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 Daily Mail light aeroplane trials at Lympne 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 . After these trials, where it was eliminated due to engine failure, it was re-engined with an 85 hp (63 kW) ADC Cirrus engine and sold (as the Avro 581E) to Bert Hinkler, who used it for a series of long-distance flights, culminating in a 15½-day solo flight from Croydon, UK to Darwin, Australia .
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 Avain, the Avian was used extensively as a civil tourer or trainer, with many being sold overseas, Avians being built (or assembed) by the Whittesley Manufacturing Co., Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA, and the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Co., Canada, as well as by Avro itself .
Avro Avian 594 Avian III, SN: R3/AV/101, was owned by Lady Mary Heath and Amelia Earhart. The Avian Amelia flew 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 Amelia 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.
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.
Specifications (Avian IVM)
Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1
Published - July 2009
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