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
Design and development
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. The aircraft had conventional construction for the period with a welded steel-tube fuselage
and composite metal, wood and fabric design features. The RCAF acquired the aircraft type as an elementary trainer
. The Fleet 16 first entered RCAF service with tandem open cockpits
, but the severity of the Canadian winter necessitated the introduction of a sliding canopy
at an early stage in the trainer's service career.
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
. The earlier Fleet Model 7 (Fleet......