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Avro York (Type 685)

Four-Engined Heavy Transport / Airliner Aircraft

United Kingdom | 1944

"The Avro York transport of World War 2 held roots in the classic Avro Lancaster heavy bomber of the same conflict."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/18/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this 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.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Avro York I Four-Engined Heavy Transport / Airliner Aircraft.
4 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 24 liquid-cooled engines developing 1,280 horsepower each.
298 mph
480 kph | 259 kts
Max Speed
22,999 ft
7,010 m | 4 miles
Service Ceiling
2,983 miles
4,800 km | 2,592 nm
Operational Range
820 ft/min
250 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Avro York I Four-Engined Heavy Transport / Airliner Aircraft.
78.4 ft
23.90 m
O/A Length
102.0 ft
(31.10 m)
O/A Width
16.4 ft
(5.00 m)
O/A Height
40,014 lb
(18,150 kg)
Empty Weight
66,139 lb
(30,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Notable series variants as part of the Avro York (Type 685) family line.
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.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Avro York (Type 685). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 259 Units

Contractor(s): Avro - United Kingdom / Victory Aircraft - Canada
National flag of Argentina National flag of Australia National flag of Canada National flag of France National flag of Iran National flag of Lebanon National flag of South Africa National flag of the United Kingdom

[ Australia; Argentina; Canada; France; Iran; Lebanon; South Africa; United Kingdom ]
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Image of the Avro York (Type 685)
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Avro York (Type 685) Four-Engined Heavy Transport / Airliner Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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