FEATURED ITEMS PAGE 3


Folland Gnat – VERY rare factory model c.1958

Another of those very rare Aviation Industry models !

Designed by W.E.W. Petter, The Fo-145 Gnat fighter emerged as a scaled up and more powerful variant of the earlier “private venture” Folland Midge Fighter.

Although the RAF was not interested in the fighter variant of the Gnat, they were interested in the possibility of adding an extra seat to the aircraft and turning it into a jet trainer. In response Folland produced a brochure outlining a trainer variant, which was accepted by the RAF.

Initially ordered in 1957, the prototype first flew in August 1959.

As the RAF was impressed with the trainer, a follow-up order for production examples was expected by Folland but never came - Folland suspected that the government held back the order to force them to accept a takeover by Hawker Siddeley as part of the government's aggressive plan to consolidate Britain's aviation industry and eliminate the small companies. Hawker Siddeley did take Folland over in 1959 and soon afterwards received a RAF order for production trainers with 30 being ordered in February 1960. Another 61 were ordered, bringing the total to 105. By June 1962 the first production aircraft had flown and between 1962 and 1965 the rest were built by Hawker Siddeley. 

 

The Gnat T. Mk 1's served with the RAF in the training role from 1962 until 1978 when they were replaced with the Hawker Siddeley (now BAE Systems) Hawk T Mk.1.

This model, a factory produced promotional item, can be dated to 1958-1959, and the cast aluminium stand bears the inscription

“FOLLAND AIRCRAFT COMPANY Ltd.

HAMBLE, SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND” 

The aircraft is, unusually, hollow brass & plated. Much of the plating has worn away, but the airframe is good, straight, complete and totally original. This is an exceptionally rare find. It measures a little over 8 inches long (21cms) There is a ball joint on the undersides of the fuselage, and a pin of the stand upright...so when fixed to the stand, the aircraft can be multi-posed.


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