Kingston aviation

History of Aviation in Kingston

  • First Wings!

    First Wings!
    Tommy Sopwith teaches himself to fly on a Howard Wright Avis plane and took to the air on his own for the first time. However he crashed after travelling about 275 m, but soon improved, and on 22 November was awarded Royal Aero Club Aviation Certificate.
  • Birth of Sopwith Aviation

    Birth of Sopwith Aviation
    Thomas Sopwith with Fred Sigrist and others set up the Sopwith Aviation Company, initially at Brooklands. We added the face of Fred Sigrist. Freaky!
  • First Plane to the Skies!

    First Plane to the Skies!
    The small team (at that time) had built the first ever plane, the Sopwith-Wright Biplane (1912).
  • Roller Skating Factory

    Roller Skating Factory
    Sopwith Aviation buy the roller skating rink near Kingston station as their first factory.
  • Maiden Flight at Brooklands

    Maiden Flight at Brooklands
    3 Seater plane A Sopwith Type D “3-Seater” is delivered by road from the roller skating rink factory in Kingston to their flying sheds at Brooklands and flown for the first time by mechanic/test pilot Harry Hawker. This is the fourth aircraft designed and built by the small Sopwith team. Notice the 3 windows (however one is hidden by wing).
  • Performance to the Max!

    Performance to the Max!
    Harry Hawker flies the aircraft to Farnborough and demonstrates its performance to the War Office. It flies at any speed from 35 to 75 mph and climbs to 1,000 feet in just over 2 minutes with a passenger and 4 hours fuel on board.
  • And we have a Winner!

    And we have a Winner!
    Harry Hawker flies the aircraft to the Fifth London Aviation Meeting at Hendon for the altitude competition. He out-climbs the other four competitors and, after 15 minutes, disappears into the cloud at 7,400 feet to be declared the winner!
  • Period: to


  • "Cute" Sopwith Pup

    "Cute" Sopwith Pup
    the Pup was a single seater Biplane, which was proved very manouverable, making it a success at the beginning. During the war, however, it was outclassed by the German planes. It could only go 111mph, and have a total flying time of 3 hours until it ran out of fuel. Some German planes could go further and faster. This aircraft proved unsuccessful during the war, but...
  • "Elegent" Sopwith Camel

    "Elegent" Sopwith Camel
    The Sopwith Camel was made as a replavcement for the Sopwith Pup. The Camel had much better handling than the Pup (this sometimes worked against it) and could go up to 1500 bhp. It was called a camel because of the hump at the front which had syncronised machine guns, which fired when the propellor was out of the way.
  • Sopwith changes to Hawker

    Sopwith changes to Hawker
    Tommy Sopwith merged with Harry Hawker and some other people and changed the name from Sopwith Aviation to Hawker Engineering.
  • First Hawker Plane

    First Hawker Plane
    The Hawker Woodcock night fighter was the first Hawker production aircraft, 57 were bought for the RAF. The Woodcock suffered from flutter and serious control deficiencies. Wilfred George Carter, a Sopwith Aviation draughtsman and designer, replaced Thompson and created the Woodcock II which entered RAF service in 1925, which was a far better aircraft. Not off to a great start, I'm afraid.
  • Sydney Cann

    Sydney Cann
    Sydney Camm, Hawker’s greatest designer, joined the Company in 1923. His designs were to make the Company’s fortune and led to great industrial expansion for Thomas Sopwith and his team. His first plane he built was the Cygnet in 1924. it was ultralightweight (only weighed 373lbs!)
  • "Blind Flying Panel" ?

    "Blind Flying Panel" ?
    The Tomtit was Hawker’s first primary trainer plane which introduced the unique Reid & Sigrist blind-flying panel. The Tomtit was roomy and had construction far superior to light aircraft and performance superior to contemporary training types. Only 24 were bought, because of price.
  • "Beautiful" Hawker Fury

    "Beautiful" Hawker Fury
    The Hawker Hornet, or the Haeker Fury as it was known for a short while of time when it was made was the foundation plane for the Hawker Hurrincane, probably the greatest fighter plane Britain ever had. Until the Hurricane was made, the Fury was the only fighter plane we had and while it may have been an exceptionally good plane, and was a plane that could achieve speeds of up to 200mph!
  • Hawker Siddeley NAME CHANGE

    Hawker Siddeley NAME CHANGE
    Another name change to Hawker Siddeley!
  • "Epic" Hawker Hurricane

    "Epic" Hawker Hurricane
    The Hawker Hurricane is arguably the greatest fighter plane that Britain has to offer. In the Battle of Britain, the Hawker Hurricane had be the cause of over 60% of all the Allied victories, showing its sheer dominance in the Battle of Britain.
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  • "Re-make" Hawker Typhoon

    "Re-make" Hawker Typhoon
    The Hawker Typhoon was a bit of a flop at the start, with it hopefully being the direct succesor of the Hawker Hurricane, the greatest British war-plane of all time. It was a single seater bomber plane and was capable of flying at very low altitude. However it became a good night-time intruder and an extremely good long-range fighter. It was also very fast, with it breaking the speed record going at 652 mph!
  • "Re-Re Make" Hawker Tempest

    "Re-Re Make" Hawker Tempest
    The Tempest was a re-make of a Hawker Typhoon, but even lighter which made it extremely manouverable. Top speed of 432 mph, and there are loads of variants for the Tempest. Too much for me to count how many there are.
  • "Salty" Sea Fury

    "Salty" Sea Fury
    The Hawker Sea Fury It was the last propeller-driven fighter to serve with the Royal Navy, and also one of the fastest production single piston-engined aircraft ever built. Quite similar to the Tempest, only the parts reduced in size and the cockpit was a bit tight. However, it could achieve top speeds of 460mph, and the plane was small which made it harder to attack it.
  • "Stealthy" Hawker Hunter

    "Stealthy" Hawker Hunter
    The Hawker Hunter was the first plane made after World War 2. It broke the speed record, beating the Hawker Typhoon, going at 727 mph. The Hunter was also one of the first British planes to be exported to different countries, being exported to 21 different air-forces! It is also still being used today.
  • Bye Bye, Kingston (from Hawker Siddeley)

    Bye Bye, Kingston (from Hawker Siddeley)
    The Canbury Park Road factory remained in use by Hawker Aircraft until 1958 when the Ham factory, purchased in 1948, had been developed to accommodate the whole business. A HUGE Goodbye from Hawker Siddeley.
  • " Helicopty" Hawker Harrier

    " Helicopty" Hawker Harrier
    The Hawker Harrier was the first fighter plane to have vertical take-off. In order to do this, it used rotating nosels in order to accomplish this. The Harrier was armed with a Vickers machine gun and a Lewis gun which carrried no more than 1000 pounds. The Harrier was extremely fast, reaching a top speed of 1,175 mph. The Harrier was also used by the US Marine Corps in the 1970s as well as fighting in the Falklands War in 1982 (where it achieved the most kills).