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Avro York (Type 685)

Four-Engined Heavy Transport / Airliner Aircraft

Avro York (Type 685)

Four-Engined Heavy Transport / Airliner Aircraft


The Avro York transport of World War 2 held roots in the classic Avro Lancaster heavy bomber of the same conflict.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United Kingdom
YEAR: 1944
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Avro - United Kingdom / Victory Aircraft - Canada
OPERATORS: Australia; Argentina; Canada; France; Iran; Lebanon; South Africa; United Kingdom

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Avro York I model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 78.41 feet (23.9 meters)
WIDTH: 102.03 feet (31.1 meters)
HEIGHT: 16.40 feet (5 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 40,014 pounds (18,150 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 66,139 pounds (30,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 24 liquid-cooled engines developing 1,280 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 298 miles-per-hour (480 kilometers-per-hour; 259 knots)
RANGE: 2,983 miles (4,800 kilometers; 2,592 nautical miles)
CEILING: 22,999 feet (7,010 meters; 4.36 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 820 feet-per-minute (250 meters-per-minute)


Series Model Variants
• Type 685 - Model Designation; four prototypes completed to standard.
• York C.I - Definitive military transport; 208 completed.
• York C.II - One-off prototype fitting Bristol Hercules engines.
• York Mk.I - Civilian market passenger/cargo hauler; 44 examples completed.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Avro York (Type 685) Four-Engined Heavy Transport / Airliner Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/18/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
In February of 1942 the Avro Lancaster four-engined heavy bomber was introduced for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). Its participation in World War 2 (1939-1945) proved to be ultra-critical to the bombing campaign - and overall success - of the Allied war effort. Over 7,000 were produced and the last was not retired until 1963 by Canadian forces. While the Lancaster was developed from the Avro Manchester, it too served as the basis for several other large aircraft cousins all its own - the Avro Lincoln Heavy Bomber and the Avro York four-engined transports were two of its offspring.

Avro proceeded with the design of a new four-engined transport based on its Lancaster under the "Type 685" designation. To expedite its development, the new aircraft retained the wing sections, tail unit and undercarriage of the original and had an all-new slab-sided fuselage added for improved internal volume. A double-finned rudder arrangement was seated at the extreme aft-end of the aircraft (just as in the Lancaster) and the cockpit flight deck was fitted at the extreme front end of the aircraft with good views over the nose. The operating crew numbered four.

Power stemmed from 4 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 24 series liquid-cooled inline piston engines developing 1,280 horsepower each. Performance specs went on to include a maximum speed of 300 miles per hour, a range out to 3,000 miles, a service ceiling of 23,000 feet and a rate-of-climb of 820 feet-per-minute.

In 1942, the Air Ministry laid out Specification C.1/42 calling for a transport-minded aircraft and this led to interest in the Avro project of which three prototypes were ordered (four were eventually built). LV626 was the first to fly on July 5th, 1942 but, due to the revised aerodynamics of the new aircraft (when compared to the Lancaster), there proved issues with stability and control which led to the adoption of a triple-finned tail unit. Satisfied, the RAF took the transport into service and the series eventually stocked the inventories of over twenty of its squadrons. Several special groups also operated the type and some were even modified to serve in the VIP role. Beyond the RAF, the aircraft was also used by allies in Australia, France and South Africa. Total production reached 259 units (including prototype examples).

Initial military production models were the York C.I of which 208 examples were manufactured by Avro with a single unit being built by Victory Aircraft of Canada. The Canadian company ramped up for larger-scale production but the war ended after just one was completed and parts for a further five were made. The York C.II became a "one-off" prototype fitting 4 x Bristol Hercules XVI air-cooled radial piston engines - this form was not adopted for service.

The York found gainful employment in the civilian market even during the war years - delivered to British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) during February of 1944 for overseas routes. The series endured into the post-war years as well, taking part in the Berlin Airlift (1948-1949) and in airliner and cargo-hauling service ventures. At least forty-four were operated as civilian-market-minded York Mk.Is and these served the nations of Australia, Argentina, Canada, Iran, Lebanon, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

The RAF Museum at Cosford holds an Avro 685 in its collection.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (298mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Avro York I's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (259)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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