|Aerovan 4 of Channel Islands Air Freight at Manchester (Ringway) Airport in May 1955|
|Role||Short haul transport|
|National origin||United Kingdom|
|First flight||26 January 1945|
The Miles M.57 Aerovan was a British twin-engined short-range low-cost transport designed and built by Miles Aircraft. It was used for freight, joy-riding and passenger services. It was also used by many commercial operators and for some military purposes.
Design and development
It was a twin-engined high-wing monoplane of plastic-bonded plywood construction with some spruce and metal parts. It had fixed tricycle undercarriage, three vertical tail and rudder units, one central and two as tailplane endplates, reminiscent of the Miles Messenger. A large fin area was required by the deep-sided forward fuselage, and a pod and boom fuselage. Two pilots were seated beneath a large clear perspex canopy which formed the front dorsal part of the pod, four or five circular windows providing a view for passengers on either side. The Aerovan was capable of lifting a family car, loaded through clamshell rear doors. Designed in 1944, the prototype was built at Miles factory at Woodley, Berkshire and was first flown there by Tommy Rose on 26 January 1945.
Aerovan production started in 1946 primarily for civil use, although examples were used briefly by the military of Israel and New Zealand. Production ended late in 1947. A licence was granted to manufacture the type in France but no production resulted. One RNZAF machine was converted, unsuccessfully, for aerial fertiliser spreading and a second for aeromagnetic survey work. One Mark 4 was used for research with a Hurel-Dubois high aspect ratio wing in 1957, being then known as the Miles HDM.105. The prototype retroactively named the Mark 1 was later fitted with a 5/6th replica of the Armstrong Siddeley Mamba turboprop nacelle for the Miles Marathon.
Most Mk 3 and 4 Aerovans were employed on passenger and freight services, charter work and joyriding in the UK and in the Near East. Meridian Air Maps operated Aerovan 4 G-AISF on aerial survey work from October 1955 until it crashed on takeoff from Manchester (Ringway) on 29 April 1957. The accident killed the pilot Jean Lennox Bird, the first woman to receive RAF wings, and two passengers.
The RNZAF evaluated two Aerovan 4s during 1950.
The newly formed Israeli Air Force acquired a single Aerovan G-AJWI from the UK which entered service in June 1948. Able to use very short landing strips it was flown into settlements and Jerusalem airport in the face of defensive rifle fire. On 17 July 1948 it made a forced landing south of Tel Aviv and was destroyed by Palestinians.
- Aerovan 1
- First prototype G-AGOZ. The short fuselage prototype had four square windows. Like the Aerovan 2, 3 and 4 it was powered by two 150 hp (112 kW) Blackburn Cirrus Major III piston engines.
- Aerovan 2
- Second prototype G-AGWO had a lower empty weight (by 410 lb) and an 18 in longer fuselage with five round windows. The outer fin balance was modified.
- Aerovan 3
- Essentially identical to the Mk 2. Seven built, with six registered in the UK at one time or another, the other going to Belgium.
- Aerovan 4
- Mark 3 with detailed improvements; the main production variant distinguished by four circular windows. 43 built, including one originally built as a Mk 3. 40 of these were registered in the U.K. Two were later converted into the Mk 5 and HDM.105. Three further machines were built, one going to Iraq and two to the RNZAF (later sold on the civil market).
- Aerovan 5
- Powered by two 145 hp (108-kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major 10 piston engines. One built.
- Aerovan 6
- Powered by two 195 hp (145 kW) Avco Lycoming O-435-A piston engines. One built with enlarged outer fins taken from a scrapped Miles M.68.
- Venture between Miles and Societe des Avions Hurel-Dubois through joint company H.D. et M. (Aviation), Ltd. Aerovan fitted with high-aspect ratio (20.5:1) wing (75 ft 4 in span) of almost the same area as earlier marks, designed by Hurel-Dubois; influenced the design of the Shorts Skyvan. Former Mark 4 G-AJOF first flew as the HDM.105 on 31 March 1957 as G-35-3 (subsequently re-registered G-AHDM) with similar performance to earlier marks. Damaged and then dismantled in June 1958.
An 8,000 lb, 75 ft span HDM.106 with 290 hp Lycoming engines was proposed but not developed.
- Compagnie General de T.S.F
- Airwork (East Africa)
- Compañía Auxilar de Navegación Aérea
- Air Contractors
- Arab Contracting and Trading Company
- Air Transport (Charter)
- British Nederland Airservices
- Channel Islands Air Freight
- Culliford Airlines
- East Anglian Flying Services
- Island Air Charters
- Kenning Aviation Ltd
- Lockwoods Flying Services
- Meridan Air Maps
- North Sea Air Transport
- North West Airlines
- Patrick-Duval Aviation
- Sivewright Airways
- Ulster Aviation
- Universal Flying Services
Specifications (Aerovan Marks 2, 3, 4)
Data from British Civil Aircraft since 1919
- Crew: 2
- Capacity: 10
- Length: 36 ft (10.97 m)
- Wingspan: 50 ft (15.24 m)
- Height: 13 ft 6 inches (4.1 m)
- Wing area: 390 sq. ft. (36.2 m²)
- Empty weight: 3,000 lb (1,360 kg)
- Loaded weight: 5,800 lb (2,630 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Blackburn Cirrus Major IIA inline piston engine, 150 hp (112 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 127 mph (204 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 112 mph (180 km/h)
- Range: 400 miles (645 km)
- Service ceiling: 13,250 ft (4,040 m)
- Rate of climb: 620 ft/min (3.1 m/s)
- Landing speed: 40 mph (64 km/h)
- Jackson pp.168–72
- Jackson, 1974, p. 79
- Jackson, 1974, p. 499
- "Jean Lennox Bird" (PDF), Flight: 566
- Dor 2004, pp. 26–28.
- Jackson p.p.168-171
- Jackson p.551
- New Zealand Serials – Miles M.57 Aerovan 4[permanent dead link]
- Flight 1958 p776
- Barnes 1989 p478.
- Jackson 1974, page 82
- Jackson 1974, p.501
- J.A.W.A. p.87
- "British Aircraft 1957: F G Miles". Flight, 30 August 1957, Vol. 72, No. 2536. p. 316.
- Jackson p.168-70
- Jackson 1974, page 82
- Jackson p.171
- Amos, Peter. and Brown, Don Lambert. Miles Aircraft Since 1925, Volume 1. London: Putnam Aeronautical, 2000. ISBN 0-85177-787-2.
- Barnes C.H. and James Derek N. Shorts Aircraft since 1900. London: Putnam, 1989. ISBN 0-85177-819-4.
- Brown, Don Lambert. Miles Aircraft Since 1925. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1970. ISBN 0-370-00127-3.
- Dor, Amos. "Short-Lived 'Duck'". Air Enthusiast, No. 109, January/February 2004. Stamford, Lincs, UK: Key Publishing, pp. 26–28.
- Jackson, A.J., British Civil Aircraft 1919–1959, vol 2. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1960.
- Jane's all the world's aircraft 1956-7.London: Jane's PublishingCo. Ltd.
- A.J. Jackson, British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 3, 1974, Putnam, London, ISBN 0-370-10014-X,
- "Miles Aerovan (M.57)", Flight, flightglobal.com: 604–605, 7 June 1945
- "HDM105 – Hurel's Aero with Miles' Van", Flight, flightglobal.com: 504–505, 524, 19 April 1957
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