Monday, July 21, 2014

Fairey Gannet AEW.3

Found this critter in Pima Air Museum's back lot last month.
It's a British Fairey Gannet set up as an Airborne Early Warning aircraft, with a honking big radome slung beneath her.
The Gannet was unique for it's contra-rotating propellers (one turned in each direction to negate the torque effect) that were spun by what was in effect two separate engines each turning a shaft through what had to be the most complex gearbox ever designed. In flight, one engine could be shut down to conserve fuel and the plane could fly on the other, or both could run and give the plane serious power without serious P-factor trying to twist the plane opposite it's prop rotation.

The British Navy flew these from 1959 until 1978, when the HMS Ark Royal, Britain's last aircraft carrier capable of handing them was retired. Of the 44 AEW variants built, most were scrapped. 5 survive on display in Britain and this is the only one in America. Recently, one straight T-5 version without the radome was returned to airworthy flying status by Shannan Hendricks of New Richmond, Wisconsin, so hopefully we'll see that one on the airshow circuit before long.

8 comments:

  1. Seen them flying in Scotland, strange sounding birds too... :-)

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  2. Makes me wish that Jay Leno would get into vintage and historic aircraft like he has cars.

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  3. I saw a British carrier in the Med, during an exercise in 1977. I think it might have been the Hermes, but it was a long time ago.

    I have a great huge stack of old aviation magazines from the 1970's and 1980's. Mostly Airpower, Air Classics, Air Progress, and some odds and ends from Europe. Would you like to have them? They are sitting in my barn (it's climate controlled)and haven't been touched in many years.

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    1. Oh He'll yes! Email enroute shortly.

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Saw that one on my Google walk around and wondered why you hadn't posted a picture of it.

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    1. I have many more to post, too. All in time. Have any preferences?

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  5. Interesting plane indeed

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