During the First World War RNAS aircraft were not just based at sea, but also alongside the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front. On 21 November 1914, three Avro 504 biplanes flew 250 miles across enemy country, dropping 20 lb bombs on their target causing extensive damage. It was an outstanding achievement in navigation and daring and every strategic bombing raid since has had its genesis in this sensational attack by the Royal Naval Air Service. The Royal Naval Air Service pioneered many aspects of aerial warfare using the Avro 504 including bombing, reconnaissance and pilot training. Over 8,000 aircraft of all marks were built. Early pioneering work on deck arrester gear was carried out by the Avro 504B and in 1917 the Avro 504H became the first aircraft to be launched by catapult gear.
Status: Currently flying
One of the earliest aircraft to be represented in the Navy Wings associate collection is a replica Avro 504K telling the story of the first strategic bombing raid in history made by the Royal Naval Air Service on the Zeppelin sheds at Friedrichshafen in 1914.
The Avro 504K took to the skies in England for the first time in May 2016. This is the culmination of a project to build, transport and successfully register the aeroplane in England which started in 2012. Built by Pur Sang, a company based in Parana, Argentina, the faithful replica of an Avro 504K was built as a tribute to the type which served as the first squadron of the Argentinian Airforce. Nearly 10,000 Avro 504s were built before production ceased and the aeroplane was exported to over 20 countries from Japan to Russia as well as Argentina. This aeroplane, which is based at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, is owned by Eric Verdon-Roe, grandson of A.V. Roe.