Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16)
"1939"

Role Trainer
Manufacturer Fleet Aircraft
First flight 8 February 1939
Introduction 1939
Retired 1947
Status Retired
Primary users Royal Canadian Air Force
Portugal
Produced 1939- 194
Number built 606

Coulson Aircraft

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Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16)
"1939"

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Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16) "1939"

The Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16) is a two-seat, tandem training biplane produced by Fleet Aircraft of Fort Erie, Ontario. There were a number of variants mainly based on engine variations. Over several years beginning in 1939, a total of 447 Finches were built, nearly all (431) of them for use as elementary trainers in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during the Second World War. The Fleet 16B Finch II was a progressive development of the original Consolidated Fleet primary trainer (Fleet 10), manufacture of which commenced in Canada by Fleet Aircraft in 1930. After a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) evaluation in 1938 recommended a number of changes, a total of 431 Finch trainers were built for the RCAF between 1939 and 1941.[1] The aircraft had conventional construction for the period with a welded steel-tube fuselage having Warren truss structure for its sides; and composite metal, wood and fabric design features, with Frise ailerons, a flat-bottom airfoiled

Design

The Finch was a mainstay of the RCAF prior to and during the early part of the Second World War, flying at the Elementary Flying Training Schools (EFTS) in parallel with the better known de Havilland Tiger Moth, also produced in Canada. The earlier Fleet Model 7 (Fleet Fawn) was also in use for primary training. During 1940, initial production problems were solved and timely deliveries were made to the RCAF, allowing the first training programs to start up. In the following year, the Portuguese Navy purchased ten Model 16Ds (ordered as 10Bs but changed to the higher powered variant) and later a further five 16Ds were delivered in 1942.[2]

A total of 606 Fleet Finches were produced as Model 16s, the majority for the RCAF. They were used as initial trainers in the BCATP at no fewer than 12 Elementary Flight Training Schools across Canada. Both the Fleet Finch and Tiger Moth were later replaced by the Fairchild PT-26 Cornell. The Finch was progressively phased out of service from October 1944 with the last of the Model 16s struck off strength from the RCAF inventory in 1947

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Fleet Finch (Fleet Model 16) "1939"

Survivors
Model 16
Model 16B
  • registration N666J, serial 350, one of two Finches based at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in New York State since at least 1970, with at least three different color schemes in its four decades-plus of flying in Old Rhinebeck’s weekend airshows. Since suffering a crash landing in 2016, the aircraft is awaiting a rebuild.
Model 16R
  • registration C-FDAF, serial 92319, at the Guelph Airport in Ontario and painted as 4494.[

Specifications

Crew: 2

Length: 21 ft 8 in (6.64 m)

Wingspan: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m)

Height: 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m)
Empty weight: 1,222 lb (509 kg)

Gross weight: 2,000 lb (908 kg)

Powerplant: 1 × Kinner B-5 five-cylinder radial piston engine , 125 hp 

Maximum speed: 104 mph (167 km/h, 90 kn)

Cruise speed: 85 mph (137 km/h, 74 kn)

Range: 300 mi (483 km, 260 nmi)

Service ceiling: 10,500 ft (3,200 m)

Rate of climb: 435 ft/min (2.0 m/s)

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