Europe after WW2 was in shambles. The war had taken its toll on the infrastructure and economies of both mainland Europe and Britain. Any venture capitalist worth his weight in capital gains will tell you that when the economy is down that can be the best time to start a company or bring new products to market. Borrowing costs are low, equipment and facilities are cheap, and labor is plentiful. This is probably what Miles Aircraft was thinking when they introduced the Aerovan in 1946.
Designed as an inexpensive short-haul passenger or cargo plane, the Aerovan 4 (the predominant production version) was powered by two 150-hp Blackburn Cirrus Major IIA inline piston engines. The fuselage was predominantly plastic-bonded plywood with spruce and metal used for various bits. It could carry 10 people or 2,800 pounds of fuel and cargo. Or, in the case of the photo above, the Jaguar SS100 of Tommy “Bill” Wisdome for a trip from Bagington to Jersey in 1947.
Due to its low cost, it was very popular with startup air transport companies. Most were used for cargo and passenger service, while a few were used for mapping and in the Israeli and New Zealand militaries.
Only 52 were built by the end of 1947 when Miles Aircraft went bankrupt and production ceased. The last known flight of an Aerovan was in Italy in 1968.
[Image Credit: Motorsport Retro's Facebook]