Avro 531 Spider

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531 Spider and 538
Avro531 left.png
Role Fighter
Manufacturer Avro
Designer Clifton Britt
First flight April 1918
Number built 2

The Avro 531 Spider was a British fighter aircraft built by Avro during the First World War. It did not proceed past the prototype stage.

Design and development[edit]

The Spider was a sesquiplane with a largely conventional configuration, but it used Warren truss-type interplane struts, hence the appellation "Spider". In tests, the aircraft demonstrated exceptional performance, handling, and pilot visibility. By the time it flew, the War Office had already selected the Sopwith Snipe for mass production.

A second, refined version, the Avro 531A, apparently never was completed, but some of its components seem to have been used to build a derivative design, the Avro 538. This had standard interplane struts and was intended as a racing aircraft. It was never used for this purpose, however, because it was discovered that it had a faulty wing spar, so the Avro firm used it as a hack instead from May 1919 to September 1920.[1]

Specifications (531)[edit]

Data from Avro Aircraft since 1908 [2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Length: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
  • Wingspan: 28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)
  • Height: 7 ft 10 in (2.39 m)
  • Wing area: 189 ft2 (17.6 m2)
  • Empty weight: 963 lb (437 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,517 lb (688 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Clerget 9B air-cooled rotary piston engine, 130 hp (97 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 120 mph (193 km/h)
  • Range: 250[citation needed] miles (400 km)
  • Service ceiling: 19,000 ft (5,970 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,250 ft/min (6.4 m/s)



  1. ^ Donald, p. 77.
  2. ^ Jackson 1990, p.161.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997, ISBN 978-0-7607-0592-6.
  • Jackson, A.J. Avro Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-834-8.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989, p. 93.
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing, File 889, Sheet 94.