INDEX OF NAVAL AIRCRAFT
|Miles M3B Falcon Six|
The Falcon Six claim to fame includes the London-Melbourne race piloted by HL Brook, accompanied by Miss EM Lay, when it took part in the 1934 London-Melbourne air race with the same prototype that Frederick Miles flew for only eight days, and was equipped with a second hand Gipsy Major engine. The outward journey took almost 27 days to Darwin, arriving after the end of the race. Not discouraged Brook, broke a record return of 7 days and 19 hours from Australia to England. In the following year a Miles Falcon Six with 200 hp Gipsy Six engine piloted by Tommy Rose, won the King's Cup with an average speed of 284 mph.
On the 19 February 1936, Falcon Six ZK-AEI crashed at Rongotai, New Zealand, killing its pilot, Malcolm 'Mac' MacGregor, one of New Zealands best known aviators.
Six Falcons flew in the RAF during World War 2, and after that continued
triumphs. Another Falcon Six, G-ADZL was used by Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd at Harmondsworth (later White Waltham) from May 1936 as a Communications aircraft for Fairey's. It stopped flying in December 1944 possibly following a war time accident.
Six of these were impressed by the RAF at the start of World War II. One was impressed by the Fleet Air Arm.
The single Fleet Air Falcon Six M. 3B, G-AEKK, was impressed into the Fleet Air Arm on 6 January 1940. It had its CoA issued to the Dunlop Rubber Co. Ltd, Castle Bromwich on 27 July 1936, and was subsequently impressed as W9373 for the Royal Navy where it was delivered on 2 March 1940 to 781 squadron at Lee-on-Solent. The aircraft remained with the FAA until 16 October 1941 after an accident with Lt Cdr AM Pilling.
Fleet Air Arm history
Total FAA 1939-1945:
First delivered to RN: 6.1.1940
Squadron 1939-1945: 780 squadron 2.3.1940
Last served with RN 1941
Battle Honours and Operational History
None with the Fleet Air Arm
In 1937, agents of the Basque Government bought a Falcon Six in Britain for use in the Spanish Civil War. On arriving in the Spanish Northern Provinces, it was fitted with racks for light bombs under the centre section and used by the "Krone Circus" (as the heterogeneous Basque aviation was popularly known). After the collapse of the Northern Front, the Falcon Six escaped via France to Central Spain and was used by the Spanish Republic Air Force on liaison duties.
A number of Miles Falcon six aircraft survive including the only airworthy example in the world. Review this web site link for details of Miles airframes believed to be still in existance. Examples include M3B(F) Falcon Six 269 G-AEAO R4071 Extant Lognes France 1971 and M3D Falcon Six 266 G-AEAG A37-1 rebuild in Australia in 2000.
The sole flying Miles Falcon Six M3C is (ex- G-ADLS) EC-ACB at the Museum of Historic Aircraft, Madrid Airport. It was one of the Miles Falcons involved in the Spanish Civil war, and which in 1935 had been in fifth place in the King´s Cup race. Put to the service of the Government of Euskadi, pilots Walter and Coates, in December it took part in a dogfight " melée " between several republican airplanes and three Heinkel 51 Germans. The ex- G-ADLS was later involved in the Basque offensive of Villarreal, bombing the Alava base of the Cóndor Legion. At the end of the Civil War, it appeared on the inventory of the Spanish Air Force.
In 1944, it was given to the Spanish Company of Trabajos Fotogramétricos Aéreos (CETFA) under civil matriculation EC-CAO, and later changed its civil register to EC-ACB. It flew until 1959 and was re-discovered in 1986 in a garage of Zaragoza, Infant of Orleans and acquired by a group which subsequently formed a Foundation. It was returned to flying condition under the code EC-ACB.
Falcon Six Mk3 G-AECC in race markings
Small pieces of Falcon Six M3B and serial ZK-AEI survive. This aircraft was purchased new for Union Airways of New Zealand Ltd. It crashed on 19 February 1936, on return to wellington from a charter flight. The pilot, Malcolm 'Mac' MacGregor was one of New Zealand's best known aviators. It hit the anemometer mast at Rongotai and crashed. MacGregor died of head injuries, and the aircraft was a write off.
Associations and reunions