Swift Aircraft, part of the Swift Technology Group, has once again shown its dedication to the revitalisation of British Aviation in its latest venture.
The Swift Group has recently completed the purchase of 21 T67M260 Firefly Aircraft from Babcock International Group PLC and is poised to get them back into the sky. Previously used for Defence Elementary Flying Training, the aircraft are civilian registered and were previously owned and maintained by Babcock Defence Services, who provided the aircraft under contract to the RAF from 1996 – 2009. With one of the most experienced Firefly Maintenance Engineers in the World running the project, it’s already clear that this will be a major milestone for everyone involved.
This move by the Group represents a massive step forward in its mission to breathe new life into the aviation industry in this country and if anyone was wondering, it certainly reaffirms that Swift Technology Group are planning to stick around to accomplish what they have always said they would.
In 2009, Swift Technology Group burst onto the aviation scene with the ambitious plan to rejuvenate the British aviation industry. The first step was the purchase of the last UK light aircraft manufacturer, Europa Aircraft, and the subsequent start up of an aircraft maintenance facility in Yorkshire. The second step was the promise to bring to market the first certified British Aircraft in the UK for over two decades.
At the time, Dave Stanbridge, Swift Technology Group founder, spoke of his desire to invigorate the industry: “Britain has some of the best aviation heritage in the world, but we haven’t looked after our industry as well as we should have. With the new Swift Aircraft range and the Europa legacy, we will bring British designed and manufactured cost effective, World beating aircraft to the market”
Since then, the Swift Technology Group has diversified, now comprising eight companies, and growing at a rapid rate. Despite rapid growth in non-aviation sectors, it is still clear that the aviation division is still the main focus for the Group, and Dave is always eager to confirm this: “everything we do as a Group is a means to our primary goal, which is our unprecedented commitment to British aviation”.
Of course, acquiring a struggling aircraft company, Europa Aircraft, didn’t come without its share of problems, especially with the downturn of the market, but if there is one way to stress its commitment to the company, it’s the level of investment that the Group have made in Europa. Dave explains: “I knew remoulding aviation to even a fraction of what it once was would be a tough call, but never once did I realise there would be so many barriers to Swift’s mission.
Europa was just one of our starting blocks, and in all honesty, it’s taken much longer than we envisaged to turn this into a stable company as well as introducing some of the more progressive changes we had for the aircraft, but it’s been well worth all the hard work. There is absolutely a market for the Europa, it’s still a fantastic aircraft, there is a huge amount of external support from Europa owners, and quite simply, it’s was one of the last parts of British aviation heritage that I wasn’t going to let go without a fight”.
Progress on the Swift Aircraft range is moving forward and the pledge to bring this aircraft to market in the next few years is very much the focus of the Group. The first model of the plane was displayed at Aero Expo in 2010 and the company looks set to publish more details, including the latest images and aircraft specifications, towards the end of the year.
Albeit short term, one of the unfortunate casualty of Swift’s current venture is further progress of the new aircraft. Dave explains: “we have made fantastic progress with the Swift Aircraft, but due to some of the personnel in the aviation side of the business being temporarily deployed to the Firefly project, progression will undoubtedly slow down and our aim to start tooling for the aircraft in September, will be delayed until 2012. While this is disappointing, the Swift Aircraft project is just part of our much bigger plan and I fully believe that the Firefly venture will be another significant milestone in the restoration of the British industry that myself, and everyone in the company, is so passionate about”.
Swift TG Maintenance is already a profitable company within just two years of trading, and boasts a number of prestigious pilots amongst its client base. The company is headed by World-class Slingsby experts and will therefore become the hub for the new Firefly venture. Dave, who personally owns two Slingsby T67 Firefly as his touring and aerobatic aircraft of choice, continues: “with much of the aviation knowledge in the Swift Group coming from British lead aviation companies including Slingsby Aviation, this project seems like such a logical and natural step. Even though it was never in our plans, when faced with this opportunity, I wasn’t going to let it go. Even though it has come at the expense of delaying the Swift Aircraft, it makes no sense to kill off one side of the industry in favour of another when we can absolutely commit to both; we just have to be patient and realise that things may take a little longer than our initial roadmap. What we are trying to recreate in Britain today is no mean feat, but with new developments each and every day, we’re certainly heading in the right direction.”
In 2010, Swift Aircraft dedicated their pitch at Aero Expo, the UKs biggest general aviation exhibition, to revitalising aviation design and manufacturing in the UK. The Group showcased British Aviation successes past, present and future with aircraft such as the Bulldog, T67 Firefly, Europa and Swift. The company will be in attendance at the 2011 exhibition with a similar British aviation theme, and look forward to meeting likeminded pilots and aviation enthusiasts.
Anyone interesting in being a part of the exciting developments, or indeed want to be part of this historical moment by purchasing or leasing one of the T67M260 Firefly aircraft, please contact Swift Aircraft on 01845 597618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, this is the perfect time for you to come on board as you will be able to have input into the specification of your firefly and be able to watch the progress from military trainer to a piece of British heritage built with your personal specification in mind. The Group are already in the late stages of completing an order for almost half the aircraft already, and have had interest from a number of other parties, so if you are interested, please do register your interest with the company as soon as possible.
About the Firefly T67
The T67M260 Firefly, made in glass fibre by Slingsby Aviation in Yorkshire, is a single piston-engined aircraft with a 260hp Textron-Lycoming engine, which drives a three-blade, Hoffmann constant speed, composite propeller. Its instrumentation and communications equipment allows it to be flown along airways and the aircraft is cleared for instrument flying and night flying.
The T67 Firefly is fitted with side-by-side dual controls, a fixed windscreen and a backward-tilting canopy incorporating direct ventilation windows and fresh-air scoops. The unpressurised aircraft is fully aerobatic and can easily maintain height during an aerobatic sequence. The aircraft also has fuel and oil systems capable of sustaining inverted flight.
The Firefly can carry two pilots for over three hours of training. This endurance, coupled with a rapid climb rate of less than 10 minutes to reach 10,000ft, make it an excellent training aircraft.
Firefly - General Characteristics
Overall Length: 24 ft 09 in (7.544 m)
Overall span: 35 ft 2 in (10.719 m)
Overall Height: 7 ft 6 in (2.286 m)
Wing area: 135.6 ft² (12.6 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 23015/23013 (root/tip)
Empty weight: 1720 lb (780 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 2550 lb (1157 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Textron Lycoming AEIO-540-D4A5 6-cylinder horizontally-opposed engine, 260 hp (194 kW)
Firefly - Performance
Never exceed speed: 195 knots (224mph, 361 km/h)
Maximum speed: 152 knots (175 mph, 281 km/h)
Cruise speed: 140 knots (161 mph, 259 km/h)
Stall speed: 54 knots (62 mph, 100 km/h) (with flaps)
Range: 407 nm (468 mi, 753 km)
Service ceiling: 19,000 ft  (5,790 m)
Rate of climb: 1,380 ft/min (7 m/s)
Wing loading: 18.8 lb/ft² (91.8 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.10 hp/lb (0.17 kW/kg)
About Swift Technology Group
Swift Technology Group is a technology driven organisation that offers complete end to end product development. We are dedicated to supporting industrial skills and capabilities and to creating new, innovative, high quality solutions.
With our industry leading expertise in design, manufacturing, marketing and maintenance we can bring your concepts to market using in house companies to give you results of the highest quality.
Whether for the Aircraft, Marine, Automotive, Oil and Gas or Renewable Energies industries, our diverse range of state of the art technologies can deliver advanced solutions by drawing on our years of experience in design and manufacture.
- Swift Aircraft
- Swift TG Maintenance
- Swift TG Solutions
- Swift TG Energy
- Aviation and Marine Engineering (AMEL)
- TWF Solutions
t: 01933 654822
All media contacts to Rebecca Haines, TWF Solutions:
t: 01933 654822