The Folland Gnat was used by the RAF mainly in the advanced training role, in the 1960s and 70s, where it proved to be an ideal lead-in trainer for high-performance aircraft such as the iconic Lightning, the first RAF supersonic fighter. It was also the aircraft used by the famous Yellowjacks formation aerobatic team, formed in 1964, the forerunner of the world-famous Red Arrows team which was equipped with the Gnat for over a decade before being replaced by the Hawk in 1980. Lesser known, the Gnat was also used as a lightweight fighter by both the Indian and Finnish air forces. In the case of India, the Gnat, later called the ‘Ajeet’ (Midge), saw combat experience in the Indo-Pakistani wars, most notably in the Battle of Boyra. Today, over 60 years since the aircraft first flew, several Gnats continue to be operated from North Weald Airfield in Essex by the Heritage Aircraft Trust under the brand, the Gnat Display Team.
This book relates the history of the aircraft and includes many fascinating and untold stories by those who flew the aircraft, many of them well-known and distinguished aviators including those from the Indian and Finnish air forces. There is also a focus on the civilian life of the Gnat in the 21st century with accounts from those who continue to fly the aircraft with the Heritage Aircraft Trust.
Gnat Boys is set to become one of the most sought-after books about aviation covering a very special era in aviation history, a must read for everyone with an interest in stories of human trial and endeavour.