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Not a military pilot
GN-111 of the HävLv 21
GN-111 of the HävLv 21

The Wonderful World of Vehicles

by Kurt Ristniemi

The Folland Gnat F.1
in Finland

The Gnat Main Page

If you have further information on Gnats in Finland,
please contact me on front page

Page updated 18.08.2005
published 28 December 1997

© Kurt Ristniemi, 1997 - 2003

The new arriwals

Notice the flat nose cone of the third plane.

Securing the Finnish skies

After the teething trouble had been sorted out the Gnats turned out completely useful fighters and they served in Finland until 1974.

A new born baby

Folland Gnat F Mk.1

Wing span: 6.75 m
Length: 9.1 m
Height: 2.3 m
Wing area: 12.7 m2
Maximum operating weight: 3950 kg
Maximum speed at 10800 m: 1040 km/h = Mach 0.98
Time to 12 000 m: 5 min
Ceiling: 15 000 m
Endurance with auxiliary fuel tanks: 2 h 10 min
Engines: one Bristol Siddeley Orpheus 701 B.Or.2, axial turbojet, thrust 2 050 kgf
Armarnent: two 30 mm Aden cannon, 12 to 18 80 mm Hispano HSS-R 80 rockets or two 225 kg bombs

Where are they now

Current whereabouts of the Finnish Gnats according to the Internet per 18th August 2005:

GN-101 F.1 FL-8 G-39-6 Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski
GN-102 F.1 FL-12 G-39-7 Crashed 26 August 1958
GN-103 F.1 FL-16 G-39-10 Halli airfield gate
GN-104 F.1 FL-24 G-39-11 Central Finland Aviation Museum, Tikkakoski
GN-105 F.1 FL-23   Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa, stored in parts
GN-106   FL-28   Finnish Aviation Museum, Helsinki-Vantaa
GN-107 F.1     Flying Museum of Karhula's Flying Club, Kymi airfield
GN-108 F.1      
GN-109 F.1      
GN-110 F.1     Rovaniemi airfield
GN-111 F.1 FL-46    
GN-112 FR.1     Lahti-Vesivehmaa airfield in Asikkala, stored
GN-113 FR.1 FL-47   GN113 Warbird Consulting Oy, Malmi airfield, Helsinki, stored
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 and GN-113, 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.

The record breaking Gnat

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.

18 August 2005: Where are they now 


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