Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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F. G. Miles

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1946. Miles Aerovan.
July 1949. (Flight 1949/07/28)
1957. Miles "Student"

F. G. Miles Ltd, of Shoreham

The original company was founded by Charles Powis and Jack Phillips as Phillips and Powis Aircraft at Woodley airfield in Reading, Berkshire as a club and repairers.

1933 Phillips and Powis Aircraft built an aircraft, the Hawk, designed by Frederick George Miles and his wife. Miles then joined the company.

1936 Rolls-Royce bought into the company and although aircraft were produced under the Miles name, it was not until 1943 that the firm became Miles Aircraft Limited after Rolls-Royce's interests were bought out.

1947 the Miles Aircraft company went bankrupt and the aviation-related assets were purchased by Handley Page as Handley Page Reading. Handley Page produced the Miles-designed M.60 Marathon as the H.P.R.1 Marathon.

The aircraft designed by Miles were often technologically and aerodynamically advanced for their time; the M.20 emergency production fighter prototype outperformed contemporary Hawker Hurricanes and Spitfires, despite having fixed landing gear. The X Minor was a flying testbed for blended wing-fuselage designs, though the large commercial transport intended to be produced from this research never entered production.

1948 Miles set up his own business at Redhill, F. G. Miles Ltd

1948 Frederick Miles re-established business at Shoreham which continued to produce aircraft under the Miles name as the Miles brothers had leased the airfield for work on aviation contracts.

1949 F. G. Miles and another executive of Miles Aircraft were taken to court concerning misleading statements said to have been made in the 1947 prospectus for an issue of shares. It was reported that, since then, the company had changed its name and was trading satisfactorily[1]

1950 F. G. Miles and his co-defendant were found not guilty but without an award of costs[2]

1952 George Herbert Miles joined as technical director

1953 first flight of the Miles Sparrowjet, the first British light aircraft to use jet power, at Shoreham on 14th December.

The Aerovan concept was further developed by Short Brothers into the Skyvan, the Shorts 330 and later the Shorts 360.

1955 Miles followed the Sparrowjet with a design aimed at the military market – the Miles M.100 Student jet-trainer[3]. This failed to win a government contract, which eventually led to the merger with Auster.

1956 Established a subsidiary, Miles Structural Plastics, which took over the rapidly expanding work of the plastics division[4]

1957 The Student/Centurion flew from Shoreham on May 15th.

1960 The aviation business of F. G. Miles Ltd was acquired by the newly formed Beagle Aircraft Ltd[5].

1961 F. G. Miles Engineering Ltd was listed by Flight as in an ancillary industry; company had interests in design services[6]

1969 Member of the Miles Group

Aircraft Models

For a list of aircraft designed by the Miles's brothers see Production of Miles aircraft

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Dec 22, 1949
  2. The Times, Jun 03, 1950
  3. The Times, Dec 08, 1955
  4. The Times Apr 04, 1956
  5. The Times, Nov 29, 1960
  6. Flight, 31 August 1961
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • [2] Shoreham Airport web site