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Avro 500 & 502

The Avro Type E, Type 500, and Type 502 made up a family of early British military aircraft, regarded by Alliott Verdon Roe as his firm’s first truly successful design.
The aircraft was first flown on 3 March 1912 by Wilfred Parke, and while top speed and rate of climb did not meet expectations, the aircraft excelled in every other way.
However, its performance was not up to Roe’s expectations, and a second example was built, modified to take the much lighter 50 hp (37 kW) Gnome air-cooled rotary engine.
This first flew on 8 May 1912, and a height of 2,000 ft (610 m) was reached in five minutes.
The next day the aircraft was flown from Brooklands to Laffan’s Plain, covering the 17 miles (28 km) in 20 minutes.

The same day it demonstrated its ability to meet the requirements laid down by the War Office in the requirements for a “Military Aircraft” that had been published in connection with the forthcoming Military Aeroplane Competition, and the authorities were impressed enough to buy the aircraft and placed an order for two more examples of the aircraft, which Roe now renamed the Avro 500.

The type proved an immediate success in service, and orders for another four machines plus five single-seat derivatives (designated the Type 502 by Avro) soon followed.
Other examples produced included six for the British Admiralty’s 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, which was 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.

18 aircraft built.



7 built.


11 built.







30 ft 6 in (9.30 m)

29 ft (9 m) Avro 500


36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)

Wing area

330 sq ft (31 m2)

Empty weight

1,100 lb (499 kg)

900 lb (408.2 kg) Avro 500

Gross weight

1,650 lb (748 kg)

1,300 lb (589.7 kg) Avro 500


1 × E.N.V. Type D 4-cylinder water-cooled inline piston engine.


2-bladed Avro fixed-pitch propeller


Maximum speed

50 mph (80 km/h, 43 kn)

61 mph (53 kn; 98 km/h) Avro 500


6 hours

Rate of climb

170 ft/min (0.86 m/s)

440 ft/min (2.2 m/s) Avro 500.







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