MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the first Avro 652 flew in 1935. Avro built the type at the request of Imperial Airways and was certified in March of that same year.

The Avro 652 was a British light airliner from the 1930s, designed by A.V. Roe and Company (Avro). The aircraft was a twin-motor, a low-wing, retractable undercarriage monoplane with a tailwheel included. The type formed the basis for the successful Avro Anson, although only two 652 were made.

Photo: Wiki Commons

Design and Development


In 1933, Avro was given a specification by Imperial Airways for a light airliner to transport four passengers at a cruising speed of 130 mph (210 km/h) for up to 420 mi (676 km). Roy Chadwick’s team had produced a design study by August 1933.

When Imperial Airways modified the specification, this had to be revised to allow the machine to fly the Karachi-Bombay-Colombo night mail service. The amended design was accepted, and an order was issued for two aircraft in April 1934.

The two aircraft were: G-ACRM, named Avalon, later delivered to Fleet Air Arm with serial DG655; G-ACRN, named Avatar, then Ava, later sent to Fleet Air Arm with serial DG656. The aircraft were powered by two Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah VI seven-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, 290 hp (220 kW) each.

The Avro 652’s specs include a maximum speed of 195 mph (314 km/h, 169 kn) at 6,000 ft (1,800 m), a cruise speed of 165 mph (266 km/h, 143 kn) at 6,000 ft (1,800 m); additionally, its stall speed was 60 mph (97 km/h, 52 kn) (minimum flying speed). The type had a of range of 787 mi (1,267 km, 684 nmi) a service ceiling of 21,500 ft (6,600 m), and a rate of climb of 950 ft/min (4.8 m/s).

Avro 652A Anson T21. Photo: Wiki Commons

Avro 652 Operations


The two Avro 652s were delivered to Imperial Airways at Croydon Airport on 11 March 1935. Imperial Airways served them, mainly running the route from Croydon to Brindisi. They were sold to Air Service Training Ltd in 1938, a civilian company working under contracts from the Air Ministry.

At Hamble airfield, they operated with No.3 E&RFTS (Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School) as navigational trainers. Both aircraft were transferred to No. 11 AONS (Air Observers’ Navigation School) in November 1939 and remained at Hamble. In March 1941, the Air Ministry impressed them with the No. 1 School of Photography in the RAF service.


Featured image: Imperial Airways Avro 652 G-ACRN. Photo: Wiki Commons