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
|A three-view drawing (1623 x 1223)|
| ENGINE||1 x 760hp Skoda Vr 30|
| Take-off weight||1730 kg||3814 lb|
| Empty weight||1305 kg||2877 lb|
| Wingspan||9.40 m||31 ft 10 in|
| Length||7.25 m||24 ft 9 in|
| Height||3.10 m||10 ft 2 in|
| Wing area||23.90 m2||257.26 sq ft|
| Max. speed||315 km/h||196 mph|
| Cruise speed||298 km/h||185 mph|
| Ceiling||8200 m||26900 ft|
| Rate of climb||610 m/min||2000 ft/min|
| Range||600 km||373 miles|
| ARMAMENT||2 x 7.7mm|
|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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