Avia B 34
1932
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Avia B 34

The B 34, designed by Ing Frantisek Novotny, owed nothing to previous Avia single-seat fighters, and was an all-metal fabric-covered single-bay biplane powered by a 740hp Hispano-Suiza 12Nbr 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. Flown for the first time in 1932 by Vaclav Koci, the B 34 initially proved disappointing and the prototype was promptly returned to the factory for modifications, re-emerging as the B 34/1 with a new propeller, a redesigned engine cowling in which the face of the underslung radiator bath was cut back, and redesigned vertical tail surfaces. With these changes flight testing was resumed, and a production batch of 12 B 34 fighters was ordered for the Czechoslovak air arm. The production B 34 embodied further redesign of the vertical tail surfaces, which were enlarged, and other changes by comparison with the prototype, including narrower-chord interplane bracing struts and the discarding of the streamlined mainwheel fairings. Power was provided by an Avia (Skoda) Vr 30 (licence-built HS 12Nbr) rated at 760hp for take-off, and armament comprised two 7.7mm fuselage-mounted Mk 28 machine guns.

3-View 
Avia B 34A three-view drawing (1623 x 1223)


Specification 
 MODELB-34
 CREW1
 ENGINE1 x 760hp Skoda Vr 30
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight1730 kg3814 lb
    Empty weight1305 kg2877 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan9.40 m31 ft 10 in
    Length7.25 m24 ft 9 in
    Height3.10 m10 ft 2 in
    Wing area23.90 m2257.26 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed315 km/h196 mph
    Cruise speed298 km/h185 mph
    Ceiling8200 m26900 ft
    Rate of climb610 m/min2000 ft/min
    Range600 km373 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 7.7mm

Comments
Ian Andrews, 20.07.2011

There were two B-34 prototypes. As mentioned above the B-34.1 underwent a series of modifications to provide improvements leading to the B-34 production series. The B-34.2 was initially fitted with a locally built Avia R-29 nine cylinder radial engine of 515kW (700hp). Although there were ground tests the engine was not sufficiently developed and the prototype, re-designated as the B-234 did not fly with this powerplant. Having again returned to its B-34.2 designation it was then fitted with a French HS-12Ybrs engine and flew on the 25th May 1933. By September 1933 this aircraft had been re-designated B-534.1 and was therefore the first prototype of this more famous fighter.

The twelve B-34 production aircraft entered service in September 1934 with the 37 Letka (Squadron) of the 3rd Letecký Pluk (Fighter Regiment). This was based in Slovakia and Sub-Carpathian Rus. They remained in this front-line position until the beginning of 1937, when they were shared out among the training squadrons of different regiments. Despite inferior overall performance and some unpopularity, the aircraft was robust. Until the end of the Czechoslovakian republic in March 1939, only one aircraft was lost; B-34.4 crashed and was written off in April 1937.

Eight of the B-34s were handed over to the Germans when the Czechoslovakian state ceased to exist in March 1939 and appear to have been used for training purposes where they disappear from history. The remaining three B-34s were retained by the new Slovenské vsdušné Zbrane (Slovakian Air Force). One, perhaps two of these were still being used for training at Tri Duby airfield in August 1944. They then effectively became part of the Kombinovaná letka (combined squadron) of the Slovak Insurgent Air Force during the Slovak National Uprising against the Germans in September 1944. There is no evidence of them being used in combat at this time and if they survived the uprising they were almost certainly among the aircraft destroyed by the Slovaks before they left the airfield after the failure of the uprising.

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