The Southern Martlet was designed by F.G. Miles, who had established Southern Aircraft at Shoreham in Sussex. Miles acquired several aircraft components from the former Avro factory at Hamble in 1926. Among these was the fuselage of an Avro Baby, Miles modified this aeroplane with a new undercarriage and tail unit and fitted a different engine to create the Martlet.
Only six Martlets were built, and each one was slightly different from each other. Five different types of engines were used and many other details differences occurred. Martlets were used as air racing machines, but did not achieve any real success. However the Southern Martlet achieved great success and popularity as aerobatic and demonstration aeroplanes. The last Martlet was built in 1931 and a variant of the Southern Martlet was also built in that year, called the Metal Martlet. It was not a success and had only a short flying career.
G-AAYX, constructors number 202, was used for many years as the personal aircraft of F.G. Miles. It was taken by Miles with him to Woodley, near Reading, when he set up Miles Aircraft. Miles Aircraft later built aircraft such as the Magister. While at Woodley, G-AAYX was used by the Reading Aero Club, 'YX survived World War Two intact and was acquired by Butlins, who used it to give displays for holidaymakers at Broomhall, Pwllheli.
It was acquired by the Collection in 1960 and stored for many years. In 1988 an extensive restoration to flying condition was begun, led by full-time engineer Andy Preslent; he was assisted by Tony Dowson, Ken Hyde and the late Roy Gambier. This restoration culminated in the Martlet's first flight in 50 years on September 25th 2000.
The Southern Martlet has been awarded the Vintage Aeroplane Club's 'Vintage Aeroplane of the Year' Trophy for 2001.
Height: 7ft 7in
Length: 20ft 3in
Engine: one 100hp Armstrong-Siddley Genet Major