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Avro 523 Pike

United Kingdom (1916)
Picture of Avro 523 Pike Short-Range Biplane Bomber Aircraft

Only two Avro Pike bombers were ever completed, these prototypes serving as testbeds for the duration of World War 1.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Avro 523 Pike Short-Range Biplane Bomber Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/7/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Avro (A.V. Roe and Company) was founded in 1910 and based out of Manchester. The firm played a large role from World War 1 into the Cold War and preceded to release such well-known products as the Avro 504 trainer of World War 1 fame, the Avro Lancaster from World War 2 and the Avro Vulcan of the Cold War years. The Avro 523 "Pike" became a lesser-known development to most and, in any event, only two airframes were ever completed and these two never moved on beyond the prototype stage. The Avro 523 was in fact the first Avro company product to be officially designated with a name (Pike). Until now, the aircraft produced by the company were known simply by their in-house model numbers.

Design of the 523 was attributed to engineer Roy Chadwick of Avro, one of the original key members of the firm when joining the company in September of 1911 at age eighteen. The type was conventional by historical standards and consisted of a traditional fuselage frame with a biplane wing arrangement. The biplane wings were set ahead of amidships and featured three bays with parallel support struts. The undercarriage was fixed in place and centered around a wheel pairing under the bulk of the airframe weight forward. The empennage was supported with a simple skid. The tail unit was also conventional. The aircraft was crewed by three personnel that included the pilot and two dedicated gunners - the latter pair in a forward and rear cockpit gun position. All positions were "open air" providing for excellent unobstructed views but exposing the crew to the elements.
Engines were fitted between the upper and lower wing spar and set up in a "pusher" type fashion with the propellers facing rear. Each power plant was a single fitting of a Sunbeam Nubian engine delivering up to 160 horsepower. This supplied the 523 with a given endurance time of about seven hours and a top speed of 97 miles per hour. Empty weight was listed at 4,000lbs with a gross weight equal to 6,064. The 523 managed a wingspan of exactly 60 feet with a running length of just over 39 feet and a height nearing 11 feet, 8 inches.

Standard armament consisted of a 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in a flexible mounting at the forward gunnery cockpit. Similarly, there was a 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in a flexible mount at the rear gunner's compartment, aft of the wings but ahead of the empennage. An optional bombload of 2 x 112lb bombs could be held in an internal bomb bay.

The 523 was developed in response to a British Royal Flying Corps (RFC) requirement for an airframe capable of scouting duties as primary with the role of bombing as secondary. The type would have also stocked the stables of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The primary role would counter the usefulness of German Zeppelins providing vital reconnaissance report by engaging and destroying such targets. The secondary role opened up a tactical advantage for the RFC that could see the 523 engaging enemy land targets and surface ships as needed. First flight of the original Avro 523 prototype occurred in May of 1916 and this was followed by a second version fitting a pair of Green E.6 water-cooled engines. The difference in engines meant that the second prototype received the formal designation of "523A".

The British Admiralty took the Avro prototype under evaluation in November of 1916 and thought the type was already an outdated design when compared to the up and coming contemporaries available elsewhere. As such, the RNAS did not set in motion a procurement contract and the Avro design floundered before being more or less forgotten to history. At the very least, the Avro firm found some use for the two prototypes as aerial testbeds to evaluated various engine and aerodynamic concepts for the rest of the war. The British Admiralty was interested enough in the 523, however, that it ordered two prototypes of a larger version as a long-range bomber - this would become the Avro 529 model.

The RFC went on to procure the Handley-Page O/100 series bombers instead while the RNAS elected to order the Short Bomber for its inventory.






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 Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (97mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Avro 523 Pike's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
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 Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
2
2


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: United Kingdom
Service Year: 1916
Classification Type: Short-Range Biplane Bomber Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Avro - UK
Production Units: 2
Global Operators:
United Kingdom
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Avro 523 Pike model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
39.11 ft


Meters
11.92 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
60.04 ft


Meters
18.3 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
11.68 ft


Meters
3.56 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,999 lb


Kilograms
1,814 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
6,076 lb


Kilograms
2,756 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Sunbeam Nubian engines developing 160 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
97 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
156 kph


Knots
84 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
466 mi


Kilometers
750 km


Nautical Miles
405 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
13,123 ft


Meters
4,000 m


Miles
2.49 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
526 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
160 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
1 x 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in flexible mounting in nose.
1 x 7.7mm Lewis machine gun in flexible mounting in rear cockpit.

OPTIONAL:
2 x 112lb bombs in internal bomb bay
Visual Armory:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Variants: Series Model Variants
• 523 - Original Prototype fitting 2 x Sunbeam Nubian engines of 160 horsepower each.
• 523A - Second prototype fitting 2 x Green E.6 engines.
• 529 - Enlarged version for long-range bomber role; two prototypes completed.