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Avro Ltd Aircraft Plant, Woodford Aerodrome
Woodford, Stockport, Cheshire, UK
associated engineer
Sir Edwin Alliott Verdon-Roe
Avro Ltd
date  1924
era  Modern  |  category  Airfield/Hangar/Aeronautics  |  reference  SJ894826
Woodford Aerodrome was built by A.V. Roe & Company (Avro) to receive components from its Newton Heath and Chadderton sites, carry out final assembly, undertake test flights and deliver the finished aircraft.
The Woodford site also had a design office, accommodating more than 500 draughtsmen at the peak of its operations. Before and during World War II (1939-45), Woodford built thousands of twin-engine Avro Ansons, Lancasters and Lincolns.
Roy Chadwick, world class aircraft engineer and Avro’s Chief Designer, was killed in an Avro Tudor aeroplane that crashed at Woodford on 23rd August 1947. The wing ailerons had not been rigged correctly, it was not an inherent design fault, and the Tudor later helped during the Berlin Air Lift.
From 1949, the factory produced Shackleton maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The famous delta wing Vulcan four-jet nuclear bomber was built between mid 1950s and early 1960s, and Vulcan B2 XM603 is on static display at Woodford.
Although military aircraft have always been part of Woodford’s business, from 1960 the factory also began to build civilian aeroplanes. An annual air show was held at the aerodrome between 1968 to 2000, to showcase the factory’s expertise.
Civil aircraft that were assembled at Woodford include the BAE 146 four-jet airliner, the Avro 748 and the Advanced Turboprop ATE airliner (ATP), all of which were eventually built completely at the site. The ATP took her maiden flight on 6th August 1986.
The name Avro Ltd ceased to exist on 1st July 1963, when it became part of Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd, together with Armstrong Whitworth, de Havilland and Hawker. The company became part of British Aerospace in 1977 when the industry was nationalised. The name was changed to BAE Systems in 1999, and the site houses BAE’s Customer Training and Engineering departments.
Woodford Aerodrome remains operational — BAE Systems produces the Nimrod MRA.4 aircraft for the RAF. In 2002, BAE had a five year contract to renovate 19 Nimrods that was worth some £2.2 billion. However, on 3rd April 2008 BAE announced job cuts at the site.
There have been continuing issues over the runway, as sometimes the full length is curtailed by overhanging trees that belong to neighbouring landowners. If the full length of runway is not used the Nimrods can take off but cannot land.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
www.aeroflight.co.uk
www.baesystems.com
www.chadderton-hs.freeuk.com
www.culture24.org.uk
www.mosi.org.uk
www.stockportexpress.co.uk
www.verdon-roe.co.uk
Location

Avro Ltd Aircraft Plant, Woodford Aerodrome