|Avro Athena T.1|
|First flight||12 June 1948|
|Primary user||Royal Air Force|
|Number built||22 (including prototypes)|
The Avro 701 Athena was a British advanced trainer aircraft built by Avro in the late 1940s. It was designed to replace the North American Harvard in the Royal Air Force, but was bought only in small numbers, the competing Boulton Paul Balliol being preferred.
Design and development
The Athena was designed to meet the requirements of Air Ministry Specification T.7/45 for a three-seat advanced trainer powered by a turboprop engine for the RAF. The Athena was an all-metal low-winged monoplane, with a side-by-side cockpit. The Air Ministry rethought its requirements in 1947 and replaced the original specification with Specification T.14/47, which specified the use of a Rolls-Royce Merlin 35 piston engine, large stocks of which were held in store.
Despite the change in specification, the first three prototypes were of the turboprop-powered Athena T.1, the first of which, powered by an Armstrong Siddeley Mamba engine, flew on 12 June 1948 at Woodford Aerodrome. The Merlin-powered Athena T.2 first flew on 1 August 1948, and was evaluated against the similar Boulton Paul Balliol.
A small production run of 15 Athenas was ordered for the RAF, but the Balliol was preferred, and no further Athenas were ordered.
The 15 production Athenas were used by the RAF from 1950  for armament training at the RAF Flying College at RAF Manby. A single aircraft was loaned back to Avro and given the civil registration G-ALWA for a demonstration tour of India. No sales resulted and it was returned to the RAF.
- Athena T.1
- Turboprop-powered prototype. One 1,010 hp (750 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Mamba 1 engine. Two built.
- Athena T.1A
- Single prototype powered by 1,400 hp (1,040 kW) Rolls-Royce Dart 1 engine. Second prototype to fly.
- Athena T.2
- Trainer to Spec. T.14/47 powered by 1,280 hp (950 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin 35. Four prototypes plus 15 production.
- Royal Air Force
- Aircraft Instrument Experimental Unit, Martlesham Heath (one T2 in 1951)
- Central Flying School, Little Rissington (two T2s 1949-1950)
- Empire Test Pilot's School, Farnborough (one T2 development aircraft)
- Royal Aircraft Establishment (two aircraft)
- RAF College at Manby (ten aircraft 1950-1955)
Accidents and incidents
Two of the 22 aircraft were lost in flying accidents:
- T2 VR569 of the Aircraft Instrument Experimental Unit was written off at Wilby, Suffolk on 27 June 1951. Aircraft broke up in spiral dive after loss of control in cloud, two crew killed.
- T2 VR570 crashed before delivery on 20 March 1950.
Specifications (Athena T.2)
Data from Avro Aircraft since 1908.
- Crew: two 
- Length: 37 ft 3½ in (11.37 m)
- Wingspan: 40 ft 0 in (12.20 m)
- Height: 12 ft 11 in (3.94 m)
- Wing area: 270 ft² (25.1 m²)
- Empty weight: 6,540 lb (2,973 kg)
- Loaded weight: 9,383 lb (4,265 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Merlin 35 V-12 liquid-cooled piston engine, 1,280 hp (954 kW)
- Maximum speed: 293 mph (255 kn, 472 km/h) at 20,000 ft
- Cruise speed: 223 mph (194 kn, 359 km/h)
- Range: 550 mi (478 nmi, 886 km)
- Service ceiling: 29,000 ft (8,840 m)
- Rate of climb: 2,050 ft/min (10.4 m/s)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Jackson 1990, p. 431.
- Jackson 1990, p. 432.
- Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-57, 1st edition London: Putnam, 1957.
- "Milestones of Flight, 1950". Archived 2 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine. RAF Museum. Retrieved: 27 May 2007.
- Taylor, M.J.H., ed. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Jane's Publishing Company, 1989. ISBN 1-85170-324-1.
- "British flight test fatal accidents: 1946-1970." Archived 18 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.| Test Flying Memorial Project. Retrieved: 24 October 2009.
- Jackson 1990, pp. 433–434.
- Although the original specification was for a three-seat aircraft, when delivered to the RAF, the third seat was deleted.
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