Avro 504

Safe and easy to handle, the modest but much-loved Avro 504 was the machine in which many housands of pilots learned to fly in the wire-and-fabric era. Developed from the smaller Avro 500, the 504 was a pleasantly proportioned two-seat biplane, initially with a square cowling around its 80-hp engine. It had a distinctive comma-shaped rudder and an ingeniously simple undercarriage with a long “toothpick” central skid.
When the aircraft made its debut in July 1913, British pioneer. Alliott Verdon Roe, was still struggling to establish his Avro aircraft company. The 504 changed his fortunes for the better. It quickly gained popularity and over 10.000 were eventually built, using a number of different engines.
Both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service sent the 504 into action in the early stages of World War I. Its roles included reconnaissance and bombing – three 504s memorably damaged the Zeppelin works at Friedrichshafen in a daring raid on 21 November 1914. However, the aircraft was soon recognized as being more suitable as a military trainer.
After the war many 504ks were turned to civilian use. Countless members of the public had their first experience of flight in the type, taken up for joy rides by itinerant pleasure-flight operators.
In its later 504N version the aircraft continued to serve as a military trainer into the mid – 1930s.