A V Roe's biplane, 1908.
3 1 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm

A V Roe's biplane, 1908.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


'Sir Alliot Verdon-Roe was Britain's first constructor-pilot. He is seen (seated) with the biplane in which he made his first flights at Brooklands. The engine was a 24 hp Antoinette'. Having won, in 1907, a prize of £75 offered by the Daily Mail for the first succesful powered flight by a model aeroplane, Roe built a full-sized machine in 1908 in a hangar at Brooklands, Surrey. The machine made a brief hop on 8 June that year, but the honour of the first officially recognised powered manned flight in Britain went to J Moore-Brabazon the following year. Roe went on to develop a practical triplane, and then to found A V Roe & Company (better known as Avro), which built some of the most famous British military aircraft, including the Lancaster and Vulcan bombers.

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