Skip to main content

Kemble Airfield has many interesting residents. The local aviation company, Delta Jets, is better known for it’s fleet of Hawker Hunters, but it also owns this Hawker Siddeley Gnat T.1, XP502. Currently, the Gnat is located on the old airfield ‘signal square’ , a relic of the early days of flying, when a pilot would join the circuit overhead, and look down at the square, to see which runway was in use (shown by means of black ‘dumbell’ markers) and even confirm WHERE he was - the two-letter code for Kemble, KM, has not long been removed. XP502 is in spurious ‘Red Arrows’ markings, to commemorate the fact that Kemble was the home of the ‘Reds’ for nearly 15 years, from 1969 to 1983; the last four years of which had seen the Gnats supplanted by the BAe Hawk. Indeed, the Postmaster at nearby Cirencester sometimes still gets mail addressed to ‘The Red Arrows, RAF Kemble’ – it is carefully forwarded to their present home at RAF Scampton.

The Gnat was designed by W.E.W. ‘Teddy’ Petter and was the outgrowth of another Folland design, the lightweight fighter known as the Folland Midge. Although neither the Midge nor the single-seat Gnat were adopted by the Royal Air Force, a development, the two-seat Fo.144 Gnat Trainer, was finally ordered on the 7th January, 1958 as the Hawker Siddeley Gnat T.1 (the Folland concern having been taken over by Hawker Siddeley in 1959), and intended as an advanced trainer to lead into the English Electric Lightning, yet another aircraft which had been designed by W.E.W. Petter!

XP502 was the very first Gnat to enter service with No 4 Flying Training School (7th November, 1962; construction number FL.517), and served with this unit until 1978. Withdrawn from use, it became an instructional airframe at RAF St Athan in South Wales, before, finally, being auctioned off.

The Gnat proved to be a highly manoeuvrable aircraft, and the ‘Reds’ predecessors, the ‘Yellowjacks’ showed just how suitable it was for display flying. Many of the Gnats used by the ‘Red Arrows’ had the infamous ‘Fuse 13′ modification, whereby that particular fuse was removed, to allow maximum roll rate via the now uprated ailerons. This gave rise to the famous Gnat ‘twinkle roll’ . The ‘Fuse 13′ modification was rescinded in 1972.

Gnats are regularly seen on the European air show circuit, as a popular ‘jet warbird’, but were also the ‘stars’ of a 1991 feature film, ‘Hot Shots’, a parody of ‘Top Gun’! The film, which showed the Gnats painted as US Navy aircraft, featured Charlie Sheen and Lloyd Bridges.

The single-seater fighter version of the Gnat would actually see action in its Indian version, which was licence-built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Indian Air Force Gnats fought against Sabres, Mirage III and MiG 21s of the Pakistani Air Force in both the 1965 and 1971 conflicts, and were quite successful, being extremely agile, hardhitting and presenting a miniscule target to the opposition.  

http://peoplesmosquito.org.uk

http://shortfinals.wordpress.com

Originally posted to Kossack Air Force on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site