Founded in 1915 by Charles Richard Fairey (later Sir Richard Fairey) on his departure from Short Brothers, where he had been chief engineer since 1912, the Fairey Aviation Company first built aircraft designed by other manufacturers under licence or subcontract . The first aircraft designed and built by Fairey Aviation specifically for use on an aircraft carrier was the Fairey Campania, a patrol seaplane that first flew in 1917. This was followed by the Hamble Baby and the first of a range of Fairey III aircraft. A new factory was built in 1918 at Hayes, Middlesex, staffed by designers Barlow, Lobelle and Tips. The Fairey Fox bomber was faster than the contemporary RAF fighters. One notable Hayes-built aircraft type during the late 1930s and World War II was the Fairey Swordfish. Receipt of large UK military contracts in the mid 1930s necessitated the acquisition of a large factory in Heaton Chapel, Stockport in 1935, that had been used as the National Aircraft Factory No. 2 during WW1. Flight test facilities were built at Manchester's Ringway Airport, the first phase opening in June 1937. Quantity production of Fairey Battle light bombers at Stockport/Ringway commenced in mid 1937. Large numbers of Fairey Fulmar fighters and Fairey Barracuda dive-bombers followed during WWII. Fairey's also built 498 Bristol Beaufighter aircraft and over 660 Handley Page Halifax bombers in their northern facilities. Postwar, Fairey Firefly and Gannet naval aircraft were supplemented by sub-contracts from de Havilland for Vampire and Venom jet fighters. Sir Richard Fairey remained in charge of his company until his death in 1956. Aircraft production and modification at Stockport and Ringway ceased in 1960. In 1957, the prototype Fairey Rotodyne vertical take-off airliner had been built at Hayes. After a merger with Westland Helicopters in 1960, helicopters such as the Westland Wasp were produced in the 1960s. Westland acquired all Fairey’s aircraft manufacturing business (including the Gannet AEW.3). In 1977 the Fairey Group went into receivership and was effectively nationalised by the Government, which ended Fairey’s aviation business. There had been aviation subsidiaries in Canada and Australia, mainly concerned with the repair and overhaul of aircraft.
Firefly in flight
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - Air Show June 2011
I would imagine a rare bird. A post WWII griffon e...
Fairy Gannet AS4 of the German Marineflieger at the Technik Museum (Speyer). July 2012
Fairey Gannet ECM6 AS4
Fairey Gannet ECM6 AS4 seen at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford (UK) in March 2011.
Fairey Firefly TT4 VH127
Photographed inside Cobham Hall, the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton's reserve collection, on 19 A...
Fairey Gannet AEW.3 XL503
Photographed on 19 April 2013 in Cobham Hall, the FAA Museum reserve collection at Yeovilton. C/n F9...