1950 Avro Anson TrainerTwin Engined
Year of manufacture1950
Number of seats2
1950 Avro Anson Twin-engined Trainer
Registration no. WD413/G-VROE
In 1934, Avro's design team received instructions to develop a twin-engined coastal patrol aircraft. The team leader, Roy Chadwick also designed the legendary Avro Lancaster, so it is not surprising that the Anson turned out to be, in its own way, just as outstanding. Developed from the Avro 652, to which it bore a marked resemblance, the Anson was originally powered by two 295hp Cheetah VI engines. These were later up-rated to 350, 395 and finally 420hp. The Anson 652A was armed with a single forward-firing machine gun and a further flexible gun mounted in a hand-operated dorsal turret. A small bomb load could be accommodated in the fuselage.
When the Anson went into operation in February 1936 it was the first RAF aircraft to feature retractable undercarriage, though its fabric covering and simple systems were already outdated. It was this obsolescence that relegated it to the role of trainer and perversely brought about its enormous success. By the end of production in 1952, over 11,000 had been built. Only the Vickers Wellington was produced in greater numbers.
The retractable undercarriage is worthy of mention. Most people visualise the pilot casually flicking a switch; in the 'Annie' he turns a hand-crank - over 140 times. As a result many pilots chose to fly with the undercarriage extended, preferring the reduced performance and higher fuel consumption to the arm-breaking labour of pulling in those heavy wheels. The last Ansons to serve were used by the Royal Afghan Air Force, which withdrew them from service in 1972.
The Classic Air Force's Anson was built by A V Roe and Company at Yeadon, West Yorkshire in 1950. It has a single-seat cockpit without dual controls, and is powered by two Armstrong-Siddeley Cheetah radial engines. The maximum speed is 171mph and the range 660 miles.
Originally registered 'WD413', this aircraft was delivered to the Royal Air Force as one of 252 T21 navigational trainers ordered in the 1950s, initially entering service with No.1 Basic Air Navigation School at RAF Hamble, Hampshire. It was later converted to passenger transport configuration and re-designated C21.
During its time with the RAF, 'WD413' served with both Bomber Command Communications Flight at RAF Booker, Buckinghamshire and Fighter Command Communications Flight at RAF Bovington, Hertfordshire before being allocated to 23 Maintenance Unit at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland in March 1965. At RAF Aldergrove the aircraft was issued with the maintenance number '7881M' and relegated to use as an instructional airframe. In 1977, it was finally deemed surplus to requirements and in December of that year was purchased by Mr G M Fraser of Castle Donington, Nottinghamshire. The aircraft was registered 'G-BFIR' and the permit to fly was issued on 14th July 1978. The Anson then spent the next 11 years participating regularly at air shows throughout the UK. Unfortunately, it suffered a ground-loop accident whilst landing at Andrewsfield, Essex in 1980 and was badly damaged.
In order to return the aircraft to the skies again, the owners acquired 'G-AGWE' and 'G-AHIC', with the latter donating its centre section to the project. After extensive renovation and repair, 'G-BFIR' eventually took to the skies again in 1982 and continued to be seen around the UK before finally settling in Scotland. Its permit to fly expired on 22nd March 1988 and it was stored in the open at Strathallan for the next three and a half years. In 1992, the Anson was ferried to Teesside for further storage and then ferried again to Lee-on-Solent on 21st March 1993. In July 1996, it arrived at the Aircraft Restoration Company's facility at Duxford, where work was carried out to allow the issue of a new Permit to Fly. It was repainted in a silver RAF colour scheme and flown to Coventry on 17th February 1998 by its new owner, Mike Collett. The aircraft was reregistered to Air Atlantique as 'G-VROE' on 3rd March 1998.
This beautiful aircraft has displayed at air shows around the UK and Europe and even flew to Bahrain and back in March 2000 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gulf Air. A unique piece of aviation history, the Anson is one of the most popular aircraft in the collection and is loved by all who fly or work on it. Classic Air Force retains other Anson airframes (C19s 'TX226' and 'TX235') for spares reclamation and possible future restoration.
The aircraft is in airworthy condition and is due for its next annual check on 11th March 2016. Its Permit to Fly expires 2nd March 2016. We are advised that the port engine has 'clocked up' 17,168 hours and the starboard engine 17,148 hours.
Please note, if the aircraft remains in the EU, VAT of 20% will be added to the sale price. The Aircraft will be flown back to base at Coventry following the sale. Purchasers are to make arrangements to collect the aircraft within 21 days of the auction.