FAIREY

Richard Fairey’s efforts to sell RAF Fox bombers powered by Felix (Curtiss D-12) engines, and single-seat Firefly fighter, all came to nothing. He persevered with these excellent aircraft and in 1930 won contract to supply 25 Fireflies to Force Aérienne Belge, plus 62 to be built in Belgium. He accordingly set up branch factor at Gosselies, Charleroi. In January 1931 FAB ordered 12 Fox IIM bombers, and in 1933 separate Belgian company formed as Avions Fairey SA, building 177 Foxes of various marks by 1939. Factory destroyed 10 May 1940, reopened October 1946 and later enlarged to produce 67 Meteor F.8 and 240 Hunter F.4/6, and to play major role in production of F-104G, Atlantic, Mirage 5 and F-16. Took over assets of Britten-Norman and made Islander 1972, but company finally failed 1977, being restructured 1978 as Sonaca SA.

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