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 ‘Yellow Jacks’ 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 War. Today, over 60 years since the aircraft first flew, several Gnats continue to be operated from North Weald in Essex by the Heritage Aircraft Trust. Their Gnat Display Team are seen at many air displays throughout the UK.
Gnat Boys relates the history of the aircraft and includes many fascinating and untold stories told by those who flew the aircraft, many of them well-known and distinguished aviators. The book also includes chapters on both the operations and experiences of those who flew the aircraft in the Indian and Finnish air forces. There are many fascinating and exciting tales and to bring readers fully up to date the book also covers accounts of those who fly the aircraft in the 2020s with the Gnat Heritage Flight.
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.
Rick Peacock-Edwards and Tom Eeles have a proven track record having both published in recent years their acclaimed autobiographies, respectively Rate of Climb and A Passion for Flying. Both are also second-generation RAF fast-jet pilots, the sons of World War 2 Battle of Britain pilots, and both have considerable experience of flying the Gnat.