Fairey Firefly


Fairey Firefly

infobox Aircraft
name = Fairey Firefly
type = Carrier Fighter
manufacturer = Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd.




caption = Fairey Firefly AS.Mk 6
designer =
first flight = 22 December 1941
introduced = 1943
retired = 1958 (Fleet Air Arm)
status =
primary user = Fleet Air Arm
more users =
produced = 1941-1955
number built = 1,702
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =
The Fairey Firefly was a British Second World War-era carrier-borne fighter aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm. It was superior in performance and firepower to its predecessor, the Fairey Fulmar, but did not enter operational service until towards the end of the war. It remained a mainstay of the FAA until the mid-1950s.

Design and development

The Firefly was designed by H.E. Chaplin at Fairey Aviation in 1940; in June 1940, the Admiralty ordered 200 aircraft to meet Specification N.5/40. The prototype of the Mk I Firefly flew on 22 December 1941. Thetford 1978, p.164.] Although it was two tons heavier than the Fulmar (due largely to its armament of two 20 mm cannon in each wing), the Firefly was 40 mph (64 km/h) faster due to improved aerodynamics and a more powerful engine, the 1,730 hp (1,290 kW) Rolls-Royce Griffon IIB.

The Firefly is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with oval-section metal semi-monocoque fuselage and conventional tail unit with forward placed tailplane. Powered by a Rolls-Royce Griffon liquid-cooled piston engine with a three-blade airscrew. The Firefly had retractable main landing gear and tail wheel, with the hydraulic operated main landing gear retracting inwards into the underside of the wing centre-section. The aircraft also had a retractable deck arrester-hook under the rear fuselage. The Pilot's cockpit was over the leading edge of the wing and the observer/radio-operator/navigator aft of the wing trailing edge. Both crew had separate jettisonable canopies. The all metal wing could be folded manually, with the wings along the sides of the fuselage. When in the flying position the wings were hydraulically locked.Bridgman, Leonard. "Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II". New York: Crescent Books, 1988. ISBN 0-517-67964-7.]

Operational service

The primary variant of the aircraft used during the Second World War was the Mk I, which was used in all theatres of operation. In March 1943, the first Firefly Mk Is were delivered but they did not enter operational service until July 1944 when they equipped No. 1770 Squadron aboard HMS "Indefatigable". The first operations were in Europe where Fireflies made armed reconnaissance flights and anti-shipping strikes along the Norwegian coast. Fireflies also provided air cover during strikes on the German battleship "Tirpitz" in 1944.

Throughout its operational career, the Firefly took on increasingly more demanding roles from fighter to anti-submarine warfare stationed mainly with the British Pacific Fleet in the Far East and Pacific theatres. Fireflies carried out attacks on oil refineries and airfields and gained renown when they became the first British-designed and -built aircraft to overfly Tokyo. Thetford 1978, p.168.]

After the Second World War, the Firefly remained in service in the UK, which also supplied the aircraft to Canada, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and Thailand. The Royal Canadian Navy employed 65 Fireflies of the Mk AS 5 type onboard its own aircraft carriers between 1946 and 1954. It also had some Mk I Fireflies, and sold several of these to Ethiopia in the early 1950s. British and Australian Fireflies carried out anti-shipping patrols and ground strikes off various aircraft carriers in the Korean War as well as serving in the ground-attack role in the Malaya. The Firefly's FAA frontline career ended with the introduction of the Fairey Gannet.

Variants

; Firefly I / FR.I: Two variants of the Mk I Firefly were built; 429 "fighter" Firefly F Mk Is, built by Fairey and General Aircraft Ltd, and 376 "fighter/reconnaissance" Firefly FR Mk Is (which were fitted with the ASH detection radar). The last 334 Mk Is built were upgraded with the 1,765 hp (1,316 kW) Griffon XII engine.; Firefly F.Mk 1A: ; Firefly NF.Mk II: Only 37 Mk II Fireflies were built, all of which were night fighter Firefly NF Mk IIs. They had a slightly longer fuselage than the Mk I and had modifications to house their airborne interception (AI) radar. ; Firefly NF.Mk I: The NF.II was superseded by the Firefly NF Mk I "night fighter" variant. ; Firefly T.Mk 1: Two-seat pilot training aircraft. Post-war conversion of the Firefly Mk I.; Firefly T.Mk 2: Armed operational training aircraft. Post-war conversion of the Firefly Mk I.; Firefly T.Mk 3: Used for Anti-submarine warfare training. Postwar conversion of the Firefly Mk I.; Firefly TT.Mk I: Postwar, a small number of Firefly Mk Is were converted into target tug aircraft. ; Firefly Mk III: A Firefly Mk III was proposed, based on the Griffon 61 engine, but never entered production. ; Firefly Mk IV: The Firefly Mk IV was equipped with the 2,330 hp (1,740 kW) Griffon 72 engine and first flew in 1944, but did not enter service until after the end of the war. ; Firefly FR.Mk 4: Fighter-reconnaissance version based on the Firefly Mk IV.; Firefly Mk 5:; Firefly NF.Mk 5: Night fighter version based on the Firefly Mk 5.; Firefly RF.Mk 5: Reconnaissance fighter version based on the Firefly Mk 5.; Firefly AS.Mk 5: The later Firefly AS.Mk 5 was an anti-submarine aircraft, which carried American sonobuoys and equipment.; Firefly Mk 6: ; Firefly AS.Mk 6: The Fairefly AS.Mk 6 was an anti-submarine aircraft, which carried British equipment. ; Firefly TT.Mk 4/5/6: Small numbers of AS.4/5/6s were converted into target tug aircraft. ; Firefly AS.Mk 7: The Firefly AS.Mk 7 was an anti-submarine aircraft, powered by a Rolls-Royce Griffin 59 piston engine.; Firefly T.Mk 7: The Firefly T.Mk 7 was an interim ASW training aircraft.; Firefly U.Mk 8: The Firefly U.Mk 8 was a target drone aircraft; 34 Firefly T.7s were diverted on the production line for completion as target drones. ; Firefly U.Mk 9: The Firefly U.Mk 9 was a target drone aircraft; 40 existing Firefly Mk AS.4 and AS.5 aircraft were converted to this role.

Operators

Wartime;UK
*Fleet Air Arm

Post War;AUS
* Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm
** No. 723 Squadron RAN
** No. 724 Squadron RAN
** No. 725 Squadron RAN
** No. 816 Squadron RAN
** No. 817 Squadron RAN
** No. 851 Squadron RAN;flag|Canada|1921
*Royal Canadian Navy;DNK
*Royal Danish Air Force;ETH
*Ethiopian Air Force;NLD
*Dutch Naval Aviation Service;SWE
*Svensk Flygtjanst AB at Bromma operated several TT.1 aircraft between 1949 and 1964. [ [http://www.warbirdregistry.org/fireflyregistry/firefly-dt989.html "Firefly TT.1 DT989" entry at the "Warbirdregistry.org" website] ] ;THA
*Royal Thai Air Force operated Fireflies between 1952 and 1966. [ [http://www.warbirdregistry.org/fireflyregistry/firefly-mb410.html "Firefly FB.1 MB410" entry at the "Warbirdregistry.org" website] ] ;UK
*Fleet Air Arm operated Fireflies till 1956 when aircraft was replaced by the Fairey Gannet.

urvivors

There are approximately 24 Fairey Fireflies surviving worldwide, including three airworthy examples and at least one other being restored to flying condition. The Fleet Air Arm Museum possesses two Fireflies, the latest acquisition arriving in 2000 from the Imperial War Museum Duxford. Firefly "WB271" was destroyed in July 2003 during an aerobatic air display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire - Europe's largest display of vintage war planes. Following the grounding of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (Canada) Firefly AS 6 "WH632", which was damaged in a crash and restored as a static museum display (painted as an RCN Firefly AS 5), there are only two airworthy Fireflies at present: AS 6s "WD826" at the Royal Australian Navy Historic Flight, NAS Nowra NSW (Australia) and "WB518", another former RAN machine, in the USA. The latter was one of the first ten Mk 6s built, but retained the earlier Mk 5 fuselage; originally delivered to the Royal Australian Navy's 817 Squadron, it served in 816 Squadron before being retired and ending up as a memorial on a pole in Griffith, New South Wales, Australia. Purchased by American Eddie Kurdziel, a former U.S. Navy pilot and Northwest Airlines captain, after an extensive restoration "WB518" made its first public appearance at the 2002 Oshkosh event.

Other survivors include: in Australia, Firefly AS 6 "WD827" which was first owned by the Australian Air League, Blacktown, New South Wales, and now on display in the Moorabin Air Museum, Melbourne, Victoria; and AS 6 "WD828" is displayed on a pole at Griffith, New South Wales (painted as "WB518", which originally was displayed there); and AS 6 "WJ109" is on display at Australia's Museum of Flight, Nowra, NSW. Another ex-Australian Flying, AS 6 "WD833", is owned by Henry "Butch" Schroeder who moved the aircraft to Danville, Illinois USA for restoration, however the present wheareabouts of thisaircraft are unclear.

The Thai Air Force Museum has a Firefly Mk I on display.

.

As well as the Canadian Warplane Heritage's ex-Australian Firefly, two other Fireflies are known to exist in Canada: one is at the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa and another is being restored at the Shearwater Aviation Museum at Eastern Passage (near Dartmouth), Nova Scotia. Both are Mk I models that served in the Canadian Navy from 1946 to 1954, after which they were sold to the Ethiopian Air Force. Following their discovery in the Ethiopian desert in 1993, they were repatriated to Canada.

See also: VX381 Fairey Firefly wreck - crash of two aircraft in Australia, 27 November 1956.

pecifications (Mk I)

aircraft specification

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
crew=Two (pilot & observer)
length main=37 ft 7 in
length alt=11.46 m
span main=44 ft 6 in
span alt=13.56 m
height main=13 ft 7 in
height alt=4.14 m
area main=330 ft²
area alt=31m²
empty weight main=9,460 lb
empty weight alt=4,254 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
max takeoff weight main=14,020 lb
max takeoff weight alt=6,359 kg
engine (prop)=Rolls-Royce Griffon IIB
type of prop=liquid-cooled V12 engine
number of props=1
power main=1,730 hp
power alt=1,290 kW
max speed main=316 mph at 14,000 ft
max speed alt=509 km/h at 4,300 m
range main=1,070 miles
range alt=1,722 km
range more=with auxiliary tanks
ceiling main=28,000 ft
ceiling alt=8,530 m
climb rate main=ft/min
climb rate alt=m/s
loading main=lb/ft²
loading alt=kg/m²
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
armament=
*4 × 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannons
*2 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb or 8 × 60 lb (27 kg) rockets

pecifications (Mk IV)

aircraft specification

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
crew=Two (pilot & observer)
length main=37 ft 11 in
length alt=11.53 m
span main=41 ft 2 in
span alt=12.55 m
height main=14 ft 4 in
height alt=4.37 m
area main=330 ft²
area alt=30.66 m²
empty weight main=9,460 lb
empty weight alt=4,300 kg
loaded weight main=13,200 lb
loaded weight alt=6,000 kg
max takeoff weight main=14,020 lb
max takeoff weight alt=6,359 kg
engine (prop)=Rolls-Royce Griffon IIB
type of prop=liquid-cooled V12 engine
number of props=1
power main=1,730 hp
power alt=1,290 kW
max speed main=386 mph at 14,000 ft
max speed alt=618 km/h at 4,300 m
range main=1,070 miles
range alt=1,722 km
range more=with auxiliary tanks
ceiling main=28,000 ft
ceiling alt=8,530 m
climb rate main=1,900 ft/min
climb rate alt=9.7 m/s
loading main=lb/ft²
loading alt=kg/m²
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
armament=
*4 × 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannons
*2 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb under wings
*8 pairs of 60 lb (27 kg) rockets

ee also

aircontent
related=

similar aircraft=
*Fairey Fulmar
*Fairey Gannet

References

Notes

Bibliography

* Brown, Eric, CBE, DCS, AFC, RN.; Green William and Swanborough, Gordon. "Fairey Firefly". "Wings of the Navy, Flying Allied Carrier Aircraft of World War Two". London: Jane's Publishing Company, 1980, p. 145–157. ISBN 0-7106-0002-X.
* Bussy, Geoffrey. "Fairey Firefly: F.Mk.1 to U.Mk.9" (Warpaint Series 28). Milton Keynes, United Kingdom: Hall Park Books Ltd., 2001. ISBN 0-9999-00284.
* Harrison, William A. "Fairey Firefly - The Operational Record". Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife, 1992. ISBN 1-85310-196-6.
* Harrison, William A. "Fairey Firefly in Action (Aircraft number 200)". Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc., 2006. ISBN 0-89747-501-1.
* Thetford, Owen. "British Naval Aircraft since 1912". London: Putnam, Fourth edition, 1978. ISBN 0 370 30021 1.

External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sijqKmbqmvs Video of Fairey Firefly Mk 5 taxiing at an airshow]
* [http://www.shearwateraviationmuseum.ns.ca/exhibits/firefly.htm Shearwater Aviation Museum Firefly restoration]
* [http://www.salenca.com/published/3.html Firefly under restoration] [This link appears to be broken]
* [http://www.warbirdregistry.org/fireflyregistry/fireflyregistry.html Warbird Registry - Fairey Firefly]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fairey Firefly — Fairey Firefly …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Fairey Firefly — Тип палубный истребитель Разработчик Fairey Aviation …   Википедия

  • Fairey Firefly II — Firefly II Тип истребитель Разработчик Fairey Aviation Company Производитель Fairey Aviation …   Википедия

  • Fairey Firefly II — Infobox Aircraft name=Firefly IIM caption=Fairey Firefly Y 17 from 3/II/2 Aé (Red Cocottes) Squadron in flight near its home base at Nivelles. Fairey c/n F 1505 was delivered from Fairey Hayes (UK) on 21 August 1931. type=Fighter… …   Wikipedia

  • Fairey Firefly — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Firefly …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Fairey Firefly I — Infobox Aircraft name=Firefly caption= type=Fighter manufacturer=Fairey designer=Marcel Lobelle first flight=9 November 1925 introduced= retired= status= primary user= more users= produced= number built= unit cost= variants with their own… …   Wikipedia

  • VX381 Fairey Firefly wreck — VX381 is a Fairey Firefly aircraft that crashed on 27 November 1956 in Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia. VX381 lies underwater in Hare Bay, the northern internal bay of Jervis Bay, at approximately coord|35|00|00|S|150|45|00|E|type:landmark …   Wikipedia

  • Fairey Aviation Company — Limited Création 1915 Disparition 1960 Personnages clés Charles Richard Fairey  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Fairey Aviation Company — Rechtsform Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung Gründung 1915 Auflösung 1960 Sitz Hayes (Hillingdon), Großbritannien Branche …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Firefly (disambiguation) — Firefly is a common name for a bioluminescent beetle in the Lampyridae family.Firefly may also refer to:Media and fictionFilm and television* Firefly (TV series), a science fiction TV program created by Joss Whedon * Firefly (film), a 2005… …   Wikipedia