This British aviation pioneer was born near Manchester, England, in 1877, the son of a doctor. After quitting school at age 14, he travelled to western Canada for a year. Upon returning to England, he worked in railway locomotive shops. He became interested in aviation while observing albatrosses during a stint in the British Merchant Navy.
He won a Daily Mail competition for flying model aircraft in 1907 and designed and built his first full-sized airplane in 1908. He designed, experimented with, and tested his early aircraft designs under a railroad arch where he rented space at Walthamstow Marshes near London. His triplane is displayed London Science Museum.
With his brother, he formed his renowned aircraft company in 1910, using his initials and name as the company name. The Royal Flying Corp bought more than 8,000 of his company’s most popular model between 1913 and 1932, making it the most produced aircraft of World War I.
In 1928, he sold his shares in his company, bought another company, and added his name to its name. Headquartered on the Isle of Wight, it specialized in flying boats, some of which were used for submarine reconnaissance during World War II.
His original company designed and manufactured preeminent bombers for World War II and innovative jet aircraft during the early Cold War. It manufactured turboprop airliners during the 1950s and
a popular regional jet airliner in the 1980s. Two of its aircraft participated significantly in the Berlin Airlift in 1948.
He was knighted by King George V in 1929. A plaque marks the location of his early experiments and test flights at Walthamstow Marshes. He died in Portsmouth, England, in 1958.
This British aviation pioneer was Sir Edwin Alliott Verdon Roe, commonly known as “A. V. Roe,” whose initials formed the name of his first aircraft company, “Avro.” His first full–sized airplane was the Avro Biplane, and his most prolific aircraft was the Avro 504. The company’s best-known World War II aircraft was the Avro Lancaster, its turboprop airliner was the Avro 748, its famous jet bomber was the Avro Vulcan, and its popular regional jet was the Avro RJ85. Roe’s second company was Saunders-Roe, whose flying boats included the Blackburn Bluebird and the Supermarine Walrus.