In July 1913, the British A.V. Roe (Avro) Co. tested its first model 504 aircraft, and numerous variants followed—based upon the type of engine installed. The Avro 504 briefly saw combat in 1914-1915, but was quickly identified as obsolete and relegated to training duty. As a trainer, it gained fame for its simple, sturdy construction and superior handling—characteristics which made the Avro 504 one of the most impressive and widely produced training aircraft of World War I.
After America entered WW I, it took many months to build the training facilities needed by the US Army Air Service. Meanwhile, many American student pilots went overseas for flight training. Those sent to Great Britain learned on the Avro 504K trainer before advancing to combat aircraft. The Air Service eventually established its main training center at Issoudun, France, and in July 1918, the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) commanders ordered 52 Avro 504K aircraft for teaching aerobatics at Issoudun. After the war, the Air Service brought a few Avro 504K aircraft back to the United States, and they remained in training service for several years. Using original parts, the Royal Canadian Air Force's Aircraft Maintenance and Development Unit built the aircraft on display in 1966-1967 with a 110-hp Le Rhone J rotary engine. It arrived at the Museum in May 2003, and is painted to represent one of the Air Service Avro 504K trainers flying at the Third Aviation Instruction Center, Issoudun, France, in 1918. TECHNICAL NOTES: Maximum speed: 95 mph Ceiling: 13,000 ft. Weight: 1,830 lbs. Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.
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