|Miles M.3A Falcon Major G-AEEG at Old Warden|
|Manufacturer||Miles Aircraft Limited|
|Designer||Frederick George Miles|
|Developed into||Miles M.4 Merlin|
Design and development
The M.3 Falcon was a clean, single engined low-wing monoplane with trousered main undercarriage and fixed tail-wheel, designed in 1934. It was structurally similar to the earlier Miles M.2F Hawk Major family, but had side-by-side seating for two behind the pilot in a glazed cockpit. It was powered by a 130 hp (97 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine. The prototype, G-ACTM, built by Philips and Powis first flew at Woodley Aerodrome on 12 October 1934.
The first production aircraft (designated M.3A Falcon Major) was flown in January 1935. It had a wider fuselage than the prototype to improve passenger comfort and revised glazing with a forward sloping windscreen. The M.3A was somewhat underpowered, so the (M.3B Falcon Six) and later versions were fitted with a 200 hp (150 kW) de Havilland Gipsy Six engine.
The M.3C Falcon Six was a four seater with dual controls. The M.3D was strengthened to allow an 11% increase in all up weight compared with the M.3B. The final versions were the M.3E and M.3F.
An enlarged five-seat version was developed as the M.4 Merlin.
The prototype was fitted with extra fuel tanks and entered into the MacRobertson Race from England to Australia in October 1934. It took 27 days to reach Darwin, but returned in a record time of 7 days 19 hours 15 minutes, including one stage of 1,800 miles (2,900 km) non-stop from Jodhpur to Basra.
Twenty-nine M.3As and M.3Bs were delivered during 1935-6 to private owners, clubs and commercial operators in Britain and abroad.
The M.3B was entered into the 1935 King's Cup Race and won with a speed of 176.28 mph (283.70 km/h). In 1936 the same aircraft reduced the U.K to Cape record to 3 days 17 hours and 37 minutes.
Pre war, three Falcon Sixes appeared in RAF garb at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) for trials of a variety of wings and aerodynamic innovations. At the outbreak of the war three aircraft remained civilian as communications aircraft with various companies but, like so many civil aircraft ten others were impressed into service by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Swedish air force. Six Falcons survived the war.
Production numbers from 
- Prototype three-seat version with a 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major engine. 1 built.
- M.3A Falcon Major
- Production four-seat version with a 130 hp de Havilland Gipsy Major engine. 18 built
- M.3B Falcon Six
- Three-seat version with a 200hp de Havilland Gipsy Six engine. 11 built, including 1 Falcon Six designated M.3, but not including 2 M.3Bs later converted to M.3E and F.
- M.3C Falcon Six
- Four-seater with dual controls with a 200 hp de Havilland Gipsy Six engine. 1 built.
- Strengthened variant with a 200 hp de Havilland Gipsy Six engine. 3 built. One was a converted M.3B.
- Variant with a 200 hp de Havilland Gipsy Six engine. 1 built but uncertified.
- A former M.3B modified for Fairey wing, spoiler and retractable aileron trials with the RAE, R4071.
References 1 and 2 give detailed histories of the typically complicated lives of these small aeroplanes.
- Royal Australian Air Force 3 aircraft.
- Royal Swedish Air Force 1 aircraft.
G-AEEG, a privately owned M.3A based at Old Warden flies regularly. It spent much of its life in Sweden as SE-AFW. In Australia M.3A VH-AAT was reported still airworthy in 2000. In Spain an M.3C registered EC-ACB is also active. This aircraft participated in the Spanish Civil War.
Data from British Civil Aircraft 1919–1972: Volume III
- Capacity: Three
- Length: 25 ft 0 in (7.62 m)
- Wingspan: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)
- Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
- Wing area: 174.3 ft2 (16.19 m2)
- Empty weight: 1,300 lb (590 kg)
- Gross weight: 2,200 lb (1000 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × de Havilland Gipsy Major piston engine, 130 hp (97 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 145 mph (235 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 125 mph (201 km/h)
- Range: 615 miles (990 km)
- Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,572 m)
- Rate of climb: 750 ft/min (3.81 m/s)
- Related lists
- List of aircraft of the RAAF
- List of aircraft of the RAF
- List of aircraft of the Spanish Republican Air Force
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Miles Falcon.|
- Jackson 1988, pp. 147-50
- Cooper 2006, p. 204.
- Jackson 1988, p. 58.
- Amos, Peter Miles Aircraft - The Early Years - The Story of F G Miles and his Aeroplanes, 1925-1939. Tonbridge, Kent: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 2009. ISBN 978-0-85130-410-6.
- Brown, Don Lambert. Miles Aircraft Since 1925. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1970. ISBN 0-370-00127-3.
- Cooper, Peter. Farnborough:100 years of British aviation. Hinkley: Midland 2006. ISBN 1-85780-239-X
- Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft since 1919, Volume 3. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1988. ISBN 0-85177-818-6.
- Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise guide to British Aircraft of World War II. London: Chancellor press, 2002. ISBN 1-85152-668-4.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985) Orbis Publishing