Aviation Historian 15
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P.Jarrett - Mr. Cody & Mr. Roe (2)
A contemporary tinted postcard showing Cody’s much-modified British Army Aeroplane No 1.
Cody in flight at the Doncaster Aviation Meeting in October 1909. The aeroplane generally flew well after a 60/80 h.p. ENV engine had been fitted, enabling passengers to be carried, but its performance at Doncaster was poor.
In 1913 the first Avro 504 appeared, the forebear of a classic design destined to become one of the world’s greatest training aeroplanes. During the inter-war years many Britons had their first experiences of flying in one of the numerous 504s that toured the UK.
The first Avro 504 made its public appearance at Hendon in 1914, and won instant admiration. We recollect that on the day of its visit it was flown in turn by a number of pilots, and they all expressed themselves delighted with it. Among those who flew it was the late Mr. Gordon Bell.
A contemporary tinted postcard showing Roe at the controls of his triplane in September 1909.
Roe sits in his nearly complete triplane at Lea Marshes in early 1909. The machine has been temporarily fitted with the 6 h.p. JAP two-cylinder vee engine from Roe’s original biplane, pending the delivery of something more powerful from Tottenham-based JAP.
Roe carrying a passenger in the third Roe III at Blackpool on August 10, 1910. This uncovered machine had been hastily constructed after the destruction of the Mercury and second Roe II in a fire on the train on which they were travelling to the event. The passenger is seated with his back to the radiator, facing the pilot, with his arms over the rear spar of the middle wing, although passengers could face forwards and look through the radiator grille.
The Avro triplane "Mercury" was exhibited at the 1910 Olympia Aero Show, and may be described as being the original type, on which A. V. Roe had accomplished his initial efforts, thoroughly cleaned up and "modernised." It was fitted with a 35-h.p. Green engine.
The beginning of a long line - the first product of A. V. Roe & Co was the Mercury triplane, seen here being readied for display at the 1910 Olympia Aero Show in March. Its workmanship was much admired by the aeronautical press; the March 19, 1910, issue of Flight remarked that Roe was "ever getting nearer to his goal”.
The first Roe III triplane at Brooklands in the summer of 1910. The aircraft was powered by a 35 h.p. JAP engine and was fitted with large ailerons on its top wing only and a square-cut rectangular rudder. This machine underwent its first taxying trials in mid-June 1910.
The first of the Type E biplanes was bought by Australian John Duigan in 1911. Originally fitted with an Alvaston engine, it was soon re-engined with a 35 h.p. ENV, as seen here, and first flew in March 1912. It was still underpowered but Duigan managed to coax decent performance from the machine at Brooklands.
The Avro Type D was a significant advance for Roe and heralded the advent of a great line of Avro biplanes. Pilot C. Howard Pixton is at the controls here. Note the extended undercarriage skids to prevent the aircraft nosing over.
The Avro Type E, which Roe considered to be his first truly successful aircraft, everything before that being mere experiments, was developed into the Avro 500 with the fitting of a 50 h.p. Gnome seven-cylinder rotary engine. Seen here is the Avro 500 prototype, which demonstrated great promise on its first flight on May 8, 1912.
Avro’s brief experiments with totally enclosed aeroplanes in 1912 yielded the Type F monoplane, probably the world’s first successful machine of this type.
Built for the 1912 Military Aeroplane Trials, Cody’s only monoplane was a singular design with celluloid panels in the fuselage sides by the cockpit. It was destroyed when it crashed into a cow before the event; the cow was killed and Cody had to reimburse the farmer.
With the Anglo-French ENV engine from his previous aeroplane installed, Cody's Michelin Cup Biplane proved outstandingly successful, making many flights, carrying passengers and winning the British Michelin Cup plus ?500 prize money.
Twin rudders were a distinctive feature of Cody’s Circuit of Britain Biplane, seen here taking off from Brooklands at the start of this gruelling event. It was the only British machine to complete the course.
The 1911 Roe triplane, built at Brooklands by A. V. Roe. As will be seen, it differs from the early models in many respects, mainly in the absence of the triplane tail. Fitted with a 35 h.p. Green engine, this machine flew well, and it was frequently seen in the air at Brooklands.
The sole Roe IV triplane, the last of the early triplanes, was flown with both ailerons and wing­warping, the latter being seen here. It was the first of Roe’s designs to have a non-lifting tail, used purely for pitch control.
Although it won the military trials, Cody’s rapidly-built biplane was not what the military wanted, and only one more was ordered. This, the second example, was given the military serial 304 and delivered to the RFC in February 1913. Wrecked the following month, it was handed over to the Science Museum in November 1913.
Cody’s large Waterplane shortly after completion in July 1913. It was initially tested as a landplane before undergoing flotation tests, but by the time of the fatal crash on August 7 it had been returned to land plane configuration. By this time Cody and his ideas were rapidly being overtaken by a new generation of designers.