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The Wonderful World of Vehicles
by Kurt Ristniemi
The Folland Gnat F.1
Folland Gnat F Mk.1
Where are they now
Current whereabouts of the Finnish Gnats according to the Internet per 18th August 2005:
|The Finnish Air Force
acquired 13 Folland Gnat F.1 aircraft in 1958-1960. They
were coded GN-101
to GN-113. Two
of the aircraft, GN-112
were photographic versions ('FR.1') equipped for reconnaissance.
One of these two is the flat nosed Folland Gnat F.1 that I found.
The Gnats of the Finnish Air force were used from 1958 to 1974.
The first two
aircraft arrived on 30th July 1958 for the Fighter
Squadron 21 (HävLv 21). The next day Major Lauri
Pekuri exceeded the speed of sound as the first
Finn in the Finnish airspace.
One of the Gnats (GN-102) was destroyed due to a technical fault on 26th August 1958. The Gnats were grounded, and only in January 1959 did they fly again, after thorough investigations and rectifications. A public debate that had begun in the press even before the aircraft's arrival was fuelled by the accident and contributed to the fact that no more Gnats were purchased and license production that had first been planned was not started in Finland.
Many snags and deficiencies emerged in Gnats in the early stages of their service, and continuous modification work was necessary to ensure flying safety.
In 1961 HävLv 21 that flew the Gnats was renamed HävLv 11 (Fighter Squadron 11).
In 1967 the Gnats were replaced by MiG-21F aircraft. The Gnats were used as trainers but they were still fully operational and armed. They were finally discarded in 1974.
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