb) bombs dropped on the Zeppelin assembly sheds and hangars (and a gasworks) at Friedrichshafen. One Zeppelin was destroyed. Such raids became impossible with the advance of German ground forces, but the RNAS machines con-tinued to fight the enemy in every way, with light bombs under the wings and an observer in the front cockpit manning a 0.303-in Lewis gun. Two U-Boats were destroyed in a raid by RNAS 504s on the submarine base at Antwerp, while many missions were flown in the ground-strafing role.
Bulk production began with the RFC 504A (shorter ailerons) and RNAS 504B (normal ailerons but a fixed fin). Single-seat fighter conversions included 80 RNAS 504C with front cockpit faired over and, typically, a pilot-aimed Lewis on the upper centre sec-tion. A few carried Le Prieur rockets or Ranken incendiary darts for anti-Zeppelin missions. The RFC counterpart was the 504D but this was not built in quantity.
There were many other sub-types, but the next major development was the 504J of 1916, in which the Gnome was replaced by the 100-hp Gnome Monosoupape. This was the first purpose-designed military trainer and was the aircraft which laid the foundation for all subsequent flying training in all countries. It was similar to the refined 504K, which was designed to be powered by any of the avail-able engines such as the 100-hp Mono, 110-hp Le Rhene or 130-hp Clerget. 2200 504K were built and others were converted from J models. In early 1918 the more powerful K sub-types were again converted into single-seat anti--Zeppelin fighters, equipping six Home Defence squadrons.
Immediately after World War One the Belgian Air Force obtained 50 504Ks for primary training. Of these, 28 were built at the SABCA factory between 1924 and 1927. They were fitted with either Clerget or Le Rhone engines, and one was experimentally equipped with a Renard engine. At the outbreak of World War Two a few examples were still in service. One 504K was to become O-BADB, but the registration was not taken up.
The MU -1 was a Soviet copy of the Avro 504K on floats.
The final wartime pro-duction version was the 504L float-seaplane. Total wartime production of the 504 in Bri-tain amounted to 8340.
Production of the Lynx-powered Avro 504N or Lynx Avro began in March 1927. With a more modern appearance without a skid between the mainwheels and with an Armstrong Siddeley Lynx radial of 160, 180 or 215 hp, two fuel tanks were fitted under the upper wing and the fuselage was no longer square-sectioned. This continued in production as an RAF primary trainer until 1933, which brought total production in Bri-tain to considerably over 10 000.
The Belgian Air Force, also obtained 48 504Ns, of which 31 were built by SABCA, between 1934 and as late as 1939, When war broke out in May 1940 about 30 were in service. All were subsequently destroyed by the Luft-waffe attacks on the BAF airfields dur-ing the 18-day campaign.
The 504M, with 2 passengers in an enclosed cabin behind the pilot, was a post-war civil adaptation of the 504 trainer. The Japanese put into production a licence-built equivalent as the Aiba Tsubami IV, one serving until 1928.
The last major production model was the Lynx radial-engined 504N which had a steel tube fuselage; 598 were built. The 504R Gosport was an attempt to produce a low-powered version that would equal the performance of the 504K.
By the end of the war, the 504 was still seeing production and would see nearly 600 more added to the 10,000 plus total between the years of 1925 and 1932. These would be designated as the Type 504N models and be new production or converted models of existing Type 504s. Type 504s would eventually be superseded by the Avro Tutor aircraft series.
On 31 October 1918 the 504 was retired from RAF service.
Seven civil 504N were impressed by the RAF for service in 1940 and used for glider-towing.
A small additional number were built in Canada in 1918, and probably more than 1000 were built in the Soviet Union with the designation U-1 between 1925 and 1933. The 504 had been an important type in the Revolutionary war in Russia, and was adopted by the Soviet government around 1922 as a standard interim multirole aircraft. Other 504s served with more than 30 air forces in the 1920s, many being fitted with floats or skis.
An arrangement was reached with Avros, H E Broadsmith, the Chief Engineer of Avro who was interested in living in Australia, and ex-AFC fliers Nigel Love and W J Warneford, to sell and manufacture the Avro 504 in Australia. The agreement involved the supply of 20 Avro 504K biplanes in parts together with four fully-assembled as demonstrators. AA&E fitted Sunbeam Dyak engines to the '504K aircraft they erected from parts brought out from England. The first, G-AUBG, was acquired by QANTAS on January 30, 1921. The Australian Aircraft and Engineering Co Ltd was registered in October, 1919. Love chose Mascot as the site for their aerodrome and the Avro aircraft arrived on board the SS Commonwealth early in November. Love made the first flight from Mascot the same month when he carried a freelance photographer Billy Marshall for a flight over the City of Sydney. The Company also set up a factory in Botany Road, Mascot, where repairs etc, could be carried out. In order to secure long range orders for his Company, Love approached the government with an offer to build the Avro 504K, from Australian timber, at the Mascot factory. An order for six was eventually, secured despite strong and sustained opposition by the British aircraft manufacturing interests, and supplied to the RAAF (A3-48 to A3-53). The six were built in nine months by the Company's 25 employees. They were only 80 lb heavier than the spruce-built British 504K biplanes. The quality of the Australian built aircraft compared favourably with their British counterparts.
The Company was to receive orders to build seven more Avros. Delays meant that the Company lost money on the Government contract, however barnstorming activities kept the company out of the red. The Avros were all fitted with Clerget engines supplied by the Defence Department. The official handing over was performed by Dame Mary Hughes, the wife of the Prime Minister. Love took-off for the official first flight with his wife as passenger.
On March 1, 1923, Avro 504K A3-49 was allocated to Headquarters for the purpose of enabling pilots of the staff to obtain flying practise, under an agreement with Shaw Ross Aviation Co, the machine being leased at their aerodrome at Port Melbourne.
As Commodore Commanding the Australian Fleet, Commodore J Dumaresque suggested that a seaplane be embarked aboard his flagship to allow the Royal Australian Navy to obtain aircraft operating experience. The only aircraft available were the Avro 504K trainers of the AAC, two of which, H3034 and H3042, were converted to 504L floatplanes. One 504L was embarked in HMAS Australia in mid-1920 and flew successfully, frequently with Commodore Dumaresque on board. After transfer to HMAS Melbourne for an 'Island Cruise' the aircraft was not so successful as the tropical conditions so reduced power that it could not get off the water. By the end of 1921 the six Fairey IIID floatplanes had arrived in Australia and the two 504L floatplanes were apparently returned to Point Cook where they served out their days as trainers with the serials A3-46 and A3-47. AA&E converted one of their Avros to a floatplane but without the dorsal fin. It operated joy flights from Manly.
The Avro 504K trainers served in the main with No 1 Flying Training Squadron at Point Cook, however some were allocated to Nos 1 and 3 Squadrons in 1925. The Avro was replaced by the de Havilland Cirrus Moth in June 1928, the last Avros being marked for destruction the next year.
Among the uses to which the 504 was put, the outstanding reliability of the aircraft and the large numbers available led the autogyro pioneer Juan de la Cierva to use 504K fuse-lages as the basis of several of his Autogiros.
Over 8000 were built during WW1 by A.V. Roe and sub-contractors such as Grahame-White Aviation at Hendon, and Sunbeam Motor Car Co, and it continued in production until 1937.
In 1925 the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Co concluded an arrangement with the Greek Government to organise an aircraft factory at Phaleron, near Athens, Greece. The factory constructed a series of Velos two seat torpedo planes, designed by Blackburn; a series of Armstrong Whitworth Atlas two seat fighters; and a series of Avro 504O and 504N trainers.
26 went to New Zealand where 8 served in the NZ Air Force until 1931.
The 504 was used by Sir Alan Gobham's "Flying Circus" and Capt Percival Phillips' Cornwall Aviation Company, carrying large numbers of civilians on their first flight. It has been reported that Capt Phillips alone carried approximately 91,000 passengers into the air, the majority of them in an Avro 504.
AJD Engineering Replica 504K
Pur Sang Avro 504
Engine: 1 x Gnome, 74kW
Take-off weight: 816 kg / 1799 lb
Empty weight: 499 kg / 1100 lb
Wingspan: 11.0 m / 36 ft 1 in
Length: 9.0 m / 30 ft 6 in
Height: 3.2 m / 11 ft 6 in
Wing area: 30.6 sq.m / 329.38 sq ft
Max. speed: 132 km/h / 82 mph
Ceiling: 3960 m / 13000 ft
Range: 300 km / 186 miles
Armament: 1 machine-guns, 4 x 9kg bombs
Engine: Gnome Monosoupape seven-cylinder rotary, 100 hp.
Wing span: 36 ft 0 in (10 97 m).
Length: 29 ft 5 in (8.97 m).
Height: 10 ft. 5 in.
Wing area: 330 sq.ft (30.66 sq.m).
Weight empty: 1300 lb.
Gross weight: 1,829 lb (830 kg).
Max speed: 82 mph @ 7000 ft.
Cruising speed: 75 mph (121 kph).
Service ceiling: 16,000 ft.
Typical range: 225 miles (362 km).
Seats: 2. Endurance: 3 hrs.
Engine: Le Rhone, 110 hp.
Max speed: 95 mph (153 kph) at sea level.
Climb to 3500 ft: 5 min.
Range @ cruise: 250 miles (402 km).
Cruise: 75 mph.
Fuel cap: 24 ImpGal (109 lt).
Span: 10.97 m (36 ft 0 in)
Length: 8.97 m (29 ft 5 in)
Gross weight: 830 kg (1830 1b)
Engine: Clerget, 130 hp
Speed: 90 mph SL
Ceiling: 18,000 ft
Range: 250 miles
Pax cap: 2.
Engine: Avro Alpha, 90 hp