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Fairey Aircraft

Fairey Aircraft - The Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd was a British aircraft manufacturer of the first half of the 20th century. Notable for a number of important planes, including the Fairey III family and the Fairey Swordfish it had a strong presence in the supply of naval aircraft..

Founded in 1916, the company's first craft was the Fairey Campania, a patrol seaplane that first flew in February 1917. Fairey Aviation was a major supplier of aircraft to the RAF & the Fleet Air Arm during World War Two. Besides building its own designs it also sub- contracted for other companies such as Handley Page, Bristol & Avro. Fairey subsequently developed many aircraft and post Second World War, missiles.

The government in the late 1950s was determined to see the UK's aero industry "rationalised". The ministry of defence saw the future of helicopters as being one sole provider. The merger of Fairey's aviation interests with Westland Aircraft took place in early 1960 shortly after Westland had acquired Saunders-Roe and Bristol's helicopter division.

Fairey Albacore

Fairey Albacore - The Fairey Albacore torpedo-bomber-reconnaissance biplane was designed by Marcel Lobelle to meet the requirements of Specification S.41/36 and a prototype (L7074) flew on December 12, 1938. Power plant was a 1,065 hp Taurus II and armament comprised a fixed forward-firing 0.303-in (7.7-mm) gun and one or two similar guns in the rear cockpit, with one 18-in (46-cm), 1,600-lb (727-kg) torpedo under fuselage or four 500-lb (227-kg) bombs under wings. Production totalled 800 (including prototypes), completed in 1943, later aircraft having the 985 hp Taurus XII engine. Service deliveries began March 1940 to No 826 Sqn, which began operations in June, joined by three more during 1940, all engaged in land-based anti-submarine patrols and night-bombing attacks on Channel targets. First major operation by carrier-based Fairey Albacores was Battle of Cape Matapan in March 1941. One squadron operated from Malta and several in North Africa; one UK-based RCAF Squadron, No 415, flew Fairey Albacores in 1943/44, and as No 119 Sqn continued into 1945.

Max speed, 161 mph (257 km/h) at 4,500 ft (1,370 m). Cruising speed, 116 mph (186 km/h). Time to 6,000ft (1,830 m), 8 min. Service ceiling, 20,700ft (6,310 m). Range, 710 miles (1,143 km), with 2,000~lb (907-kg) warload. Empty weight, 7,250 Ib (3,292 kg). Gross weight, 10,460 Ib (4,749 kg). Span, 50ft 0 in (15.25 m). Length, 39ft 10 in (12. 14 m). Wing area, 623 sqft (57.9 m2).

Fairey Albacore I BF666

This aircraft was part of an order for 150 Fairey Albacore I ordered under contract no. B35944/39 Serial Numbers: BF584-BF777, built at Hayes.

Fairey Barracuda

Fairey Barracuda The Fairey Barracuda torpedo/dive-bomber was evolved to meet Specification S. 24/37 under the direction of Marcel Lobelle during 1938, initially to be powered by a 1,150 hp Exe but eventually based on the 1,300 hp Merlin 30. Two prototypes ordered January 30, 1939, of which the first was flown on December 7, 1940, initially with low-set tailplane. Second prototype, with definitive high tailplane, flown June 29, 1941, and first prototype flown in Mk II configuration with Merlin 32 on August 17, 1942. With crew of three, the Fairey Barracuda had armament of two 0.303-in (7.7-mm) Vickers 'K' guns in rear cockpit and carried one torpedo or 1, 500-lb (681 -kg) mine under fuselage or four 500-lb (227-kg) or six 250-lb (114-kg) bombs under wings.
Fairey Barracuda I: Initial production batch of 25 by Fairey and five by Westland; first flown May 18, 1942. Merlin 30 engine and 13,500 Ib (6,129 kg) gross weight.
Fairey Barracuda II: Principal production version, with 1,640 hp Merlin 32 engine and 14,100 Ib (6,401 kg) gross weight. ASV Mk UN radar fitted. Production total, 675 by Fairey, 700 by Blackburn, 300 by Boulton Paul and 13 by Westland. Initial deliveries to No 827 Sqn, January 1943, and 12 squadrons operational by January 1944; first actions September 1943. One ^k II flown with airborne lifeboat carried under fuselage and another tested with underwing containers each to carry two parachute-equipped occupants.

Max speed, 228 mph (367 km/h) at 1,750 ft (533 m). Cruising speed, 172-193 mph (277-311 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)'. Time to 5,000 ft (1,524 m), 6 min. Service ceiling, 16,600 ft (5,060 m). Range, 524 miles (843 km) with 1,800 Ib (816 kg) bombs, 1,150 miles (1,850 km) with max fuel. Empty weight, 9,350 Ib (4,241 kg). Gross weight, 14,100 Ib (6,396 kg). Span, 49ft 2 in (14.99 m). Length, 39 ft 9 in (12.12 m). Wing area, 405 sqft (37.62 m).

Fairey Barracuda III: As Mk II with ASV Mk X scanner in ventral radome, for anti-submarine duties. Deliveries began 1943; 460 built by Fairey and 392 by Boulton Paul.
Fairey Barracuda IV: One Mk II converted to have 1,850 hp Griffon VIII and flown November 16, 1944. Span increased to 53 ft Ol/2 in (16.17 m) and crew reduced to two.
Fairey Barracuda V: Production form of Mk IV with l,960:hp Griffon 37 and revised cowling. No rear defensive armament but one forward-firing Browning in wing. Max external bomb load 2,000 Ib (907 kg). Some Mk Us converted to Mk V during production in 1945; first genuine production Mk V flown post-war.

Fairey Barracuda I P9666

This aircraft was one of 25 Barracuda I ordered from Fairey, Heaton Chapel under contract No 993331/39 to spec S.24/37/P.IIF Serial Numbers P9642-P9666. It was first flown at Ringway.

Fairey Barracuda II BV666

This aircraft was part of an order for 5 Barracuda I and 245 ordered under contract No Ctts/Acft/497/C.20(b) from Blackburn, Brough.  Serial numbers BV660-BV664 as Mk I. BV665-BV981 as Mk.II. The aircraft were delivered by ATA from Sherburn. This aircraft was probably delivered to 827 squadron at Stretton between April and July 1943.

Fairey Barracuda II MX666

This aircraft was part of an order for 365 Barracuda Mk II ordered 10.10.42 under Contract no ctts/acct/2513/C.29(b) from Blackburn aircraft, Brough and built on Works Order No 3700/1-365. Serial numbers: MX535-MX983. The last 65 from MX908 were cancelled.

Fairey Battle

Fairey Battle - The Fairey Battle single-engined day bomber monoplane was designed by a team headed by Marcel Lobelle during 1932-3 to the requirements of Specification P.27/32, and ordered for prototype construction on June 11, 1934. Powered by an 890 hp Merlin C, the prototype flew on March 10, 1936, and was intended as a two-seater (pilot and observer); provision for a radio operator/air gunner was made later, to man a Vickers 'K' 0.303-in (7.7-mm) dorsal gun. One Browning gun of similar calibre was carried in the star-board wing and a 1,000-lb (454-kg) bomb-load accommodated in wing cells could be supplemented by external wing bomb-racks.

Fairey Battle I: Initial production orders placed 1935 for 655 aircraft to Specification 23/35, built by Fairey at Stockport and the first of which flew early 1937. Subsequent production orders to Specification 14/36 brought total built to 2,184 including 1,029 by Austin Motors Shadow Factory at Longbridge to Specification 32/36, and including target-tug and training versions noted below. Production Fairey Battles were fitted with 1,030 hp Merlin I, II, III or V, and were often referred to as Fairey Battle I, II, III or V respectively to facilitate spares backing and maintenance. Entered service May 1937 with No 63 Sqn and about 15 squadrons operational by September 1939. Operated by AASF in France but little used as day bomber after 1940. One RAF squadron operational in Iceland until July 1941. One Fairey Battle I supplied, ex-RAF, to SAAF in April 1939 was followed by about 160 more in 1940, used by squadrons in Western Desert and East Africa until 1942. Twenty-eight transferred to Turkey, September 1939, and 12 to Greece, also in 1939; one earmarked for Poland not delivered. Several Fairey Battles used as engine test beds during war, with-Fairey P.24 and Prince, Napier Dagger VIII and Sabre, Bristol Taurus and Hercules and Rolls Royce Exe and Merlin XII.

Max speed at sea level, 257 mph (414 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,572m), 215 mph (346 km/h) at 25,000ft (7,620 m). Cruising speed, 200 mph (322 km/h) at 16,000 ft (4,877 m). Time to 15,000 ft (4,572 m), 13 min 36 sec. Range, 1,100 miles (1,770 km) at 16,000 ft (4,877 m). Empty weight, 6,647 Ib (3,018 kg). Gross weight, 10,792 Ib (4,900 kg). Span, 54ft 0 in (16.46 m). Length, 42ft 4 in (12.90 m). Wing area, 422 sqft (39.20 m2).

Fairey Battle T: After the Fairey Battle was retired from front-line service, several units used the type, basically unmodified, for training. A special dual-control trainer evolved in 1939 had separate, similar cockpits in tandem; after prototype testing, 200 built by Fairey and 66 by Austin. Total of 740 Fairey Battles shipped to Canada, August 1939 onwards, for training school use, included 70 twin-cockpit Fairey Battle Ts and some Fairey Battle TT target tugs (see below); similarly, 364 ex-RAF Fairey Battles shipped to Australia, 1940 onwards, for training and target towing. For gunnery training, some Fairey Battles carried Bristol Type I single-gun dorsal turret in place of rear cockpit; two prototypes tested in UK and 204 similarly converted in Canada, 1942/43, as Fairey Battle IT, plus one turret trainer with R-1820-G3B Cyclone radial as Fairey Battle IIT.

Fairey Battle TT: Variant for use as target tug, with wind-driven winch on port side of fuselage and drogue stowage box below rear fuselage. 200 built by Austin, starting February 1940, plus conversions of Fairey Battle bombers in UK and Canada.
Belgian Fairey Battle: Sixteen Fairey Battles ordered for Aeronautique Militaire Beige in 1938, assembled by Avions Fairey at Gosselies from Stockport-built components. Radiator farther forward than British version; Merlin III engine. In ser-vice with 5e escadrille, III Groups, in May 1940 and used for a single mission against bridges over the Albert Canal.

Fairey Battle TTI L5666

Built as part of an order of 863 Battle TIís (L4935 Ė L5797) by Austin Motors. This aircraft was built as a TTI and fitted with a Merlin III engine.

Fairey Battle TI P6666

Built as part of an order for 200 Battle Iís (P6523 - P6572, P6596 - P6645, P6663 - P6692, P6718 - P6737, P6750 - P6769) this aircraft was completed as a trainer and allocated to EATS (Empire Air Training Scheme).

Fairey Firefly FRI MB666

The Fairey Firefly was developed by a design team headed by H E Chaplin to meet FAA requirements for a carrier-borne fighter-reconnaissance aircraft as defined at first by Specifications N.8/39 and N.9/39 and subsequently revised in Specification N.5/40 in the light of Fairey's initial proposals. An initial production contract was placed in 1940, the first three aircraft to serve as prototypes and the next ten as pre-production aircraft. The all-metal Fairey Firefly was powered by a 1,735 hp Griffon IIB or 1,815 hp Griffon XII, armed with four 20-mm cannon in the wings and seated pilot and observer in tandem. First flight was made on December 22, 1941, second prototype on June 4, 1942, and third on August 26, 1942.
Fairey Firefly F Mk I: Initial production contract for 200 in June 1940, 100 more in September 1941, 300 more in June 1942 and 200 more in August 1943, of which total 770 were built, including variants noted below and diversions to Mk IV. Power plant and armament as prototypes; provision for two 1,000-lb (454-kg) bombs under wings. First unit, No 1770 Sqn, equipped February 1944; first operation, July 1944 against the Tirpitz. Four Fairey Firefly squadrons operational with British Pacific Fleet by July 1945. Production total of F Mk I, 297 plus 132 by General Aircraft Ltd.

Max speed (clean), 319 mph (513 km/h) at 17,000ft (5,180 m). Service ceiling, 29,000 ft (8,840 m). Range (with 90 Imp gal/409 1 drop tanks), 1,364 miless (2,195 km) at 204 mph (328 km/h). Empty weight, 8,925 Ib (4,048 kg). Gross weight (clean), 12,250 Ib (5,556 kg). Gross weight (with bombs), 14,288 Ib (6,481 kg). Span, 44 ft 6 in (13.56 m). Length, 37 ft 7 in (11.45 m). Wing area, 328 sqft (30.47 m).

Fairey Firefly FR Mk I: Fighter reconnaissance version similar to F Mk I with ASH radar in canister beneath forward fuselage. First deliveries late 1944. 273 built, plus some F Mk Is converted to same standard as F Mk IA.

Fairey Firefly NF Mk I: Similar to FR Mk I, with same ASH radar, dedicated to night fighting role (with shrouded exhausts) and adopted after failure of NF Mk II programme. Total of 140 completed by diversions from F Mk I contracts. Entered service (usually known as Fairey Firefly INF) with No 746 Sqn mid-1944 and No 1740 Sqn January, 1945.
Fairey Firefly NF Mk II: Night fighter version of F Mk I, carrying AI Mk X radar with small radomes on each wing leading edge, and 15 in (38 cm) extra length in fuselage. Prototype conversion completed March 1943 and 37 completed as production-line conversions of Mk Is, later being converted back to Mk I standard.
Fairey Firefly F Mk III: As F Mk I with 1,540 hp two-stage Griffon 61 and annular-type chin radiator. Prototype conversion of Mk I flown April 18, 1943; no production.
Fairey Firefly IV: Succeeded F Mk III proposal, based on Griffon 70 series using wing root radiators and changed wing planform. Radome on starboard wing and flush-fitting fuel tank on port wing. Fairey Firefly III prototype (with Griffon 72) and three modified Mk Is with 2,245 hp Griffon 74s tested 1944-45 and first production Mk IV flown May 25, 1945. Subsequent variants, production and service were post-war.

Fairey Flycatcher N9666

Built to Air Ministry Specification 6/22, the prototype of what became named the Fairey Flycatcher made its first flight during aircraft carriers, it could have interchangeable wheeled, float, or combined wheel/float amphibious landing gear. In this latter form, the ground-contact tread of each wheel was only inches below the undersurface of the float, causing many raised eyebrows as, apparently, a floatplane was to be seen taking off from a grass airfield. Construction was composite with wooden fabric-covered wings and a fuselage of wood and metal with fabric covering.

Some of the nicest people are eccentrics: the Flycatcher seemed to belong in this category, following what appeared to be normal Fairey practice of sacrificing good looks for good performance. The result was an aeroplane which only its designer, or its pilot, could love. Single-bay biplane wings, well-staggered, with pronounced dihedral on the upper wing and a fuselage which appeared to curve upwards to the tail unit, gave the impression that a giant had used this little fighter as a seat. When seen in profile in flight it looked distinctly odd.

But these quirks of configuration (plus Fairey's Patent Camber Gear) provided an aeroplane that was easy to fly, even at low speeds, and yet one which was highly manoeuvrable. No wonder that pilots were enthusiastic about it. Flycatchers remained in service from 1923 until declared obsolete in 1935, during which period 192 were built. Like their contemporary Fairey IIIF, they had the distinction of serving on board all British aircraft carriers of that period. In addition, harking back to World War I procedure, they operated as landplane fighters from a short take-off platform mounted above the gun turrets of capital ships. Their trailing-edge flaps and drooped ailerons provided a steep path of descent which was ideal for carrier landing. One Flycatcher was fitted experimentally with hydraulic brakes which permitted a very short landing run. This was the first FAA aircraft to have such brakes, but they did not then become standard equipment.

Once on deck, they did not have the benefit of folding wings to simplify shipboard stowage. Instead they were designed to be dismantled easily into sections which did not exceed 4.11m in length. The training, skill and enthusiasm of deck handling crews made possible such feats as a record of six aircraft landed and stowed in their hangars in only 4 minutes 20 seconds. Landing, of course, was carried out on the main deck. But these little fighters (housed in a forward hangar) could take off from a special tapered runway, only 18.3m in length, leading directly from their hangar and out over the bows.

Undoubtedly the Flycatcher made an important contribution to the best traditions and practice of naval flying.

Engine: 1 x Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar III, 298kW, wingspan: 8.84m, length: 7.01m, height: 3.66m, wing area: 26.76m2, start mass: 1372kg, empty mass: 924kg, max speed: 216kph, ceiling: 5790m, range: 500km, armament: 2 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 4 x 9kg bombs.

Fairey Fulmar II DR666

Fairey Fulmar - The Fairey Fulmar emerged in 1938 as an adaptation to Specification O.8/38 for a two-seat Naval fighter, of the PA/34 day bomber. Differences included a small reduction in wing span, folding wings, deck-arrester gear, catapult points, modified cockpit canopy, Naval equipment and use of a 1,275 hp Merlin VIII. Armament com-prised eight Browning 0.303-in (7.7-mm) guns in the wings and provision for a similar Vickers K gun in the rear cockpit. One P.4/34 prototype was converted to test features of Fairey Fulmar in March 1938.
Fairey Fulmar I: Total of 250 built for FAA, first flight being on January 4, 1940, with Merlin VIII engine. Entered service June 1940 with No 808 Sqn, and first operations Sept/Oct 1940 on Malta convoys. Equipped 14 front-line squadrons by end-1942 including one in Egypt and one in India; also operated as night-intruder from shore bases, including Malta, and as night-fighter with No 813 Sqn on Russian convoys. One captured and operated by Vichy French forces at Dakar in 1941.

Max speed, 280 mph (451 km/h). Cruising speed, 235 mph (375 km/h). Initial rate of climb, l,200ft/min (6.1 ml sec). Service ceiling, 26,000 ft (7,925 m). Max range, 800 miles (1,287 km). Empty weight, 6,915 Ib (3,137 kg). Gross weight, 9,800 Ib (4,445 kg). Span, 46 ft 4'/2 in (14.14 m). Length, 40 ft 3 in (12.2m).

Fairey Fulmar II: As Fairey Fulmar I but fitted with 1,300 hp Merlin 30, Rotol propeller and tropical filters. One Mk I converted, first flown January 20, 1941, and 350 production aircraft delivered, ending February 1943.

Fairey IIIF J9666

Fairey IIIF - Ending a long line of Fairey Series III types, the Fairey IIIF first flew on March 19, 1926, and was produced in a number of variants for FAA and RAF use, and for export. Among the latter, ten Fairey IIIF Mk IIIBs went to Greece in 1931 (as did four ex-FAA Mk IIIMs) and provided the equipment of 1 Mira of the Royal
Hellenic Air Force at the time of the Italian invasion of Greece in 1940. Any continuing use was ended by the German intervention in April 1941. The two/three-seat Fairey IIIF Mk IIIB was powered by a 530 hp Lion XIA and armed with one fixed Vickers and one flexible Lewis gun.

Max speed, 136 mph (219 km/h). Gross weight, 5,874 Ib (2,664 kg). Span, 45 ft 9 in (13.94m). Length, 34ft 0 in (10.36 m).

Fairey Swordfish - The prototype of the Fairey Swordfish torpedo-spotter-reconnaissance aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm was developed under the direction of Marcel Lobelle to meet the requirements of Specification S.I5/33. Known as the Fairey TSR.II, it was a derivative of the earlier TSR.I and, first flown on April 17, 1934, was powered by a 690 hp Pegasus IIIM3. Three development aircraft were ordered in May 1935 to Specification S.38/34 and production was authorised at the same time. The Fairey Swordfish carried three crew for reconnaissance or two for torpedo duties, could operate as a floatplane and carried one 18 -in (46-cm), 1,610-lb (731-kg) torpedo or 1,500-lb (681-kg) mine under the fuselage or up to 1,500-lb (681-kg) of assorted bombs under fuselage and wings; other armament comprised one forward-firing and one free-mounted aft 0.303-in (7.7-mm) gun. First flight of a development aircraft was on December 31, 1935, the other two following in 1936, one on floats.

Fairey Swordfish I: Initial production con-tract placed April 1935 for 86 aircraft, increased by subsequent contracts to 989 of which 300 were built by Blackburn at Sherburn-in-Elmet (sometimes i. own colloquially as 'Blackfish') and the remainder by Fairey. Deliveries began mid-1936 to No 825 Squadron, and 12 more squadrons equipped by September 1939; 13 more front-line FAA units were equipped by June 1943, and more than 20 second-line units used Fairey Swordfish for training and other duties. Operational use included gun-spotting, mine-laying and torpedo attacks (notably at Taranto, when a complete Italian fleet was virtually eliminated, and on the battleships Schamhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen in the English Channel).

Max speed, 139 mph (224 km/h) at 4,750 ft (1,448 m). Cruising speed, 104 mph (167 km/h) at 5,000ft (1,525 m). Time to 5,000 ft (1,525 m), 10 mins. Service ceiling, 10,700 ft (3,260 m). Range, 546 miles (879 km) with torpedo, 1,030 miles (1,657 km) for reconnaissance. Empty weight, 5,200 Ib (2,361 kg). Gross weight, 9,250 Ib (4,200 kg). Span, 45ft 6 in (13.87 m). Length, 36 ft 4 in (11.07 m). Wing area, 607 sq ft (56.39m2).

Fairey Swordfish II: Improved version of Mk I with Pegasus IIIM3 or 775 hp Pegasus 30 engine, introduced 1943, with metal covered undersurfaces of lower wings to permit carriage and launching of eight 60-lb (27-kg) rocket projectiles. 1,080 built by Blackburn, of which 99 to Canada (some post-war) for RCAF and RCN. First successful operational use of RPs from Fairey Swordfish on May 23, 1943, by No 819 Sqn, sinking a U-boat. Also used by two RAF squadrons until May 1945.

Fairey Swordfish III: As Mk II with ASV Mk X air-to-surface-vessel radar in large radome between undercarriage legs. 320 built by Blackburn, final delivery August 18, 1944. Operational, alongside Fairey Swordfish Us, with several FAA front-line squadrons up to May 1945, aboard merchant aircraft carriers, escort carriers and from shore bases.
Fairey Swordfish IV: Some Fairey Swordfish IIs converted in Canada to have enclosed and heated cockpits. The designation was not officially confirmed.

Fairey Swordfish II HS666

This aircraft was part of an order of 400 Swordfish Mk II ordered from Blackburn Aircraft Limited under contract No B31192/39 (HS154-HS678) built at Sherburn-in-Elmet of which all were delivered from May 1942 onwards.


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