Avro 566 Avenger - United Kingdom, 1926
Detailing the development and operational history of the Avro 566 Avenger Biplane Fighter Prototype Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 8/31/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Avro 566 Avenger was a private venture attempt to produce a high-performance biplane fighter for service with the Royal Air Force - only a prototype was completed.
Developed along the lines of a private venture fighter for possible sale to the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Avro 566 "Avenger" promised excellent performance through a powerful engine and exceptional streamlining of its shape. The type existed in a biplane form and recorded a first-flight on June 26th, 1926. Its design was attributed to Roy Chadwick, an aeronautical engineer who lent his talents to the creation of the Avro Manchester and Avro Lancaster heavy bombers of World War 2 fame and the Avro Vulcan jet-powered bomber of Cold War fame.
The Avenger exhibited an overall length of 7.7 meters, a wingspan of 9.75 meters, and a height of 3 meters. It sat a single crewman in an open-air cockpit under and behind the upper wing assembly. The mainplanes were of unequal span - the upper section being wider than the lower - and used N-type struts creating a single-bay wing arrangement. The wheeled undercarriage was fixed during flight and the overall design approach of the aircraft was very consistent with the post-World War 1 period (known as the "Interwar period"). Construction was largely of wood with fabric skinning and power to the aircraft was through a Napier Lion VIII engine of 525 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose. No armament was fitted to the prototype though it can be assumed that 2 x 0.303 machine guns would have been installed, synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.
As completed, the Avenger held a maximum speed of 180 miles per hour and could cruise at 130 miles per hour.
Despite its promise, the Avenger failed to sell itself to RAF authorities (mainly due to the unpopular Lion engine in play) so it was decided to convert the high performance platform to an aerial racer. The wing mainplanes were revised to become equal-span assemblies and I-type struts were fitted for support. Ailerons were added to both upper and lower wing structures. The original engine installation was now superseded by the Napier Lion IX series engine of 553 horsepower and the changes were enough to warrant the new designation of Avro 567 "Avenger II".
Beyond this conversion, the aircraft was destined to never become anything greater - the single example was eventually broken up in 1931 and used as an engineering training tool.