Avro 533 Manchester - Operational History

Operational History

The Avro 533A Manchester Mk II flew for the first time in December 1918 with flight testing continuing with No. 186 Development Squadron. By March 1919, Avro sent the first prototype to Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Martlesham Heath for official trials before its eventual return to the Avro factory at Hamble. The aircraft was a large, and mainly conventional design of wooden and fabric construction typical of the time. Open cockpits were retained, although later modifications were planned for passenger compartments in the interior.

In December 1919, the second prototype received its Dragonfly I engines, becoming the Avro 533A Manchester Mk I. Other than the different engines, there were few differences between the two types, other than the Mk I having a slightly reduced lower wing surface, and enlarged tail fin and rudder to correct control problems indicated in testing. Flight testing also indicated a lower performance than anticipated which resulted in Avro reconsidering the type's further trials, and eventually led to the abandoning of the third prototype, which was never fitted with engines.

In March 1919, Avro proposed a passenger airliner, the Avro 537 that would be adapted from the earlier bomber version. The plans were ultimately abandoned and all the Type 533 prototypes were scrapped.

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