Avro 500

The Avro Type E, Type 500, and Type 502 made up a family of early British military aircraft, regarded by Alliott Verdon Roe as the first truly successful design by his company. 

Avro 500
Class Aircraft
Type Utility
Manufacturer Avro
Production Period 1950 - 1953
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1912
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Avro 1950 1953 22 View

The Type E biplane was designed in response to a War Office specification for a two-seat aircraft capable (amongst other things) of carrying a 350 lb (160 kg) payload with a total endurance of 4.5 hours. The Avro submission was based on the Avro Duigan design and was originally named Military Biplane 1. It was a two-bay biplane with equal-span, unstaggered wings, and a boxy, rectangular-section fuselage. Lateral control was by wing-warping. 

During initial trials, it soon became apparent that while top speed and rate-of-climb were below the War Office specification, the aircraft excelled in every other way. The second prototype, however, first flew on 3 May 1912 and sufficiently impressed the War Office for them to buy the prototype and place an order for two more examples, which Roe now renamed the 500. The type proved an immediate success, and orders for another four machines plus five single-seat derivatives (designated 502 by Avro) soon followed. Other examples produced included six for the British Admiralty Air Department, one presented to the government of Portugal (paid for by public subscription), one kept by Avro as a company demonstrator, and one bought by a private individual, J. Laurence Hall (commandeered by the War Office at the outbreak of World War I). The first prototype was destroyed in a crash on 29 June 1913 that killed its student pilot. 

Avro 500s were flown by the British armed forces during the first years of the war, mostly as trainers. In service, most were fitted with ailerons and a revised rudder.

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Capacity: 1 seat for observer, instructor, or passenger
  • Length: 29 ft 0 in (8.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
  • Wing area: 330 ft (30.7 m)
  • Empty weight: 900 lb (408 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,360 lb (617 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Gnome rotary, 50 hp (37 kW)each


  • Maximum speed: 61 mph (98 km/h)
  • Endurance: 2 hours 30 min
  • Rate of climb: 440 ft/min (2.2 m/s)

End notes