|Bert Hinkler's Avro Avian displayed at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia|
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Royal Canadian Air Force
South African Air Force
Chinese Naval Air Service
Estonian Air Force
The Avro Avian was a series of British light aircraft designed and built by Avro in the 1920s and '30s. While the various versions of the Avian were sound aircraft, they were comprehensively outsold by the de Havilland Moth and its descendants.
Design and development
The Avro 581 Avian prototype was designed and built to compete in the Lympne light aircraft trials at Lympne Aerodrome in September 1926. Its wooden fuselage was based on that of the Avro 576 autogyro, but it was fitted with conventional biplane wings and powered by a 70 hp (50 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Genet engine. It performed well at the trials, but was eliminated due to engine failure.
Production aircraft were designated Type 594 and were built in a number of versions, mainly powered by Cirrus engines. A version with a welded steel tube fuselage was produced in 1929 as the Avro 616 Avian IVM to meet overseas requirements for an easier-to-repair structure. This version was built in the largest numbers, with approximately 190 built.
While outsold by the de Havilland Moth and its derivatives, which first flew more than a year earlier than the Avian, the Avian was used extensively as a civil tourer or trainer, with many being sold overseas, Avians being licence-built (or assembed) by the Whittesley Manufacturing Co., Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA, and the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company, Canada, as well as by Avro itself.
After further modifications to wings and undercarriage as the Avro 581E, Hinkler used this aircraft for a series of long-distance flights, culminating in a 15½-day solo flight from Croydon, UK to Darwin, Australia. In 1998 Lang Kidby recreated this flight in a 1927 Type 594 Avian VH-UFZ (ex G-AUFZ)
Avro Avian 594 Avian III (SN R3/AV/101) was owned by Lady Mary Heath and Amelia Earhart. Earhart's Avian had an 84 hp (63 kW) Cirrus Mk II engine. It was originally registered to Lady Heath on 29 October 1927 and given the UK aircraft marking G-EBUG. When Earhart brought it to the United States it was assigned "unlicensed aircraft identification mark" 7083; aircraft not officially certificated in the United States were allowed to be flown as unlicensed but identified aircraft. Avian 7083 was used on Earhart's first long solo flight, which occurred just as Amelia was coming into the national spotlight. By making the trip in August 1928, she became the first woman to fly solo across the North American continent and back. In 2001 Carlene Mendita recreated this flight in Greg Herrick's Type 594 Avian which he had purchased from Lang Kidby. At the time Herrick purchased the Avian from Kidby, two years prior, it was the oldest flying aircraft in Australia. It is now based in Minneapolis, Minnestoa.
An Avian (Red Rose) was used by Bill Lancaster on a successful long distance flight to Australia, and another (Southern Cross Minor) on his final record attempt to South Africa in 1933.
In July 1930, Winifred Brown won the King's Cup Race flying Cirrus III Avian. One Avian, piloted by Sydney Thorn, took part in the Challenge International de Tourisme 1930 with moderate success (16th place).
A single Genet-powered Avian II was bought by the Royal Air Force, while Avians were also bought by the South African Air Force, the Chinese Naval Air Service, the Estonian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Famed aviator Beryl Markham used an Avian extensively in East Africa in the 1930s.
- Avro 581 Avian
- First prototype, one 70 hp (52 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Genet.
- Avro 581A
- Modified first prototype, one 85 hp (63 kW) ADC Cirrus and reduced span wings.
- Avro 581E
- Further modified Avro 581A for long distance flights, with new wings and modified fuselage.
- Avro 594 Avian I
- Preproduction aircraft, two built.
- Avro 594 Avian II
- Initial production, 85 hp (63 kW) Cirrus II engine, nine built.
- Avro 594 Avian III
- Modified engine mount and tubular steel struts, 33 built.
- Avro 594 Avian IIIA
- 95 hp (71 kW) Cirrus III engine, 58 built.
- Avro 594 Avian IV
- Revised undercarriage and ailerons, 90 built.
- Avro 605 Avian
- Two Avro 594 Avian IIIs were converted into floatplanes.
- Avro 616 Avian IVM
- Steel tube fuselage. Powered by 105 hp (78 kW) Cirrus Hermes I or 100 hp (75 kW) Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major, approximately 190 built.
- Avro 616 Sports Avian
- Version for racing with reduced drag, 16 built.
- Avro 616 Avian IVA
- modified one-off long range version for Charles Kingsford Smith, Southern Cross Junior, 120 hp (90 kW) de Havilland Gipsy II engine, with additional fuel tank and revised 30 ft span wings.
- Avro 616 Avian V
- Long range single-seater again built for Charles Kingsford Smith, Southern Cross Minor. Bill Lancaster would later attempt to fly solo from England to South Africa in this aircraft, and die in the attempt.
- Avro 625 Avian Monoplane
- Low-wing monoplane development, two built.
Avian IV, SE-ADT, construction nr 318, is preserved in good condition and displayed in a café in a shopping center at Arlanda Stad, close to Arlanda Airport north of Stockholm, Sweden. Two Avro Avians were on the Australian register in 2009. They are currently stored in the Adelaide Soaring Club hangar at Gawler, South Australia. One is registered VH-UQE, and is apparently airframe construction no. 531. In Canada, the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin has a Genet powered Avian IVM CF-CDV c/n 316, the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton has a replica Avian IIIA (possibly on loan) painted as G-CAVB as a memorial to a heroic flight by Wop May when he flew diphtheria medicine mid-winter to a village where an outbreak was occurring on the Canadian prairies. The Herrick Collection in Anoka, Minnesota has an Avian IV c/n R3/AV/127 (ex- Avian II VH-UFZ) painted as N7083/G-EBUG to represent an aircraft Amelia Earhart flew across the United States in 1928-1929. G-EBOV, the prototype Avro Avian, is on permanent display in the Queensland Museum.
Specifications (Avian IVM)
Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1
- Crew: two
- Length: 24 ft 3 in (7.39 m)
- Wingspan: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m)
- Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
- Wing area: 245 ft² (22.8 m²)
- Empty weight: 1,005 lb (456 kg)
- Loaded weight: 1,523 lb (691 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × A.D.C Cirrus Hermes I inline piston engine, 105 hp (78 kW)
- Maximum speed: 105 mph (91 kn, 169 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 90 mph (78 kn, 145 km/h)
- Range: 360 mi (313 nmi, 579 km)
- Service ceiling: 12,500 ft (3,800 m)
- Rate of climb: 600 ft/min (3.0 m/s)
- Wing loading: 6.21 lb/ft² (30.4 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 0.069 hp/lb (0.113 kW/kg)
- Wop May "The Race against Death – Mercy flight in an Avian."
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Jackson 1990, p. 241.
- Jackson 1990, pp. 249, 256.
- Jackson 1990, p. 265.
- Donald 1997, pp. 78–79.
- Payne, Stephen, ed. Canadian Wings (Douglas & McIntyre, Ltd., 2006), p.162 & p.163 caption.
- Payne, p.162.
- Jackson 1990, p. 273.
- Jackson 1974, p. 114.
- Payne, pp.162-163.
- "The King's Cup: Miss W. Brown's Win, A Record Entry." Flight, 11 July 1930 via flightglobal.com. Retrieved: 12 June 2010.
- Jackson 1990, p. 243.
- Jackson 1990, pp. 243–245.
- Jackson 1974, p. 120
- Aircraft that took part in the Spanish Civil War
- File:Avro 534 Avian IV SE-ADTinStockholm.jpg
- Bezmylov, Andrei. "Avro 594 Avian." airliners.net. Retrieved: 16 July 2010.
- Jackson 1974, p.123.
- Jackson 1990, p. 272.
- Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
- Jackson, A.J. Avro Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 2nd edition, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-834-8.
- Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft since 1919, Volume 1. London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-10006-9.
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