DALLAS — Today, in 1945, the British-built Miles M.57 Aerovan prototype made its maiden flight from the manufacturer’s Woodley Facility in Berkshire, piloted by Tommy Rose. This event marked an important milestone in aviation history.
During the final stages of World War II, several British aircraft manufacturers explored the creation of new civilian airliners to meet the increasing demand for air travel. One of these manufacturers was George Miles, who developed the Aerovan without permission from the Air Ministry, which controlled the British aviation industry at the time. As a result, he was instructed to halt production until the war ended.
Following Victory Day in Europe on May 8, 1945, production of the Aerovan resumed. The aircraft was a high-wing monoplane constructed primarily of wood and powered by a pair of Blackburn Cirrus Major III piston engines. The prototype underwent modifications, including an 18-inch extension to the fuselage and the replacement of rectangular windows with porthole windows.
The Aerovan went into quantity production in 1946, with the majority of aircraft sold to civilian operators both domestically and internationally. Some military customers, such as Israel and New Zealand, also expressed interest in the aircraft.
Additionally, negotiations were held to grant a license for the Aerovan to be manufactured in France, but no such aircraft were ultimately produced in the country. Notably, a single Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aircraft was converted for military use.
The affordability of the Miles M.57 Aerovan resulted in orders being placed from both the United Kingdom and overseas. The aircraft gained popularity among operators from France, Belgium, and Switzerland.
Miles produced six variants of the Aerovan, each with its own set of modifications. The MK.2 model featured a…
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