Air Enthusiast 2006-05
D.Willis - Fairey's Versatile Gannet /Post-war combat/ (1)
Gannet AS.4 XD898 of 816 Squadron, Royal Australian Navy, based at Nowra, New South Wales, 1967.
Gannet AS.1 WN404 of 820 Squadron during its period on HMS 'Bulwark' in 1956/1957.
The Double Mamba consisted of a pair of Mambas mounted side-by-side and linked by a common gearbox. It was an efficient way of producing an engine with double the power output for little development outlay.
The first prototype Fairey Q in September 1949 around the time of its first flight, long before the rear cockpit, finlets and mock-up of the ventral radome had been added.
Weapons bay open and radome extended, the second prototype posing for the camera over a Royal Navy submarine. Of note are the wing fences briefly tested on the prototypes.
WN348 wore the standard colours of production anti-submarine Gannets, consisting of extra dark sea grey upper- and sky lower-surfaces.
From above the unusual spacing of the cockpits for the pilot, observer (navigator) and radio/radar operator are visible.
XA510, here in March 1955, was the first production Gannet T.2.
Although its role is revealed by the yellow trainer band around the rear fuselage, the only external clues that this is a Gannet T.2 are the periscope above the second cockpit and the lack of a radome. WN365 was the prototype of the version.
The third prototype was the first Gannet to have a rear cockpit, although a smaller transparency was used on the production aircraft. Note the feathered inner prop.
VR546 after an aerodynamic mock up of the rear cockpit was added on its rear fuselage and the retractable 'dustbin' radar scanner had been moved aft to provide room for the new crew member.
The large area of flaps and unsynchronised undercarriage retraction are evident in this take-off view of production Gannet AS.I WN391.
Gannet AS.4 XA435 of 814 Squadron flying off HMS 'Eagle'. Note the rocket-rails under the wings.
While the Gannet trainers retained the large weapons hay of the anti-submarine versions, they did not carry operational equipment. XG883 was a T.5.
The elaborate wing-fold mechanism of the Gannet allowed the aircraft to fit inside the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers. The diamond emblem on the nose reveals the footholds for the pilot to climb into the aircraft.
Fairey Battle I K9370 tested the contra-rotating propeller Rolls-Royce P24 Prince.
The Trent Meteor, modified Mk.III EE227, was the world's first turboprop.
WB781 was the Blackburn YA7, powered by a Rolls-Royce Griffon.
The last of the three Blackburn anti-submarine aircraft built to Specification GR.17/45 was the Blackburn YB1.j44