Military Factory logo

Fairey Flycatcher

United Kingdom (1923)
Picture of Fairey Flycatcher Naval Biplane Fighter Aircraft

Throughout most of the 1920s, the Fairey Flycatcher served as the primary fighter of the British Fleet Air Arm.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Fairey Flycatcher Naval Biplane Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 4/23/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The primary Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) fighter aircraft of the 1920s and early 1930s became the Fairey "Flycatcher". This biplane was produced in 196 examples and first flew in 1922. It was introduced for service during 1923 and held an active career until retired in 1934, notable production spanning from 1923 to 1926. The Flycatcher was developed to fulfill Specification N6/22 calling for a carrier-based fighter platform with an interchangeable undercarriage (from wheeled to float). The aircraft - along with the competing Parnall Plover (13 examples) - was used to supplant the outgoing fleet of twenty Nieuport "Nightjar" biplane fighters (based on the Nieuport Nighthawk) introduced as recently as 1922.

When the wood-and-metal Flychatcher prototype emerged from development, it carried an Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar II engine to complete its first flight on November 22nd, 1922. The FAA commissioned for nine of the type to serve as evaluation aircraft alongside the Parnall Plover which was also under consideration. Between the two offerings, the Flycatcher was selected for serial production as it gave the carrier performance that the FAA sought in its next fighter, leaving Plover aircraft manufacture at just thirteen aircraft.

With its Jaguar II radial engine (the Bristol Jupiter IV radial was an alternative engine installation), the Flycatcher could manage speeds of over 130 miles per hour with ranges out to 310 miles. Its listed service ceiling was 19,000 feet and rate-of-climb 1,090 feet per minute - it could reach 10,000 feet in under 10 minutes.
The Flycatcher was first fielded with FAA squadron No. 402 and went on to stock Nos. 403, 406, and 801. In practice, the aircraft were well accepted with their good combination of speed, handling, and armament. Twin .303 Vickers were fitted over the nose and a bomb-carrying provision added 4 x 20 lb drop bombs. Flycatchers experienced light combat service during their flying tenures which included tours near China and the East Indies as well as over the Mediterranean.

The primary Flycatcher production model was Flycatcher Mk I. The Flycatcher Mk II stood as a proposed successor with all-metal construction. While flown as a prototype, it was not adopted by the FAA.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (134mph).

    Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Fairey Flycatcher I's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
196
196


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1923
Type: Naval Biplane Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Fairey Aviation Company Ltd - UK
Production: 196
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
United Kingdom
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Fairey Flycatcher I model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
22.97 ft


Meters
7 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
29.00 ft


Meters
8.84 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
12.01 ft


Meters
3.66 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
2,039 lb


Kilograms
925 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
3,527 lb


Kilograms
1,600 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar IV 14-cylinder radial piston engine developing 400 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
134 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
215 kph


Knots
116 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
311 mi


Kilometers
500 km


Nautical Miles
270 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
18,996 ft


Meters
5,790 m


Miles
3.60 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,050 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
320 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (4):

STANDARD:
2 x .303 Vickers machine guns in fixed, forward-firing mounts synchronized to fire through the spinning propeller blades.

OPTIONAL:
4 x 20 lb conventional drop bombs held underwing.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Flycatcher - Base Series Name
• Flycatcher I (Mk I) - Initial, single-seat production model for FAA.
• Flycatcher II (Mk II) - Proposed all-metal derivative of 1926; prototype form; never adopted.