A rare Fairey Firefly
AS-6 (WB518), owned and operated by Captain Eddie Kurdziel of Del Mar,
Photo by Max Haynes.
Firefly was designed as a fleet reconnaissance aircraft for the UK's Royal Navy, and was
derived from the Fairey Fulmar. First flown on 22 December 1941, the first versions were
delivered in March 1943 to RNAS Yeovilton. The main version of the aircraft used during
WWII was the Mk.1, which was used in all theaters of operation.
Throughout its operational career, it took on increasingly more demanding roles, from
fighter to anti-submarine warfare. Main variants included the F1
(with a 1,990-hp Griffon XII engine); FR1 (with an ASH radar
underneath the engine); NF2 (night-fighter); Mk.IV
(with new outer wing nacelles carrying fuel and an ASH scanner); the FR4,
with a two-stage supercharged engine and wing root radiators in place of the earlier
"chin-mounted" ones; the AS5 (with new American
sonobuoys); TT5 and TT6 (target tugs); and T7
(Anti-Submarine Warfare trainer).
After WWII, the Firefly remained in service in both
the UK and Australia, flying anti-ship missions off various aircraft carriers in the
Korean War and serving in the ground-attack role in Malaya. In 1956, the Firefly's
frontline career ended with the introduction of the Fairey Gannet.
Only three Fireflies are currently believed to be maintained in
airworthy condition. However, several others around the world are under restoration to
Engine: One 2,250-hp Rolls-Royce Griffon 74 V-12 piston engine
Weight: Empty 9,674 lbs., Max
Takeoff 16,096 lbs.
Wing Span: 41ft. 2in.
Length: 37ft. 11in.
Height: 14ft. 4in.
cannon in wings
hardpoints for 16 60-pound rockets or two 1,000-pound bombs
Number Built: ~1533
Number Still Airworthy: At least three
Aviation Museum Digital Archive -- Firefly
Heritage -- Firefly Page
Fairey Firefly Mk V (WB518) -- Eddie
Kurdziel's award-winning Firefly.
Firefly Mk I (PP462)
Restoration in Nova Scotia, Canada
Bonne's Firefly Page
Royal Navy Historic
Flight's Firefly (WB271)
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