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Roe I Biplane (replica)

1908 (1988), Avro Shed, On long term display

Alliott Verdon Roe designed and built his Roe 1 Biplane at Putney in 1907 aiming at a £2,500 prize offered for the first flight around the Brooklands Track before the end of that year. Initial trials proved that a 6hp J.A.P. engine produced too little power, but by May 1908 an Antoinette engine of about 24hp was fitted. The Roe 1 was tested by being towed behind cars on the Brooklands Finishing Straight and ultimately made several ‘hops’ of upto 150 feet in June 1908. Although the Royal Aero Club did not accept these as powered flights but rather as ‘uncontrolled hops’, Roe was the first British subject to leave the ground in an aeroplane of his own design. The first official flight made at Brooklands was by Louis Paulhan in a Farman biplane on 29/10/09.

A.V. Roe had met considerable opposition from Brooklands’ Clerk of the Course, E. de Rodakowsky, and was forced to move his biplane's shed from its original position beside the Finishing Straight to a new position South of the Clubhouse. Refreshments were then sold from the building until it was replaced by the Campbell Sheds around 1930. The original Roe 1 was destroyed by a sudden gust of wind soon after its first hop flights, yet A.V. Roe persevered with designing aircraft and formed A.V. Roe & Co. Ltd. in 1910. This successful company was later absorbed by Hawker Siddeley and then by British Aerospace (now BAE Systems).

This full size replica (BAPC 187) was built to flyable standards for BrooklandsMuseum in 1986-88 by Mike Beach and a team of volunteers.

DATA (for replica): One 24hp (1,000cc) ABC 4-cylinder air cooled engine; Wing span 36ft (11.09m); Length 19ft (5.85m); Height 11ft (3.35m); Weight (empty) 350lbs.

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