Whilst at Farnborough, Folland designed the SE5a biplane fighter for the Royal Flying Corps before joining Nieuport & General Aircraft in 1917.
When Nieuport failed in 1920, he moved to the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company where he was responsible for many type designs including the Grebe, Gamecock, Gauntlet and Gladiator. Folland decided to leave Gloster after it was taken over by Hawker, feeling that his designs would not take precedence over the designs of the new owners.
With the capital he had accumulated, he started Folland Aircraft Limited, manufacturing aircraft components on the Hamble which included 35,000 major assemblies for a wide range of British military aircraft. Sub-contract work also involved the manufacture of ailerons for the Supermarine Spitfire as well as various sub-components for the DH Mosquito and Vickers Wellington bomber.
The first true Folland type to fly was the FO108 although it was ultimately designed as a flying test bed which earned the nickname the ‘Folland Frightful’ due to its unusual appearance. Further designs were then tendered to meet research requirements of investigating the issues of landing aircraft on sea-borne carriers.
Henry Folland left the company through ill-health in 1951 and was replaced by WEW ‘Teddy’ Petter, designer of the EE Lightning and Canberra and he immediately set about the design and production of the Folland Midge, a lightweight jet fighter which first flew in 1954.
This was followed by Follands most famous aircraft, the Folland Gnat, which became synonymous with the RAF Display Team the Red Arrows.
Folland Aircraft diversified during the 1950's with ventures into 'cushioned air' products such as the Germ hovercraft and inventions such as a hover-barrow for construction sites and even a hover-trolley for the movement of injured soldiers on rough battlefield areas.
In 1959, Folland was absorbed into the Hawker Siddeley Group who eventually dropped the Folland name by 1963.
Latterley, the facilities on The Hamble became part of British Aerospace (Aerostructures) concentrating on fuselage design and construction.
Today, the airfield has closed and whilst the former Folland facility is now part of General Electric.
|British Marine Aircraft Limited|
|1937||Folland Aircraft Limited|
|1963||Hawker Siddeley Aviation|
|1940||Folland FO 108 (F43/37)||1955||Folland Gnat|