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Avro 652 Anson

 

avro652anson
Avro 652A Anson I
 

Designed by Roy Chadwick in 1934 the Anson featured twin-engines, a cantilever low-wing with retractable landing gear, and a steel tube fuselage with wooden wings construction. Two were built to an Imperial Airways order of 1933.

The Anson itself was produced to fulfill Specification 18/35 brought about by the British Air Ministry and originally intended for use as a maritime reconnaissance platform. The Anson protoype (Avro 652A, K4771) achieved first flight in this new militarized form on March 24, 1935. Evaluation of the system led to first-run production of the Anson Mk I model series with first deliveries occurring in March of 1936. The Royal Air Force's No.48 Squadron became the types first user.

The Anson had capabilities that made it useful in the training of pilots, bombardiers and gunners. The arrival of the Second World War sealed the future of the Anson as a primary trainer and multi-role platform for Britain, her Commonwealth nations and nations across the globe.

The Avro 652A Anson I was both a general reconnaissance aeroplane and advanced crew and navigation trainer, descended directy from the Avro 657. Only 6 Mk.1 Ansons were delivered from Avro in 1938.
The Anson Mk.1s were later re-winged to the Mk.XIX full metal mainplane.

Outwardly, the Anson fuselage was rounded and decidedly streamlined (sometimes showcasing rounded cabin windows - five windows to a side). Perhaps the most distinct feature of the aircraft's profile was its "duckbill" nose assembly, protruding well past the front windscreen. The aircraft sported low-mounted monoplane wings with rounded wingtips.

 

Each wing held a radial piston engine housed in nacelles powering two-bladed propellers. The engines were placed well-forward of the wing leading edge and met up nearly at the length of the fuselage nose. The undercarriage was typical of the time, featuring two main landing gears and a tail wheel. The main landing gears retracted forward into the bottom of each engine nacelle. The Anson became the first RAF aircraft to feature a fully-retractable undercarriage, this accomplished via a manual hand-crank controlled by the pilot. The empennage was of a conventional sort, with a rounded vertical tail fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. Typical crew accommodations amounted to 3 or 4 personnel.
 

Armament consisted of up to 4 x 7.7mm (.303 cal) Vickers-type machine guns in the front fuselage, a dorsal turret and at two other cabin locations. Additionally, the Anson could be fitted with up to 500lbs of internal ordnance.


The legacy of the Anson was solidified by its sheer production numbers and quantity of variants the line evolved into. The Mk I represented the most quantitative Anson, with 6,688 examples seeing delivery. This version was powered by the Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah series engines of 350 (Cheetah IX) or 395 (Cheetah XIX) horsepower. Maximum speed for Cheetah IX-powered Ansons was reported to be around 188 miles-per-hour with a range topping off at 790 miles. Service ceiling figures put the Anson Mk I at 19,000 feet with a rate-of-climb nearing 750 feet-per-minute.

The production prototype flown in December 1935 was a forerunner of 7,195 Avro-built Anson I for the RAF, RN, RAAF, SAAF, RGAF, Greece and Egypt. Production Ansons were first issued to No 48 Squadron, which put them into service on 6 March 1936. Armament included two 45kg and eight 9kg bombs, a forward-firing Vickers gun and a Lewis gun in a turret amidships.
Operational with Coastal Command between 1936 and 1939 and for air-sea rescue until 1942, the majority were delivered as turretless trainers for the Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Canadian Car and Foundry became involved in the programme to produce the Avro Anson 1, which had been adopted as the main twin-engined trainer for pilots in the British Commonwealth Air Training Programme (BCATP) in Canada. Originally the aircraft were to be assembled in Canada from British components, but problems with shipping and supply caused these plans to be abandoned in 1940. Canada, with a commitment to provide a training scheme, but without the necessary aircraft, was forced to establish its own manufacturing and production programme. Almost all of the Canadian aircraft manufacturers, including CCF, became involved in the production of what was now designated the Anson II, production being co-ordinated by Federal Aircraft Ltd, a company specifically formed for that purpose.


Can-Car was involved at two levels, producing components as well as entire aircraft. During a two-year production period from 1941 to 1943, the company manufactured some 800 wings and 300 fuselages at its plants in Quebec and later produced more than 4,400 Hoover variable pitch propellers to replace the wooden propellers fitted as original equipment. The Anson II built in Canada was basically a copy of the British Anson 1 with Canadian made components and a number of engineering and structural modifications such as the adoption of the Jacobs L6MB engine in place of the Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah, the addition of an engine driven hydraulic system, modifications to the undercarriage and the replacement of some of the metal fittings by moulded plywood components. Can-Car built 341 complete aircraft at its new factory in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and it was the prototype from that plant which was the first of the Anson IIs to take to the air in August 1941. In all, 1,832 Anson IIs were built, most destined for the flying schools of the BCATP, although fifty were ordered by the USAAF where they were designated Federal AT-20. The last one left RCAF active service in 1954. Britain took to producing these Ansons as well and designated them as Anson Mk III.

Anson MK IV's were produced in Britain and fitted Wright Whirlwind engines.

The Anson V variant grew out of experience with the Mk II as well as the Canadian interest in replacing metal structures with the more readily available, cheaper and more easily worked wooden equivalents. The Mk V incorporated the Anson II wing, horizontal tail and undercarriage, but the fuselage was almost completely redesigned and the more powerful Pratt and Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engines were installed. Apart from the cockpit section, which was of welded steel tube construction covered by plywood panelling, the fuselage consisted of US-developed, moulded plywood, monocoque units bolted together, comprising a nose section and three after sections, the rearmost of which included the tail fin. The net result was a fuselage with a larger capacity, which was both warmer and quieter than that of the Anson II. In addition, being aerodynamically cleaner than its predecessor and with more powerful engines, the Mk V had an improved performance in all categories from load to service ceiling.


The first Anson V flew in January 1943 and by the time production ceased two years later, 1,048 had been built. Of these, 300 came out of the Can-Car plant at Amherst. Like the Mk II, the Anson V saw service with the BCATP, mainly in a navigational training role, although a small number were fitted for communications and photo-reconnaissance work. Following the war, the Anson V became a favourite with aerial survey companies in North America, from Mexico to the high Arctic.

The Anson Mk VI was a "one-off" Canadian Anson fitting two Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engines of 450 horsepower and intended for gunnery and bombardier training.

Increased headroom created the Anson 11 or 12 according to engine. The Anson 10, introduced in 1943, had strengthened floors for continental freight runs by Air Transport Auxiliary. The Anson Mk X represented at least 104 Anson Mk I models converted to the new Mk X designation. Similarly, the Anson Mk 11 was formed from 90 Mk I models conversions. The Anson Mk 12 was well-formed in two-hundred twenty-one new-build production examples along with 20 conversions from Anson Mk I models.

The Anson 12, furnished as a feeder-liner eight-seater, became the Avro 19 Series 1 or Series 2 (tapered metal wing) for the RAF, BEA and civil operators in the UK and abroad.

The Anson Mk XIII was a proposed gunnery trainer that was never put into production. These would have been powered by twin Cheetah XI /XIX series engines. The Mk XIV was another gunner trainer proposal that never saw the light of day. These would have fitted the Cheetah XV series engines. The Mk XVI was to be a navigational trainer and the Mk XV would have been used as a bomber trainer - both of these designs were never put into production.

The Royal Air Force used 264 Ansons as transport and communications platforms under the C 19 designation. Navigational trainers were also fielded, these coming in 252 examples under the T 21 designation. Anson T 22s were 54 radio trainers for the Royal Air Force. RAF Ansons made up 26 squadrons at their peak of usage. Australia was a major Commonwealth operator, utilizing no fewer than 1,028 Ansons up until 1955.

After the war surplus Ansons were sold to civil charter firms and the air forces of Belgium, Holland, Iran, Israel, Norway, Portugal and Saudi Arabia.


Development continued during and after the war, culminating in the adaption of the civilian Avro XIX for service use as the Anson C19. With a completely re-designed fuselage, and metal wings and tail plane, this second generation Anson continued in RAF service until 1968. Two production series made up this mark, totaling 56 examples.

Final variants of 1948-49 were twelve communications and reconnaissance Anson 18s (spawned from the Avro XIX) delivered to Afghanistan and the thirteen pilot trainers Anson 18Cs delivered to India; 60 Anson T.20 (perspex nose) for navigation training in Southern Rhodesia; T.21 (metal nose) for the RAF in the UK; and T.22 radio trainer.
A total of 8138 built in the UK (3,881 Ansons at the Avro factory at Yeadon, plus enough parts to build another 900 Ansons) and another 2882 built in Canada, during 17 years of production.

The Avro Anson was produced from 1935 to 1952, to which some total 11,020 examples were built. Avro handled production in Britain with 8,138 total examples being produced there while Canadian Federal Aircraft LTD provided for a further 2,882 examples locally-produced in Canada. The last one was delivered to the Royal Air Force on 15 May 1952, and RAF Ansons were retired as late as 1968, thirty-three years after the type's inception into service. No fewer than 27 nations across the world ended up fielding the Anson in some form or another.

 

 Avro-Anson

 

Avro 652 A Anson Mk I
Engine: 2 x Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah Mk IX, 345 hp
Length: 42 ft 3 in / 12.88 m
Height: 13 ft 1 in / 3.99 m
Wingspan: 56 ft 6 in / 17.2 m
Wing area: 410.001 sq.ft / 38.09 sqm
Max take off weight: 8000 lb / 3629.0 kg
Weight empty: 5375.8 lb / 2438.0 kg
Max. speed: 164 kts / 303 km/h
Cruising speed: 137 kts / 254 km/h
Service ceiling: 18996 ft / 5790 m
Wing load: 19.48 lb/sq.ft / 95.00 kg/sq.m
Range: 686 nm / 1271 km
Crew: 3
Armament: 2x MG 7,7mm, 163kg Bomb

Avro 652A Anson
Powerplant: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-985AN-14 Wasp Jr, 450hp.
Wing Span : 56ft 6in (17.2 m)
Length : 42ft 3in (12.9 m)
Height : 13ft (4 m) Range: 790 mi(1,271 km)
Speed : 190 mph 304 km/h
 

Avro Anson C.Mk 1
Engines: 2 x Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX 7-cylinder radial, 350hp
Length: 42.26ft (12.88m)
Width: 56.50ft (17.22m)
Height: 13.09ft (3.99m)
Maximum Speed: 188mph (303kmh; 164kts)
Maximum Range: 808miles (1,300km)
Rate-of-Climb: 750ft/min (229m/min)
Service Ceiling: 18,999ft (5,791m)
Armament:
Up to 4 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns
Up to 500lbs of bombs held internally.
Accommodation: 3 to 5
Empty Weight: 5,512lbs (2,500kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 8,598lbs (3,900kg)

 

Anson II
Engines: 2 x L6MB Jacob.

Anson III

 

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