Alliott Verdon Roe was apprenticed at railway works, studied marine engineering, became engineer on merchant ships and then design draughtsman on cars! Won top newspaper prize 1906 for flying model aircraft, enabling him to build 24-hp man-carrying biplane which made 'hops' at Brooklands 1907. Next built triplane, despite only 9-hp flew well at Lea Marshes summer 1909. Summonsed for 'creating public nuisance', case dropped by Blériot’s flight 25 July 1909, magistrates realizing a conviction (trial date 26 July) would not be popular! A.V. Roe and Co. registered 1 January 1910, and limited company 3 years later. Works moved from Brooklands to Manchester (Bullseye Braces factory), later vastly expanded at Mather & Platt works at Newton Heath, with (1916) second factory at Hamble, near Southampton; also flying school Brooklands 1910, moved 1911 to Shoreham. Prototypes included Types F and G of 1912, respectively world’s first cabin monoplane and cabin biplane. Type 500 tandem trainer biplane of March 1912 led to Type 504 of July 1913, superb basic design and by far most important British trainer pre-1935; numerous versions totalled 8,970 in UK, of which Avro built 3,696 wartime and 630 post-war. Forced 1925 to find new airfield, bought New Hall Farm at Woodford, then Cheshire, major production centre to this day. Numerous 1920s prototypes, virtually no production. Roe sold his interest 1928 to form Saunders-Roe, control passing to J.D. Siddeley (including Armstrong Whitworth), who moved everything to Manchester, Hamble becoming Air Service Training. A few types found customers, including Avian light 2-seater, handful of high-wing transports derived from Fokker F.VII and, above all, powerful biplane trainers Tutor, Cadet and Prefect. All types had numbers beginning 500, thus Tutor was 621 and Prefect 626. Type 652 monoplane airliner of 1935 led to 652A Anson reconnaissance aircraft, built in many marks mainly as crew trainer to total by 1952 of 11,020. Type 679 Manchester heavy bomber was handicapped by unreliable engines (202 built 1939-42) but led to Lancaster, 7,377 built including 3,673 by Avro. This in turn led to York and Lancastrian, Lincoln, Tudor and Shackleton, Tudor leading to Ashton jet research aircraft. Type 707 delta research aircraft underpinned Type 698 Vulcan jet bomber (30 August 1952). Avro built seven prototypes and 15 production examples of Type 701 Athena advanced trainer. Types 720, 730 and 735 supersonic aircraft cancelled, and Type 748 transport (24 June 1960) became Hawker Siddeley. A.V. Roe was founder member 1935 of Hawker Siddeley, moving 1938 to giant shadow factory at Chadderton, north-east Manchester, with experimental department at Ringway and assembly and flight test at Woodford, Newton Heath remaining in full production and being joined by Yeadon, today Leeds Bradford airport, plus repair facilities Langar and Bracebridge Heath. Name retained in Avro Whitworth group 1961, but finally lost 1963.

Read 752 times