In 1910 a pilot named Harold Hume Piffard used a plot of grazing land in Shoreham to conduct a series of short hops in a Boxkite plane named Hummingbird. After he gave up flying, other aviators began to use the site. On 20 June 1911 the Shoreham Aerodrome was officially opened.
Before WW1, hangars were known as ‘sheds’. Six to ten sheds and a grandstand where constructed for the Circuit of Europe and Round Britain Air Races in that year.
Several of these sheds were acquired by the A V Roe company (Avro) after receiving an order for four of the company’s Type E biplanes in 1912 from the War Office. With the prospect of further orders, the company needed to free up space in their premises at Brooklands in Surrey by moving its flight school to Shoreham.
The aircraft in front of the sheds is an Avro Type D biplane. The first of these aircraft were built at Brooklands during March 1911 and first flown on 11 April that year.
The main body of the aircraft (the fuselage) consisted of two separate halves of triangular girders made from ash. The two halves where bolted together behind a cockpit that could seat a pilot and one passenger.
The aircraft was steered by a technique known as ‘wing warping’, which relied on cables and pulleys to twist the edges of the wings to achieve control. Seven of these planes were built, each powered by a different type of engine.
Charles Paddick, Collections Assistant