Sunday, 31 October 2010

(1920-1936) Avro 504

The Hellenic Navy used two distinct versions of the Avro 504; the 504 K during the Asia Minor Campaign, and the 504 O/N during the interwar period.

Near Dekeleia airport, following a forced landing during training. The plane belongs to the Naval Aviation Service (1920, from the collection of P. Tsekas)Greece received a small number of Avro 504 K trainers after World War 1. They were used to train pilots in Dekeleia during the Asia Minor campaign. The photo above shows a damaged plane belonging to the Naval Aviation Service (taken near Dekeleia airport in 1920; from the collection of P. Tsekas). The colours are not certain, but I chose clear doped linen, which is the most probable as the Greeks hadn't started using the silver colour yet.
Greek Avro 504 N
In 1925, the Greeks ordered six of the newest variant, the Avro 504 N/O, as part of a very large modernisation programme. The 504 N had a number of design modifications, with most important the use of the much stronger Armstrong-Siddeley Lynx engine. It also had new, modified ailerons, no top centre section of the top wing, two 18 gal. fuel Greek Avro 504 Otanks below the top wing instead of one on top of the top wing, as well as a new undercarriage.
The naval version, 504 O, was different in that a vertical stabiliser was added, and of course it had floats.

The text below is from a contemporary British publication describing the strengthening of the Greek Naval Air Force during the late 1920s:
"The Director of the Greek Air Force at the Ministry of Marine, Captain Demestichas, during 1925 submitted to the Superior Council of Marine a long report, with suggestions for the reorganisation of the Naval Air Force.
Capt. Demestichas, as a justification of his views, recalls that practically all the countries, without excluding those neighbouring Greece, have for some time past considered the exceptional importance of aviation, as they are of the opinion that a powerful Air Force constitutes the best weapon for the defence of the country and is at the same time an efficient means to ensure the necessary mastery to the naval forces and the communications on sea.
A powerful airforce, Capt. Demestichas declares, will render important services, the principal being: to supply the first information regarding the enemy; to attempt the destruction of his naval forces and to attack the enemy fleet in its own base. For the whole duration of the war, the Air Force shall keep a constant watch on all the seas, chase and attack the submarines and the enemy ships; it will continually send wireless messages to the chiefs of the naval units during combats; it will discover the places where the enemy has put mines, so that the Greek ships may protect themselves against the danger; it will put up aerial fights against the enemy attacking, in conjunction with the Army Air Force, the means of communications and the military units; it will conduct the long-distance bombing by the big naval units; it will supply information regarding the movements of the enemy; it will facilitate the action of friendly ships by means of smoke bombs during the day and with illuminating bombs at night; Lastly, it will defend the country against aerial attacks by the enemy which, if not prevented, would have a disastrous effect on the morale of the inhabitants.
In order to achieve the above aims, it is essential to have aircraft of high speed and great manoeuvrability, so as to chase and destroy the enemy machines. It is also necessary to have aircraft for reconnaissance and for carrying out raids into the enemy's territory, and also heavy bombing machines and of long range, suitable in addition to be used for night work.
At the end of his report, Capt. Demestichas suggests the acquisition on the part of the Greek Government of 15-18 scout machines, 15-18 fighting and reconnaissance aircraft, 3 twin-engined machines for heavy bombing at long distance, 12 heavy bombing machines and 12 torpedo-carriers. He also suggests the purchase of 12 school machines for training purposes.
In this connection, it may be stated that 12 school machines have already been ordered, six of which are of the Avro "Lynx" type, which arrived in Greece at the end of April, 1925.
The purchase of all these machines demands a sum of about £400,000, and Capt. Demestichas suggests that these expenses should be entered in the balance-sheet of the Ministry of the Marine for the next two financial years.
The report, which has been considered by the Superior Council of Marine, was entirely approved and was communicated to the Ministry of Marine, to the Prime Minister and the Council of National Defence.
By special law published in 1925, a Greek Air Force Fund was endowed with a large amount of valuable property in Athens and other parts of Greece. Also, the Fund was authorised to collect voluntary contributions from all Greeks at home and abroad. By this organisation it was hoped that the Fund would collect sufficient finance to obviate the necessity of burdening the Budget with any special expense for the provision of an efficient Air Force.
According to recent information, the Municipality of Salonika has contributed sufficient money for the purchase of twenty-five aeroplanes, Kavala, the famous Macedonian tobacco town, has offered ten aircraft, and other Greek towns have offered smaller numbers. The result of the Fund would appear to be satisfactory.
A Carte Postale reading 'Aeroplane type AVRO - Palaion Phaleron 1926' (source
The chief Naval Air Station is at Phaleron Bay, with an additional Seaplane Base at Suda Bay, Crete, and the machines used up to the point of re-organisation were D.H.9s (240 h.p. "Puma" engines) for reconnaissance purposes and Sopwith "Camels" for pursuit purposes.
A number of Naval officers have been sent abroad for training, and from these will be selected the training staff for the new reorganised service..."


Operational History
1920-22 - A few Avro 504 K used for training during the Asia Minor campaign.
April 1925 - The first six Avro 504 O and N arrive in Greece.
1934-35 - The State Aircraft Factory in Phaliron constructs a small number of Avro 504 O and N aircraft, before turning into the licensed construction of Avro 621 Tutors.
1936 - Withdrawn from service. This date is not certain, as records show that between January 1938 and 28 October 1940, 28 Avro 504N/0 aicraft were repaired at the State Aircraft Factory.

Avro 504 K
Length: 8.97 m
Height: 3.17 m
Wingspan: 10.97 m
Wing area: 330 sqr ft
Weight: (empty) 558 kg, (max take-off) 830 kg
Engine: 1 × Le Rhône Rotary, 110 hp (82 kW)
Armament: 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun, up to 4x104 kg bombs
Range: 402 km
Speed: (max) 145 km/h , (cruise) 126 km/h
Ceiling: 4,875 m
Climb rate: 3.6 m/s
Climb to 3,500 ft (1,065 m): 5 min
Crew: 2

Avro 504 N
Length: 8.69 m
Height: 3.33 m
Wingspan: 10.97 m
Wing area: 320 sqr ft
Weight: (empty) 718 kg, (max take-off) 1,016 kg
Engine: 1 x Armstrong Siddeley Lynx IV (of 160 hp or 180 hp) or Lynx IVC of 215 hp
Armament: 1 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis gun, up to 4x104 kg bombs
Range: 402 km
Speed: (max) 161 km/h
Ceiling: 4,450 m
Crew: 2

For Gamers and Game designers
One of the most successful trainers of its time, unusually for modern Greek history, the Avro 504N was a brand new model when the Greeks started using it.

For Modellers
Manuele Villa's computer models of the 504K (left) and 504N (right) for MS Flight Simulator:
Manuele Villa's MS FS model of the 504K Manuele Villa's MS FS model of the 504N


Post a Comment