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Avro 504

Biplane Reconnaissance / Biplane Trainer Aircraft

United Kingdom | 1913

"The Avro Type 504 biplane became one of the most remarkable airplane designs to come out of the fighting of World War 1 - over 10,000 were produced."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/28/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The British-originated Avro "Type 504" biplane series of aircraft would become the most-produced and influential aircraft designs of the World War 1 period, being fielded from 1913 into the early part of the 1930s. The design's service originally began as an armed reconnaissance biplane until, eventually, the outmoded series was relegated to the training role with the arrival of new and better-performing fighter aircraft seen in The Great War. However, it was in this new role that the Avro 504 would go on to make a name for itself with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and others for decades to come.

The Avro Type 504 followed tried-and-true design and construction practices for its make-up and was centered around a single engine biplane (over-under) design. Depending on the production variant, the aircraft could seat one or two crewmen and machine gun armament was usually 1 x 7.7mm Lewis machine gun on a trainable, rear-facing mounting at the rear cockpit. Both cockpit positions were of the open-air variety. The aircraft could further be armed with conventional drop bombs at underwing hardpoints for ground-attack sorties. Early production models also contained a landing skid in addition to its fixed landing gears for additional support when landing, though this assembly was removed in future operational forms when found to add little.

Its single Gnome rotary-based engine developed 80 horsepower though, in practice, it was closer rated to 60 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose. Performance figures (Type 504K) included a maximum speed of 95 miles-per-hour though cruising was closer to 75 mph. Range was out to 250 miles and its service ceiling reached 16,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was near 700 feet-per-minute.

The legacy of the Type 504 began when a further development of the Avro "Type 500" basic trainer biplane was drawn up. An order was then placed by the British Royal Navy and Army services and pushed the Type 504 in formal operational service during 1913, just prior to the events beginning the First World War. Early combat experience saw the Type 504 conduct limited strikes against enemy ground targets with the more-than-occasional Zeppelin-busting sortie mixed in. Though a relative success in these critical roles, the advancing technology of the war meant that the Type 504 was drawn back to airman training as soon as 1914 - the year the war began.

Despite this, the Type 504 proved to be a versatile performer as proven by the myriad of variants manufactured and operated and these would, in turn, produce minor structural revisions, new designations for specialized roles, and a plethora of engine fittings. The Type 504K model represented the two-seat version while the 504C was a specialized anti-Zeppelin gunnery platform. The addition of float components in place of the traditional undercarriage produced the Type 504L floatplane while the Type 504M was a transport-minded development. By the end of the war, the series was still in serial production, such was its importance to the British war effort, and would see nearly 600 more units added to the existing grand total of 10,000+ between the years of 1925 and 1932. Newer mounts were designated Type 504N and were of either new-build or conversion measures, the latter pulled form existing stocks of Type 504 aeroplanes. For the British, Type 504s would eventually be superceded by the Avro "Tutor" biplane series in the same training role.

In the end, the remarkable Type 504 series would become one of the most impressive and respected aircraft of its generation. Many-a-military pilot certainly "owed his wings" to having trained on the platform at one point or another and many more civilian pilots would join them throughout the post-war period. The Type 504 would become a mainstay of the famous "Barnstorming" touring groups of the 1920s-1930s as well as going on to become prized collector pieces for avid flyers able to afford the type.

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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 Type 504K Biplane Reconnaissance / Biplane Trainer Aircraft.
1 x Le Rhone 9J air-cooled rotary engine developing 110 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
90 mph
145 kph | 78 kts
Max Speed
15,994 ft
4,875 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
249 miles
400 km | 216 nm
Operational Range
700 ft/min
213 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 Type 504K Biplane Reconnaissance / Biplane Trainer Aircraft.
29.4 ft
8.95 m
O/A Length
35.9 ft
(10.95 m)
O/A Width
10.5 ft
(3.20 m)
O/A Height
1,235 lb
(560 kg)
Empty Weight
1,830 lb
(830 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Avro 504 Biplane Reconnaissance / Biplane Trainer Aircraft .
1 x 0.303" (7.7mm) Lewis Machine Gun on trainable mounting at rear cockpit.
1 x 0.303" (7.7mm) Lewis Machine Gun in fixed, forward-firing mounting over the upper wing member (single-seat / nigh-fighter variants).
Notable series variants as part of the Avro 504 family line.
Type 504 - Initial Production Model developed from the Type 500 basic trainer; powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine generating 80 horsepower.
Type 504A - Featured smaller ailerons; powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine generating 80hp.
Type 504B - Featured larger dorsal fin; powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine generating 80hp.
Type 504C - "Anti-Zeppelin" single seat fighter; powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine generating 80hp.
Type 504D - Powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine generating 80hp.
Type 504E - Re-engineered wings; powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine generating 100hp.
Type 504J - Powered by a Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine generating 100hp.
Type 504K - Standard RAF Two-Seat Trainer Model; universal engine mounting (inline, radial or rotary types).
Type 504L - Floatplane Derivative
Type 504M - Cabin Transport Aircraft
Type 504N - Post-War Conversion Models featuring subtle modifications and redesigns to structure and landing systems; fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Lynx IV radial engines.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Avro 504. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 11,303 Units

Contractor(s): Avro (A.V. Roe) - UK
National flag of Argentina National flag of Australia National flag of Belgium National flag of Bolivia National flag of Brazil National flag of Canada National flag of Chile National flag of China National flag of Denmark National flag of Estonia National flag of Finland National flag of Greece National flag of India National flag of Iran National flag of Ireland National flag of modern Japan National flag of Latvia National flag of Mexico National flag of Mongolia National flag of the Netherlands National flag of New Zealand National flag of Norway National flag of Peru National flag of Poland National flag of Portugal National flag of Russia National flag of South Africa National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Spain National flag of Sweden National flag of Switzerland National flag of Taiwan National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States National flag of Uruguay

[ Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; Greece; Guatemala; India; Iran; Ireland; Japan; Latvia; Malay; Mexico; Mongolia; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Imperial Russia; South Africa; Soviet Union; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan; Thailand (Siam); Turkey; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (90mph).

Graph Average of 75 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Avro 504
Image from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio.
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Image of the Avro 504
Image from the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio.
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Image of the Avro 504
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Image of the Avro 504
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Image of the Avro 504
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Avro 504 Biplane Reconnaissance / Biplane Trainer Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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