I noticed this plane in the background of this car advert. Can anyone identify it? I'm assuming that may have been used on an aircraft carrier, hence the elaborate folding wings?

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    $\begingroup$ That is a 944 cabriolet and it can really fly. $\endgroup$ – Dave Nov 30 '16 at 15:36

Fairey Gannet ECM.6

British carrier-borne aircraft of the post-Second World War era developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA), the Fairey Gannet AS.4 (anti-submarine warfare role) was converted to an ECM.6 variant (electronic countermeasures role) after the AS role was taken by a helicopter, the Westland Whirlwind HAS.7.

The prototype first flew on 19 September 1949 and made the first deck landing ever by a turboprop aircraft, on HMS Illustrious in June 1950.

The Fairey Gannet was powered by a dual Armstrong Siddely Mamba, driving two contra-rotating propellers. One engine could be shut down in flight to conserve fuel.

The aircraft was originally designed with two seats, but a third one was later added over the wing trailing edge for a second observer:

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Source: Gothic-Air

This disturbed the airflow over the horizontal stabilizer, requiring the addition of small finlets.

A total of 348 Gannets were built.

XA459 RN

This particular airframe is c/n F9311 registered XA459 RN for the Royal Navy. It entered 814 NAS in March 1957.

Here at RNAS Culdrose in 1976:

enter image description here Photo by Ray Barber at flickr

In 1982 at Cardiff:

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Photo by Chris England at ABPic

From Stephen Metcalf's page:

XA459 was built as an AS.4 but had a short career, joining 814 NAS in March 1957 and being grounded in June the same year after a sonobuoy failed to release properly and damaged the rear fuselage. Repaired by October 1958, she was flown to the Aircraft Holding Unit at Abbotsinch and not re-issued to a squadron. She was then flown to NARIU at Lee-on-Solent and converted to an ECM.6 before being issued to 831 NAS at Culdrose in May 1961. She finished her active career with the same unit in 1966, by now based at RAF Watton. Initially used as a ground instructional airframe at Lee and later Culdrose, she was then used by the School of Aircraft Handlers also at Culdrose before being earmarked for preservation and dismantled in late 1978 ready for a move to a museum [...]
Continue reading on the original site.

Full history from South Wales Aviation Group:

29/12/56 at Ringway as AS.4 - dd 15/01/57 to RDU Anthorn - 814 NAS Culdrose 04/03/57 - AR Culdrose 13/06/57 - AHU Culdrose 12/11/57 - AHU Abbotsinch 18/10/58 - NARIU Lee-on-Solent converted to ECM.6 - 831 NAS Culdrose 02/05/61 "-/274", "CU/394" - NARIU Lee-on-Solent 28/10/63 - 831 NAS Watton 09/04/64 "R/394", "R/396" - total flying hours 1005.05 - to GIA AES Lee-on-Solent 21/07/66 - to NASU Culdrose 09/07/68 - SoC 18/11/70 - to SAH Culdrose - A2608 31/11/70 - wfu & dismantled by 23/11/78 - to WAM by road 04/04/79 - sometime coded "E/-" - to Gloucester area late 89, damaged going under low bridge enroute - auctioned 08/11/90 - to Cirencester, Gloucs - to Lambourn, Berks 99 - to Woodlands St Mary, Berks - to White Waltham, Berks 05/11/06 - current.

Current location: White Waltham

Stored at White Waltham airfield since 2006:

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Source: Google Maps

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Photos by Renegade53 at ipernity


  • Fairey Gannet, White Waltham Airfield (link)
  • Warpaint Series 23 (link)
  • The Info List (link)
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    $\begingroup$ Very impressive that you found not only the type of plane, but the actual plane in the picture. Nicely done. $\endgroup$ – Michael Seifert Nov 30 '16 at 20:49
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    $\begingroup$ shame to see an aircraft left to deteriorate so badly, especially one earmarked for a museum. At the very least put a tarp or some other shelter over it... $\endgroup$ – jwenting Dec 1 '16 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ Wow, fantastic. I am very impressed that you answered both my question and all the questions that I hadn't even thought about asking until now! Thanks for your time. $\endgroup$ – tallpaul Dec 1 '16 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ how in the seven heavens did you find the specific airframe? $\endgroup$ – E.P. Dec 2 '16 at 1:19
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    $\begingroup$ This answer deserves to commemorated in the Hall of Good Answers $\endgroup$ – Code Whisperer Dec 4 '16 at 13:02

The aircraft is the Fairey Gannet. It can be identified easily by its distinctive Z-shaped double folding wings, which makes it extremely compact for storage aboard aircraft carriers. The image below shows the aircraft with the wings unfolded.

Fairey Gannet

Fairey Gannet T.2 (XA508) in Midland Air Museum; image from plane-crazy.k-hosting.co.uk

The aircraft was used primarily by RN as an ASW aircraft (which appears to be the version in question), though it was also used in other roles like AEW, COD etc. The aircraft also has distinctive contra-rotating propellers driven by Armstrong Siddeley Double Mamba engine, which is basically two Mambas mounted side-by-side and coupled through a common gearbox to coaxial contra-rotating propellers.

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    $\begingroup$ The Double Mamba?!?!? MegaMind would LOVE this!!!!! $\endgroup$ – Bob Jarvis Nov 30 '16 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ And there is one left flying Gannet, AKA "Janet" $\endgroup$ – Gerry Nov 30 '16 at 18:00
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    $\begingroup$ That is without a doubt the ugliest airplane I have ever seen. $\endgroup$ – Carlo Felicione Nov 30 '16 at 19:04

It's a Fairey Gannet. British airplane used for anti submarine warfare

  • $\begingroup$ Has two engines also. $\endgroup$ – LuftBier Nov 30 '16 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ @LuftBier it doesn't. It's a single engine that's built out of bolting 2 smaller engines together. Was done more often at the time, the Germans started doing it for their largest bombers in WW2. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Feb 8 at 4:48

It looks like a Fairey Gannet to me, but I'm not 100% certain.




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