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Location: Riihimäki, Finland
The Wonderful World of Vehicles
by Kurt Ristniemi
Folland FO.141 Gnat
Near Riihimäki in Southern Finland there is a house by a side road that you cannot pass without rubbing your eyes to make sure that you are not seeing things.
But it is true: The pink helicopter and the fighter airplanes and the guns that you saw on the yard really are there. They are real.
We visited this yard 5. August 1997.
house, the yard and all the planes and guns belong
to Mr. Esko Pessi. He is a true
collector of large scale military equipment and well
known among the enthusiasts all over the world. Should
you ever crave for a barrel of a heavy coastal cannon,
you know where to ask.
Mr. Pessi was just constructing a garden grill from one such barrel as we came. Obviously a grill to stand for centuries.
Later history of GN-113
GN-113 was bought in 2001. It was first stored at Räyskälä airfield, but it was later moved to Malmi airfield in Helsinki.
There are plans to restore it and bring it back to flying if possible. Otherwise it will be restored as a museum plane.
GN-113 is now owned by GN113 Warbird Consulting Oy
the better preserved aircraft in Mr. Pessi's yard is a Folland
FO.141 Gnat FR Mk.1 from the late '50s.
The Gnats imported to Finland were single seater fighters, F Mk.1 ('F.1'), two of which - GN-112 and GN-113 - were equipped for reconnaissance with 70 mm Vinten cameras ('FR.1'). Mr. Pessi's Gnat is one of these two as there are transparent windows in the nose and on both sides of the nose. Also the nose cone is flat. And there is just enough left of the insignia to reveal that the plane is the GN-113.
I ask Mr. Pessi for permission to be photgraphed in the Gnat. He makes a joke of collecting a FIM 50 admission fee (10 US$). At least I take it as a joke. He helps to secure the cockpit hood in the open position and then the fighter is all mine.
It is a funny feeling entering a jet fighter: You climb up the ladder, step inside the cockpit to stand on the pilot seat. You grab the sides of the plane and slide your legs on both sides of the control stick and under the instrument panels. It is something like entering a racer car. You see the control stick and all the meters. The pedals are all too close for me. And only faintly I can imagine what it might feel like to take the bird onto the sky.
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