Profile Publications No. 152 The Avia B.534

A ski-undercarriage Bk-534 at Trencin before delivery to the Slovak Air Force elements in Russia during the winter o f 1941. Note olive-painted undersurface o f top wing, and German-style markings on yellow tips o f the lower wing. (Photo: lng. S. Androvic) The Avia B.534 Created from part o f the A ustro-H ungarian Empire after the 1914-18 War, Czechoslovakia established itself as the leading industrial nation of Eastern Europe. The Czech armaments industry showed itself the equal o f any in Europe in terms of efficiency and modernity of thought. Foremost among the aircraft companies was the Avia concern founded shortly after the 1914-18 War and responsible for a successful line of sporting and fighter aircraft. This was mainly due to the efforts o f the engineers Ing. Pavel Benes and MIng. iroslav Hajn, both of whom, regrettably, left the infirm 1929. By the I930's, the firm was part o f the well-known Skoda concern occupying a modern factory employing nearly 900 workmen at Prague-Letnany. The first aircraft in the series culminating in the B-534 was the Avia B-34 design work on this type commenced in 1931, led by Ing. Frantisck N ovotny. The B-34 was a single-seat fighter biplane o f all-metal structure with fabric covering powered by a 650 h.p. A via-built H ispano-Suiza Vr 36. Factory test pilot Vaclav Koci made the initial test flights in 1932, and after a short lest program theme, prototype was re-modelled as the B-34/I. This aircraft, considered to bethe second prototype, was transferred to the Military Air Study Institute to undertake official trials for the Ministry of National Defence. The B-34/I was down with the marking“S 11” on standard military camouflage. As a result of official trials, a scries of 12 B-34 aircraft was constructed these differed from the prototype, embodying minor changes suggested during the trials. In the meantime, Ing. N ovotny continued develop­ment of the design giving special consideration to the use of alternative engines. Several alternatives were projected: the B-134 powered by the 700 h.p. Walter Mistral 14 Kbs engine the B-234 with the 580 h.p. Avia Rr 29 the B-334 with a 490 h.p. Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar the B-434 powered by a 650 h.p. by Josef K r busy Hispano-Suiza X brs and the B-534 with the H ispano- Suiza 12 Ybrs. In the event only two of these projects were constructed. The first of these, the B-234, was completed in August 1932, but such were the difficulties with the pow er-plant that it was never flown. The Avia R r 29 suffered from so much vibration during ground trials that it was plainly impossible to undertake flight trials. As a result, the aircraft was modified to take the 750 h.p. H ispano-Suiza 12 Y brs No. 485028. The design work and actual conversion took place during the first half o f 1933, and during August 1933, the first prototype B-534/I was flown. On 8th September 1933, the aircraft was transferred to the Military Air Study Institute where trials were success­fully carried out for the Ministry of National Defence. Meanwhile, Avia had completed a further prototype, with an enclosed cockpit and minor modifications, known as the B-534/II. In this aircraft test-pilot Koci achieved anew Czech national speed record of 227 m.p.h. (365-744 km ./h.) during 1934. In June of that year, the second prototype B-534/I1 was success­fully demonstrated in Yugoslavia, but on the way back to Czechoslovakia the aircraft was damaged in a crash however, it was repaired and flown again. The first prototype was damaged in a crash on 12th July 1934, just four days before the second prototype's demise! In this accident, at Letnany, the first prototype was heavily damaged, but the pilot, Sergeant H olubec escaped without injury and the aircraft was repaired and flown again. The first prototype ended its career on 17th September 1935, when it was totally destroyed in an accident Hat radec K ralove. July 1934 was not as unhappy a month for the Avia B-534 as it would seem. On 17th July, the Ministry of 3
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