The roots of Parnall Aircraft Company are firmly planted in the early years of military aviation history. Parnall Aircraft Ltd was established in 1935 as the culmination of a long history of ventures carried out under the Parnall name since 1820.
Originally a weights-and-measures manufacturer in Bristol, by the 1880s Parnall & Sons was the largest shop-fitting company in England. At the outset of the First World War Parnall & Sons began manufacturing seaplanes and aeroplanes under the directorship of George Parnall. The company attracted such world-class design talent such as Harold Bolas, the mind behind the Parnall Panther and the Parnall Elf. Bolas had previously worked with the famous R.J. Mitchell, designer of the original Supermarine Spitfire.
World War II
During the Second World War the Parnall Factory at Yate produced components for a range of active planes, including the Spitfire itself. The factory continued in full production even after an attack by the Luftwaffe in 1941. After the war, attention turned to the production of components for civilian-type planes, as well as parts for the prototype of the Concorde.
Today, the activities of the Parnall Aircraft Company include historic reconstruction, engineering training, and experiments in industrial design. We specialise in building full replicas of the Second World War’s most iconic aircraft, the Spitfire. Our area of expertise in both research and construction is the fleet known as the Presentation Spitfires: planes which have been sponsored by particular organisations, individuals, towns or expatriate communities during the war.
Our Construction Methods
Combining 1940s construction techniques and original parts with state-of-the-art technology and materials, through our historic reconstruction projects we uncover and hone local engineering talent, pairing young apprentices with world-class experts to work together at our Cornish site. We’re passionate about supporting the next generation of engineers to meet the highest expectations, through craft you can trust and design that inspires. In this way, while paying tribute to our rich and varied heritage, our eyes are set firmly on the future.