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Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd

Albacore Torpedo bomber
Barracuda Torpedo bomber
Battle Bomber
Fairey Delta Jet planes
Fairey III Reconnaissance aircraft
Fairey Rotodyne Helicopter
Firefly Fighter plane
Fulmar Fighter plane
Gannet Antisubmarine aircraft
Swordfish Torpedo bomber
The Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd was founded by Charles Richard Fairey [C. R.] (later Sir Richard) Fairey, initially to build 12 Short 827 seaplanes. At first the company leased premises at Hayes, Middlesex, which were replaced by a new factory 1917-1918.

The Fairey XXI of 1920 was a two-seater fighter twin float seaplane with the usual Fairey variable camber wings of the folding type. The trailing edges are operated by a wheel mounted in the pilot's cockpit. The outer portions of the trailing edges are separate units and can move independently of the rest as ordinary ailerons. A novel point is the interconnection of the control wheel for varying the camber with that for trimming the tail plane. In order to give a free field of fire aft there is no vertical fin above the tail plane. The fuselage is built up of three separate parts, the nosepiece carrying the engine, the tail piece and, between them, a central unit of steel including the top and bottom center wing spars, the center section struts and all wing and undercarriage fittings. The nose and tail pieces are attached to the central unit by bolts. Other points of interest on the Fairey XXI include a device whereby the pilot's seat can be raised six inches to improve the visibility at the expense of comfort. The amphibian gear was not fitted at the show, nor were two of the four guns which the machine is designed to take.

Whenever the flying-boats were near Borkum, considerable fighting occurred with the German seaplanes. This led to development in flying the boats in strong formation, and of defensive armament and control of fire in the boats, which eventually enabled them to hold their own. But to send a strong formation for each reconnaissance was most uneconomical, thus showing the need of a moderately maneuverable seaplane of high performance, which, though not intended for offensive fighting, could look after itself if attacked. These machines would have undertaken the work, near Borkum, and the flying-boats would have undertaken the longer range work, the latter of necessity avoiding areas where opposition was likely to be very heavy. Such a machine, Fairey with a Rolls-Royce engine, was produced just before the armistice.

The South Atlantic soon became the special playground of French, Spanish, and Italian flyers, the equal of any in the world. Captain Sacudura Cobral and Admiral Gage Coutinho, in a Fairey seaplane, flew from Lisbon to St. Paul's Rock, South America, between March 30 and April 18, 1922. Along the 3,000 mile route, the seaplane settled on the Canary and Cape Verde Islands, and at Porto Praya. From St. Paul's the flyers dashed on to Rio de Janeiro, via Pernambuco. In the South Atlantic, the westward flight is as much easier to make as the eastward flight across the North Atlantic because of helpful prevailing winds on the tail of the airplanes.

In the highest secrecy, on a private-venture basis, Fairey set to work with his team to produce a new aircraft The outcome was the Fairey Fox in 1925, a remarkable aeroplane for its time. Fairey more than vindicated his claims with regard to its performance and set a new pattern before the world with regard to performance and streamlining of military aircraft. He had upset a lot of people in the process, and the reward for his success and achievement was an order for only 18 aircraft. But, based on the Fox, a new specification was drawn up by the Air Ministry which went out to tender, the successful design being the Hawker Hart with the Rolls-Royce F.10 engine. Naturally Fairey was very disappointed that his pioneering efforts had not been fully rewarded. He had the sole consolation of having started a new trend of development in this country.

Not to be defeated, however, Fairey set about selling his aircraft abroad, and to further this aim the present Avions Fairey Company was started in Belgium. His efforts were rewarded by success and he sold many aircraft derived from the original Fox, the Belgian Air Force being based on this type. Fairey's export orders were at that time the largest ever received by a British aircraft company.

Fairey became a public company on March 5, 1929 and the following year opened new airfield at Harmondsworth, later requisitioned and incorporated in site for London's Heathrow Airport. The Fairey III.F was a 1929 the latest production of the Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd., of England. It was convertible from landplane to seaplane ru1d will serve as a fighter, bomber, re-connaissance, ambulance, passenger, or long-range airplane. It is of rustproof metal construction, with folding wings anda robust Oleo 1 anding gear. In common with other Fairey aircraft, the III.F makes useof a stiff tubular metal center cellule forming the structureto which are attached the detachable welded tube engine mounting to the front, and to the rear, the after portion of the fuselage.

Sqdn-Ldr Gayford and Flt. Lt. Nicholetts won long distance record for Britain in 1933 flying a RAF Fairey-Napier long distance monoplane on the annual Cairo to Cape flight by the RAF. The Fairey (Napier) itself was in all essentials the same is the first of its type, which flew non-stop to India. The Fairey Aviation Co., of Hayes, are the builders, while the engine is an almost normal type Napier "Lion" of about 530 h.p., but with the carburetters specially tuned for economy.

The famous Fairey Swordfish ("Stringbag") torpedo bomber entered production in 1936; 2,392 were built by Fairey and Blackburn; it was the only biplane to remain in service throughout Second World War. Other famous aircraft included Battle light bomber, Fulmar fleet fighter, and Barracuda dive-bomber. The Firefly name was revived for Rolls-Royce Griffon-powered monoplane which entered FAA service in 1943, serving in Korea in 1950.

The final Fairey naval aeroplane was the Gannet - a unique twin-engined aeroplane having the layout and appearance of a single-engined type. The aircraft is powered by the Bristol Siddley Double Mambapower plant consisting of two gas turbines placed side by side each driving one of two coaxial counter-rotating propellers, each having its own fuel, lubrication and control system. The starboard engine drives the front propeller A common auxiliary gearbox is driven by either engine or both which enables the pilot to stop one of the engines and feather its propeller in flight. This was originally designed into the aircraft to reduce fuel consumption and increase surveillance flight time. To assess the effects of counter-rotation, Hamilton Standard purchased and flight tested a Fairey Gannet aircraft which is powered by a counter-rotating propeller and has the unique capability of operating each propeller blade row independently.

The firm of Fairey built an experimental plane, the FD-2. In March 1956, it set a world speed record of 1132 miles per hour (1822 kilometers per hour). In 1956 the first aircraft to exceed 1,000 mph (1,609 km/h) is an English Fairey Delta 2. Piloted by Lt. Cdr. Peter Twiss, it reaches a speed of 1,132 mph (1,822 km/h). On 10 March 1956, after seven failed attempts, Twiss had one more chance to break the world speed record of 822 mph. Fuel was so short that his Fairey Delta 2 had to be towed to the runway. Twiss took off and climbed to 38,000 feet. Altitude was critical, with only a deviation of 328 feet over the entire run permitted. The radio crackled--"afterburner now." The reheat exploded into life, and Twiss was pushed back into his seat. He flew by the altimeter. The first leg was finished, and he sat up for the final leg. He lit the afterburner again, held the plane steady, and watched the altimeter needle and fuel gauge. He held his breath as the fuel dropped lower and lower. It was 30 seconds of utmost tension, but the Mach meter reached the highest point ever. Both runs averaged over 1,132 mph, and his altitude deviation was only 98 feet.

the Fairey Rotodyne, an experimental aircraft, first flew in 1957. In 1959 the Fairey Rotodyne, piloted by W. P. Gellatly and J. P. Morton, set a world speed record for convertiplanes of 190.9 mph over a 62-mile circuit.

Sir Richard Fairey only in died on September 30, 1956, at the age of 69. Fairey was reorganized as the holding company The Fairey Company Ltd. March 31, 1959, the aircraft manufacturing subsidiary becoming Fairey Aviation Ltd. and the Stockport plant Fairey Engineering Ltd. The year 1959 saw the sale of Fairey Aviation to Westland, the helicopter company. Fairey Aviation Ltd. merged with Westland Aircraft Long Range Monoplane Ltd. in 1960.

On December 18, 1970, the Dutch Government took a 6.6-percent shareholding in the A300B program, cutting the French and German shares from 50 to 46.7 percent each. Belairbus is a consortium composed of the Belgium Government (one-third), the Walloon (Flemish) development authority (one-third), and an industrial group comprising SONACA (formerly Avions Fairey), FN (Fabrique Nationale Herstal) and Asco, and engineering company (one-third).

John Britten and Desmond Norman set up Britten-Norman in 1949 and produced the first BN-2 prototype in 1963. Seven years later, the duo produced the stretched Trilander. The company mistook barnstorming revenues from their simply designed, robust, non-pressurised aircraft as the basis for long-term sustainability. But the company failed to broaden the business, and once the world had all the Islanders it needed, sales slumped. In October 1971, the company was forced into receivership following "major cashflow problems", but continued to trade as Britten-Norman (Bembridge) until Belgium's Fairey acquired the company in August the following year. Once again, financial difficulties drove Fairey Britten-Norman into receivership in 1977. In 1978, the company was rescued by Pilatus Aircraft, which subsequently formed Pilatus Britten-Norman in January 1979.

The proposed purchase of the Fairey Aviation Company by the Westland Aircraft Company in 1960 seemed likely to greatly strengthen the organisation, and the Westland Company would go ahead with the Rotodyne project. In 1977 Short Brothers and Harland were in discussion about the take-over by the company of a substantial part of the Fairey Britten-Norman Company. The UK Government gave the company every encouragement in its efforts to acquire on appropriate terms the trading assets relating to the Britten-Norman aicraft through negotiation with the Receiver of Britten-Norman (Bembridge) Limited and the President of the Tribunal of Commerce in Belgium. By early 1978 some subsidiary companies of the former Fairey Co. Ltd., had been acquired by the National Enterprise Board from the receiver under the Shipbuilding and Aircraft Nationalisation Act. The Board had the power to form companies, and took initiatives of this sort where the private sector has failed, eg in 1978 in setting up Fairey Engineering Holdings Ltd. In 1980 Fairey was sold to Doulton, which was part of the S. Pearson Group, for 24 million. There was an original offer of 195 million by Hambros. Fairey Aviation was never in public ownership.

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Page last modified: 09-05-2013 17:37:44 ZULU