Today we celebrate the anniversary of a lesser known aircraft, the Avro 642/2m Eighteen twin-engined commercial airliner, which first flew from Woodford on 12th April 1934, piloted by F.B. Tomkins.
The Avro 642 Eighteen was an evolution of the Avro 618 Ten, which was itself a derivative of the Fokker F.VIIb/3m. Imaginatively named because it could carry 18 people (2 pilots and 16 passengers), only two examples of the Avro 642 were built, the second being a four-engined variant which was sold to the Indian Government and used by Viceroy Lord Willingdon.
The Avro 642/2m was aerodynamically much cleaner than the Avro Ten and powered by two 460 hp Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar VID radial engines. It originally featured a glazed semi-circular nose but this was damaged in a gale and replaced with a more conventional stepped windscreen.
The aircraft was registered as G-ACFV and delivered to Midland and Scottish Air Ferries Ltd at Renfrew in April 1934. It was wrecked in an accident at Cerrig-y-Druidion in Wales on 4th June 1934 but was rebuilt by Commercial Air Hire Ltd of Croydon, carrying out newspaper delivery flights between 1935-36. Later in 1936 it was reregistered as VH -UXD when it was bought by W.R. Carpenter and Co Ltd bought for mail services in New Guinea. There it continued in service with Mandated Airlines Ltd until being destroyed by the Japanese on 11th March 1942.