Profile Publications No. 152 The Avia B.534

The Avia B-34 prototype (below) the fourth o f twelve B-34's constructed and (bottom) the unsuccessful B-234 prototype, powered by an Avia Rr 29 radial. (Photos: Avia) National Defence placed an order with Avia for 100 aircraft. This was soon increased by a further 37 B-534 machines ordered from Letov and 10 from A ero however, these two organisations were unable to undertake production and the total order of 147 was placed with Avia. The Czechoslovak Air Force took delivery o f the first machines in the latter half of 1935 and they entered service with the 4th Air Regiment and the pursuit squadrons of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Air Regiments. Four aircraft were attached to the Air School at Prostejov. The first prototype B-534, with headrest and short cooler and (ion right wearing bowler hat. 4 The first production series, aircraft Nos. 2-100, were almost identical to the second prototype B-534/II with the exception of the pilot’s cockpit, which was open. The armament comprised two 7-7 mm. Model 30 m achine-guns, one on each side of the forward fuselage there was provision fora m achine-gun in each wing, but they were only fitted to some aircraft and by 1937 even these had had their wing-guns removed. The reason for this was that the fuselage-guns were much more accurate for shooting than thew ing-guns a further contributory factor was that maintenance of the wing-guns was rather difficult. The aircraft of the second series, Nos. 101—147, featured an armament of four 7-7 mm .machine- guns, two on each side of the forward fuselage, enclosed by a common cover. The pilot’s cockpit remained open. This order of 147 aircraft was further supplemented until a grand total of 445 B-534 aircraft was ordered. Besides these, the Czechoslavak Air Force received 54 Bk-534 aircraft, aversion intended to carry a 20 mm. Oerlikon FFS cannon firing between the engine cylinder banks. When first completed, these air­craft were actually armed with three 7-7 mm. guns, as the 20 mm. cannon were not available. (The third gun was fitted between the engine cylinder banks in place of the cannon.) Aircraft of the third series, Nos. 148-173, were fitted with aerodynamic covers for the main under­carriage wheels and the engine cowlings were slightly modified. The armament and pilot’s cockpit remained the same as those of the second series. The fourth and final series, Nos. 174-445, were fitted with an enclosed cockpit and a metal propeller. The sliding cockpit cover was of 4 mm. plexiglass and could be fixed in the open, half-closed, or closed position. This im­provement raised the maximum speed o f the 4th series aircraft to 252 m.p.h. (405 km ./h.). In practice, the undercarriage fairings of the 3rd and 4th series aircraft were usually removed as they caused trouble on unprepared grass landing fields. A refined version o f the design, the B-634, with a spatted cantilever undercarriage was designed and inbuilt 1936. Them achine-guns were placed on top of the fuselage decking and a 20 mm. moteur-canon was fitted, development o f this weapon having been successfully completed. The performance o f the B-634 was not sufficiently superior to that o f the B-534 to warrant production of the type, and, further­more, the B-35 fighter monoplane design promised an excellent performance. (A promise fulfilled by the 307 m.p.h. (494 km ./h.) maximum speed o f the first prototype.) ight) the second prototype, with the designer, Frantisek Novotny, (Photos: Military Air Study Institute and Avia)
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