top of page

Roe's Early Models

In 1903 Alliott made up his mind to leave the sea, and he became a draughtsman at the Brotherhood Crocker company working on their first motorcar design.

[The earliest known photograph of one of Roe's models, based on the 1902 Wright glider]

It was in 1906 that he made his life changing decision to devote his time entirely to aviation.

In late 1906 Lord Northcliffe, through his newspaper, the Daily Mail, offered a total of £250 in prizes for model acroplanes capable of mechanical flight.

He immediately constructed three models and made all of them fly successfully, the best covering over 100 feet (30 Metres). When the contest came to be judged he was given the highest-awarded prize of £75. (Nearly £5000 at today's value!

[Monochrome photograph of Alliott with the Wright influenced model on which he based his first full size acroplane]

The Roe I Biplane

As a result of winning the £75 prize in the Daily Mail model competition, during the summer of 1907, Alliott decided to build a full size aeroplane based on the design of his most successful model.

At the same time the Brooklands management offered a prize of £2,500 for the first aeroplane flight around their motor track before the end of the year. With this in mind he obtained permission to build a shed next to the finishing straight where his aeroplane, powered by a 6 hp (4.5 kW) JAP (J. A. Prestwich) engine was built.

[Monochrome photograph of Alliott with his helpers removing his first aeroplane from the shed at Brooklands]

When tests started in September 1907, despite different shapes
and sizes of propeller being tried, it was found that the machine could barely propel itself forward. Motorcar towed trials were also made, however these usually resulted in crashes.

Early in 1908 the loan of a 24 hp (18 kW) Antoinette engine was negotiated, with which he hoped to make further progress. However in July his hopes were dashed when he was compelled to leave Brooklands, the Antoinette engine had to be returned and the machine was scrapped.

Alliott much later declared that on June 8, 1908 he had made a flight of some 150 ft. (45 m) but unfortunately, without official observers, it was subsequently not recognised.

[Monochrome photograph of Alliott working on the rear of the Roe I fitted with the 24hp Antoinette engine]

bottom of page