Avro 504J &
Avro 504K

The Avro 504J and 504K were the primary training aircraft used during the First World War, built in greater numbers than any other British aircraft of the period.
 
First flown at Brooklands in 1913, and still in RAF service in 1944, the Avro 504 was a development of the Avro 500. It was built by A.V. Roe & Company (Avro) in greater numbers than any other British aircraft during the First World War.
 
Ultimately built by at least 18 contractors, the total number built during the First World War is unclear. However, there is general agreement that more than 8,000 were built during the First World War and the grand total, including aircraft built overseas, exceeds 10,000 aircraft.
 
Please note that due to the wide range and variances across the Avro 504, Types 504 to 504H and 504L to 504R are described separately on this website.

 

Avro 504J and Avro 504K


Avro 504J B3168 AV Roe built Avro 504J B3168 is an Avro 504J built by AV Roe & Co Ltd.
 
From mid-1915 onward, the Avro 504 was withdrawn from operations in France and it became the standard training aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
 
The most significant versions, Avro 504J used the 100hp Gnome Monosoupape or the 80hp Le Rhone rotary engine, whereas the 504K could accommodate these and a wide range of other engine types.
 
The Avro 504J (of which 2,070 were built) was in essence, an Avro 504A fitted with a 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape engine.
 
Many aircraft that were initially ordered as Avro 504A, were eventually completed as the Avro 504J. Valuable work in the application for training was performed by the Smith-Barry School of Special Flying, based at Gosport and using the Avro 504J and 504K. They helped in formalising the instructional syllabus. teaching operational flying techniques to prepare pilots for combat, whilst flying at the Front
 
Towards the end of 1917, the shortage of rotary engines for Avro 504s became acute and so a modified engine mount arrangement was needed. The solution was a design whereby different interface plates would allow many types of rotary engines to be fitted, all within a smooth circular cowling. This model received the designation Avro 504K.
 
Avro 504K A3-4 Canberra Avro 504K A3-4 on display at the Australian National War Memorial, Canberra.
 
Engine choices for the 504K included the 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape, the 80 or 110 hp Le Rhone, and the 130 hp Clerget, amongst others.
 
By far, the most successful version of the Avro 504 was the Avro 504K, with a grand total of 4,997 being built.
 
In late 1917, single-seat converted Avro 504Js and Avro 504Ks were used to equip several Home Defence squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC). These aircraft were fitted with a Lewis gun, mounted above the wing, and were powered by 100 hp Gnome or 110 hp Le Rhône engines. 274 converted Avro 504Js and Avro504K's were in use by eight different Home Defence squadrons during 1918.
 
At the end of the war, the type continued in service as the standard trainer of the newly formed RAF, until the late 1920s. The last UK-built Avro 504Ks were delivered in February 1927.
 
Large numbers of surplus aircraft were made available for sale, mainly via the Aircraft Disposal Co (Airdisco). These were released for civil or military use and more than 300 504Ks were placed on the civil register in Britain. These were predominantly used for tuition and for joy-riding pleasure flights around the UK and Europe. Most of the aircraft had the dual controls removed and the rear cockpit was modified to accommodate two passengers.
 
After the War, a variety of derivative machines were also produced from war surplus machines by a host of independent operators. These were again used for joy riding and they accounted for the popularisation of aviation, all over Britain. It is strongly suggested tha the type gave many members of the public their first ever experience of an aeroplane flight.
 
Notable operators, included the Berkshire Aviation Co Ltd, Bournemouth Aviation Co. Ltd who operated 5 aircraft each, Central Aircraft Co. Ltd who operated 8 aircraft. C.L. Pashley Ltd, Cornwall Aviation Co Ltd, Eastbourne Aviation Co. Ltd and The Grahame-White Aviation Co. Ltd all operated 12 aircraft each.
 
Handley Page Ltd, Kingsbury Aviation Co. Ltd, London & Provincial Aviation Co. Ltd and Navarro Aviation Co. Ltd operated 3 aircraft whilst and Vickers Ltd Flying School had four aircraft. In addition to these, a number were also operated by smaller, often more transient companies.
 
Avro 504K - Fleet of 5 joyriding aircraft Southport Part of the joy-riding fleet of Avro 504Ks operated by Avro Transport Co seen on Southport beach.
 
A.V. Roe & Co. Ltd themselves also entered this market in the form of the Avro Transport Company, with aircraft based all over England and Wales. Operating bases were dispersed around the coast like an itinerary for a British beach tour and included Blackpool, Southport, Fleetwood, Morecambe, Waterloo Sands (Liverpool) and Weston-super-Mare.
 
The vast supply of surplus Avro 504 airframes were available direct from either the Aircraft Disposal Company or from the Avro Storage Facility at Alexandra Park. These formed the basis of a bewildering range of additional variants boasting different engines and passenger arrangements. Those variable specifications and types that flew under Avro designations (other than 504) will be covered separately.
 
The designation Avro 504K Mk.II was applied in 1924, to an unregistered prototype aircraft that combined features of the Avro 504K with the Avro 504N. The aircraft used an Avro 504K fuselage and a surplus 100hp Gnome Monosoupape married to an Avro 504N undercarriage and wings. Although the type was not put into production, 30 examples of a similar type were actually produced under-licence in Mexico, as the Avro Anahuac.
 
In addition, three surplus RAF Avro 504N (G-ADGB, G-ADGM and G-ADGN) were converted in 1935, to be powered by a 130hp Clerget engine. These were used for joy-riding, thereby becoming roughly equivalent to the original Avro 504K Mk.II.
 
Conversion of one other aircraft (G-ADGC) was started, but not completed.
 
Avro 504K M-MABE Cuatro Vientos Avro 504K replica M-MABE on display at the Spanish Air Force Museum, Cuatro Vientos.
 
Extensive military export orders for the Avro 504K were received and 30 or more of the type were operated by each of the following nations: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Dutch East Indies, India, Japan, Portugal and South Africa. Some 331 Avro 504K were also manufactured overseas in Australia, Japan, Canada, Dutch East Indies and Belgium.
 
Notably, a Sunbeam Dyak-powered Avro 504K was constructed in Australia (G-AUBG) and it was the first aircraft to be operated by Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Services (QANTAS), later to become Australia’s national airline.
 
Avro 504K replica Sunbeam Dyak Sydney Replica of Sunbeam Dyak-powered Avro 504K G-AUBG, the first aircraft operated by QANTAS.
 
Unofficial derivatives of the Avro 504 K were built in Japan and Russia, as follows:
 
  •  K1Y: Two-seat training aircraft for the Japanese Navy, a Japanese derivative of the 504K to replace the latter in Japanese Navy service. Built by Yokosuka, Nakajima, Kawanishi (as the Type 0) and Watanabe. Designated Type 13 Landplane Trainer (K1Y1) or with twin floats the Type 13 Seaplane Trainer (K1Y2). 130 h.p. Gasuden Benz inline engine.
 
  •  U-1 (Uchebnyi-1) or Avrushka (Little Avro): This was a Russian version of the 504K and was produced by the Ilyushin Design Bureau and was fitted with a 120hp M.2 engine. 674 U-1 were built with a seaplane variant designated MU-1 (73 built).
 
Avro 504K replica G-EROE ex LV-X430 Airworthy Avro 504K replica G-EROE ex LV-X430 photographed at Sywell, Northampton.

 

Avro 504K Specification


Powerplant              100hp Gnome Monosoupape 110hp Le Rhone
Span 36 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight 1,800 lb 1,829 lb
Capacity and armament Trainer: 2 crew, unarmed. Anti-Zeppelin Home Defence aircraft: single pilot, Lewis gun on centre section
Maximum Speed 83 mph at 6,500 ft 95 mph
Range / endurance 3 hours 3 hours / 250 miles
 

Variants & Number built

Avro 504J Two-seat training aircraft. 100 h.p. Gnome or 80 h.p. Le Rhône engine
Avro 504K Two-seat training aircraft. As the 504J with a universal mount to take different engines. Postwar aircraft reconditioning was undertaken to Specfication 19/23 and the final production batch was to Specification 15/26.
Avro 504K Mk.II Two-seat training aircraft featuring 504K fuselage with 504N wings and undercarriage.100hp Gnome or 130hp Clerget engines. Prototype only; 30 similar aircraft built under licence in Mexico as Avro Anahuac; three similar civil conversions from Avro 504N. 
K1Y Japan K1Y Two-seat training aircraft for the Japanese Navy, a Japanese derivative of the 504K to replace the latter in Japanese Navy service.
U-1 Russia The U-1 (Uchebnyi-1) Avrushka (Little Avro) was a version of the Avro 504K developed by the Ilyushin design bureau.
MU-1 MU-1 (Morskoy Uchebnyi-1) - a seaplane version of the U-1
Totals 2,070 504J, 5,328 504K (including 331 built overseas), one 504K Mk.II plus three similar conversions from 504N, 30 Avro Anahuac, 104 K1Y (Japan), 664 U-1, 73 MU-1 (Russia). Grand total: 8,273 aircraft.
 

Survivors


Avro 504K
(A3-4 / H2174)       
Australian War Memorial in Canberra, ACT
Avro 504K
(H2453 / G-CYFG)
Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.
Avro 504K
(AV-57 / E448)
Finnish Airforce Museum in Tikkakoski, Jyväskylä.

www.airforcemuseum.fi

Avro 504K
(ZK-ACU / 502)
The Vintage Aviator, Foxton Pines, New Zealand (Airworthy)

www.thevintageaviator.co.nz

Avro 504K
(103 / B5405)
Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bodø, Nordland. Reallocated from an Avro 504A that crashed in 1919.

www.luftfartsmuseum.no/

Avro 504K
(H5199 / G-ADEV / BK892 / E3273 / E3404)
Airworthy at the Shuttleworth Collection in Old Warden, Bedfordshire.
Avro 504K
(D7560)
On display at the Science Museum in London. www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
Avro 504K
(E2977 / G-EBHB)
Airworthy on UK register, privately-owned, based RAF Henlow.
Avro 504K
(H2311 / G-ABAA)
Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.
Avro 504K
(E449 / G-EBJE / G-EBKN)
Composite aircraft on display at the RAF Museum Hendon. www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/
Avro 504K Replicas
Avro 504K
(G-AUBG)
QANTAS Founders Museum, Longreach, QLD, Australia.
Avro 504K
(G-CYCK)
Base Borden Military Museum at CFB Borden near Angus, Ontario. On loan from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. www.cafconnection.ca/Borden/Facilities/Museum.aspx
Avro 504K
(E3349)
Luftwaffenmuseum Berlin Gatow, Germany www.mhm-gatow.de/en/the-museum
Avro 504K
(M-MABE)
Spanish Air Force Museum, Cuatro Vientos, Madrid.

www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/museo-del-aire

Avro 504J
(C4451)
Solent Sky Museum, Southamprton
Avro 504K
(H1968)
Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington. www.yorkshireairmuseum.org
Avro 504K
(G-EROE / LV-X430)
Built in Argentina - owner Eric Alliott Verdon-Roe
Avro 504K
(D9029 / G-CYEI)
Nat Museum of USAF, Dayton, Ohio. Built by RCAF Aircraft Maintenance & Dev. www.nationalmuseum.af.mil
 

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