Avro Anson

The Aircraft On Display

The Museum's Anson was manufactured in Britain and shipped to Australia in May 1941. It was used at the large flying training base at Geraldton where pilots learned to fly multi-engined aeroplanes, and for navigation and radio training.

After the war ended in August 1945 many Ansons were sold to the public. This one as bought by the Flying Doctor Service for £250, going to Kalgoorlie where it was used by George Lewis who had pioneered flying doctor services there. The aircraft was fitted to carry a stretcher, and was also used for aerial surveying.

By 1962 the Anson's glued wooden wing spars were in danger of disintegrating due to age, so they were grounded. Lewis made a farewell circuit of Kalgoorlie in the Anson on 30 June 1962. He sold it to the Kalgoorlie branch of the Air Training Corps for 6 pence (5 cents) in 1963. The Anson was donated to the Museum in 1970 and moved to Perth where it was stored before being restored, beginning in 1983. It now bears the same markings and colours it had when it first flew in Australia for the RAAF during the war.

The Museum also possesses the nose section of one of Jimmy Woods' Ansons. According to an account on airliners.net (See References), it was delivered to the RAAF with RAF serial number MG271, and moved between several training establishments during World War II. It is reported at the "5 Crash Repair Depot" in 1st February 1946, and was sold on 23rd September 1947. Its iniital registration was VH-BJY, but was registered as VH-WAA to Woods Airways on 15th January 1948, and named 'The Islander'.

It was re-registered as VH-WAC in December 1948, and flew between Perth and Rottnest Island from 1948 to 1961. Its Certificate of Airworthiness expired on 2nd December 1958, and it remained at Perth Airport until it was flown to Seabourne Farm, Greenhills, WA, on 25th March 1962, where it was used as a cubby house. The nose section was restored in 1977.

Type / History

Type Multi-role (mainly coastal patrol and crew trainer)
Manufacturer A.V. Roe and sons
Maiden flight 24 March 1935
Introduced March 1936
Retired 1955 (RAAF), 1968 (RAF), 1972
(Royal Afghan Air Force)
Primary users RAF, RAAF
Number built 11,020

The Anson was built to British Air Ministry Specification 18/35, and is reputed to be the first British monoplane to have a retractable undercarriage. Although this made it a significant advance on its introduction, it was well obsolete for operational work by the commencement of World War II. While it scored some successes in its initial coastal patrol duties, its main contribution to the war effort was in the training of crews for British heavy bombers.

Its success in this role is demonstrated by its retention by the RAF as a trainer and communications aircraft until 28 June 1968, giving it a remarkable service lifetime of over 32 years.

The Royal Australian Air Force ordered Ansons in November 1935, being used mainly for training during World War II. In all the RAAF operated 1028 Ansons.

It was also used by the RCAF and RNZAF. Even the USAAF operated it, as the AT-20.

Post-war, many Ansons continued to operate as small airliners, carrying typically 8 passengers on minor air routes, particularly in Britain and Australia. Small numbers were also operated by many national air forces.

One of the Anson's most famous post-war roles was the transport of passengers and goods to and from Rottnest Island, with Woods Airways. The Perth-Rottnest air route was, at the time, the shortest in the world. Jimmy Woods, a colourful character, seems to have been owner, pilot, baggage handler, and check-in clerk in what remained a small but highly popular airline.

General Characteristics

General characteristics

Length: 12.08 m ( 42 ft 3 in)
Height: 3.99 m (13 ft 1 in)
Wingspan 17.22 m (56 ft 6 in)
Powerplant: (Anson Mark I) two 260 kW (350 HP) Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah radial engines
Weight: empty 2500 kg (5500 lb), max loaded 3900 kg (8500 lb)


Maximum speed: 303 km/h (188 mph)
Range 1300 km (790 mi)
Service ceiling 5800 m (19000 ft)
Power/mass ratio 140 W/kg (0.088 HP/lb)