In 1939, a building programme began at Woodford Aerodrome to upgrade the grass runways and construct a new assembly plant. Whilst the work was being carried out, Avro made the decision to establish an experimental flight department at Manchester Ringway in May 1939.
Roy Chadwick and his design team had been working on a new twin-engined bomber since 1936 to satisfy Air Ministry Specification P.13/36. The prototype was built in sections at Newton Heath and transported to Ringway for assembly. The aircraft was named the Avro Manchester and made its maiden flight at Ringway on 25th July 1939.
When war broke out on 3rd September, work was still in progress to concrete the runways at Woodford Aerodrome. It was therefore decided to continue the experimental flight department at Ringway and, as a result, several famous aircraft made their maiden flight there. The most famous of these was the mighty Avro Lancaster heavy bomber, which made its first flight on 9th January 1941.
In 1943, Avro took over new premises at Ringway for the assembly of the Avro York transport aircraft. A VIP variant of the York was developed and was famously used by both the King and Winston Churchill.
Avro moved its experimental flight department back to Woodford once the war had ended and closed its facility at Ringway on 15th November 1946.
Maiden flights at Ringway