It’s a rare opportunity to buy an active piece of aviation history – a genuine Red Arrows Folland Gnat. The aircraft has come for sale through JetBrokers who normally handle business aircraft but felt they couldn’t turn down the 1963 icon.
The aircraft is XR572 which flew its last season with the ‘Reds’ in 1979 and is currently in private ownership in Colorado, USA. The aircraft has fantastic history and has appeared in the movie, Hot Shots, which starred Charlie Sheen as Lt Topper Harley, said JetBrokers.
Kandi Spangler, VP-Sales for JetBrokers in Denver, said, “I was approached about the Gnat and immediately liked the idea of being associated with such an amazing piece of aviation history. The Red Arrows are famous throughout the world but clearly buyers for such an aircraft will be limited to a few wealthy enthusiasts.”
One of the first enquiries about the aircraft came from Richard Thomas, a former ‘Red 6’.
Richard said, “The Gnat was the best handling aircraft I flew, without exception. The Red Arrows used the aircraft without the external ‘slipper’ tanks which gave a radius of action of 35 miles to takeoff, display and return to the operating base. Therefore, we were short of fuel even before we started up!
“Regarding XR572, the aircraft took me safety through 239 public displays without once letting me down. The aircraft was amazingly serviceable. Every display was memorable, with the minimum clearance height for the synchro pair being 35 feet, but Brands Hatch (see photo) was one of the most exciting due to the size of the display datum and the huge crowd.
“I delivered XR 572 to the Royal Navy at Culdrose so that the aircraft could be used for carrier deck-handling practice. This was a very sad moment for me as I had gained a great affinity with the airframe having been through so much together.
Regional MD of JetBrokers, Tim Barber added, “This is the first time I have been involved in marketing an aircraft of this type but we have had dealings with collectors in Europe, so perhaps we will see this beautiful aircraft heading back to this side of the Atlantic.”