Pride and place on a lounge side-table, executive desk, cabinet table, hotel or office foyer, or suspended from a bedroom ceiling, this fantastic hand-made retro-style all-metal 50cm wingspan model of Australia's first commercial aircraft to the outback is guaranteed to turn heads wherever its displayed
A fantastic executive or man-cave gift or an awesome display piece in any teenager’s bedroom, the all metal retro-style Queensland Avro 504 takes us back to the pioneering days of Australia's early aviation industry.
The Avro 504 was one of the first WWI biplanes built by the Avro group and by the close of the war, some 8,970 aircraft had ben built with production continuing on into the early 30’s making it the largest mass produced aircraft to serve in WWI of any military capacity. By the end of its manufacture in 1932, over 10,000 of these sturdy aircraft had taken to the skies.
The Avro 504 earned the dubious distinction of being the first British aircraft to be shot down by the Germans and while it served as both a fighter escort and ground strafing light bomber, its speed and poor manoeuvrability was soon overtaken by advances in aircraft design and engine development and it was relegated to the role of a military trainer and air ambulance for the remainder of hostilities.
Despite this, the Avro was well liked for its solid and robust airframe and went on to be exported to countries around the world as a military trainer and civilian passenger and cargo carrier.
Easily recognisable for its single skid between its spoked wheels it was often referred to as the ’Toothpick’ and played a significant role in the founding of Australia’s first commercial airline Qantas when wealthy grazier, Fergus McMaster found himself stranded in the outback after his car broke and axel crossing the sandy bed of Queensland's Cloncurry River. Ex WWI aviator, Paul McGinness helped repair the vehicle and the two struck up a friendship.
Needing no convincing as to the benefits of aviation in Australia’s harsh environment, the two developed plans for an air service, beginning with joy rides and air taxi trips.
Together with his former flight sergeant Arthur Baird as aircraft mechanic, McGinness travelled to Mascot Aerodrome, Sydney, where they ordered two Avro aircraft. (The order for one was later cancelled.) The purchase agreement, dated 19 August 1920, was in the name of The Western Queensland Auto Aero Service Limited. A new company name was later adopted, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited, which was quickly abbreviated to the acronym 'QANTAS'.
Papers formally establishing Qantas were signed in the Gresham Hotel, Brisbane, on 16 November 1920. The company, based in Winton, was registered with Fergus McMaster as Chairman.
In 1921 the Qantas fleet consisted of two biplanes - an Avro 504K with a 100hp, water-cooled Sunbeam Dyak engine and a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2E with a 90hp air-cooled engine.
McGinness and Baird flew joy riding and demonstration flights. It was tough work keeping the two machines in the air. The Avro 504s Dyak engine struggled in the thin hot air and boiled on the shortest trips. But Baird, a superb engineer, modified the aircraft to improve performance. In this period 871 passengers were taken aloft and the biplanes logged 54,000km without serious mishap.
In November 1922 Qantas began to the first scheduled airmail service between Charleville and Cloncurry.
Hand-crafted and hand painted, all tin/metal, classic aviation collectable
Wing span: 50cm
* Please note that because each model is uniquely hand made some variation in sizes might occur