Beagle_logo.jpg    British Executive and General Aviation Ltd
   Beagle Aircraft Ltd


The British Executive & General Aviation Limited (trading as BEAGLE) was the brainchild of Peter G. Masefield, then managing director of Bristol Aircraft. The deputy chairman of Pressed Steel at that time, A.H. Bellhouse, had a substantial interest in aviation, so the outcome of talks between the two was the foundation of what was virtually an aviation division of that company.

The original BEAGLE ideals were based on the principle, proven by the American industry, of providing a full range of light aircraft. From the start this was the policy BEAGLE tried to follow. However, at the time of BEAGLE’s inception, the Air Ministry's had issued GOR. 220 for an Anson replacement and it is probably without this GOR there would never have been a BEAGLE. While a full range of light aircraft was envisaged, it was the Anson replacement which gave life and possibility of financial stability to the whole idea.

BEAGLE was formed in 7 October 1960, with Pressed Steel acquiring the whole share capital of Auster Aircraft Ltd, and arranging a technical and manufacturing liaison with F.G. Miles Ltd., Shoreham Airport, Sussex. Chairman of BEAGLE was A. H. Bellhouse with Masefield managing director and also chairman of Auster Aircraft. Frank Bates became deputy chairman of Auster while retaining his position as its managing director. George H. Miles became technical director of a coordinating board formed under the chairmanship of Masefield. In November the BEAGLE Group formally acquired F. G. Miles Ltd, and in the same month appointed R.J.B. Woodhams as BEAGLE’s chief designer. George Miles was appointed chief engineer of the BEAGLE Group. By spring of 1961 the two BEAGLE subsidiaries had been rebranded BEAGLE-Auster Aircraft Ltd, under newly appointed Marcus Langley as Chief Engineer, and BEAGLE-Miles Aircraft Ltd. Initially the three parts of the company operated independently but his did not last long and the three parts of the company were merged at Shoreham as Beagle Aircraft Limited on 10 May 1962.

Masefield brought to the new company Bristol light-aircraft designs discarded with the formation of BAC. One of these, the Type 220, was bought from Bristol and grew into the B.206. The incorporation of Auster and Miles led to an eight-strong range of aircraft. Of these, four were the interim Auster derivatives—Airedale, AOP.11, Terrier and Husky—and two were Miles projects, the M.117 single and the M.218 twin, plus the Wallis autogyro.

Misfortune hit the 206 project when the Anson replacement programme was shelved in 1961 and 1962, ostensibly as an economy measure, even though the prototype 206 had flown successfully in August 1961. When the RAF bought only 22 B.206 Bassets instead of the expected 120 there was no longer any chance of R&D costs being recovered on that contract alone. The aircraft was heavily criticized as not being able to do the job required of it, particularly in hot and high conditions. A supercharged-engine version was developed for the civil market.

The M.117 and M.218 were to be founders of a new range, but both designs involved extensive use of plastics which, with the state of the art insufficiently advanced, proved expensive, heavy and unreliable. Strangely the decision was made to build the M.218 twin before the M.117. The difficulties with plastics led to work being abandoned on the types in 1964 but the decision was then taken to re-tool the M.218 for conventional all-metal construction, when it became the M.242, which flew in 1964. It was found that it is not a simple matter simply to substitute alloy for plastic and, with extensive re-design becoming necessary, the project was abandoned.

The initial development of the large number of aircraft types involved required a great deal of capital outlay by Pressed Steel, i.e. £2.4M, whereas only £1/4M was recouped from sales during the first 2 1/2 years. Putting the B.206 into production proved the most expensive and by the end of 1964 costs had reached £3M with further expenditure inevitable. The directors of Pressed Steel Fisher (as it had since become) were then being faced with a situation way beyond their original expectations, despite the fact that in 1965 a small portion of the B.206s costs were being underwritten by the Government. Pressed Steel Fisher were eventually absorbed into the British Motor Corporation who, having reviewed the aviation side, realised that its full potential could not be exploited without a substantial investment of funds and they were not willing to do this. Discussions with the Government for additional financial support proved fruitless and eventually escalated to the point where, on the 12 December 1966, assets of Beagle Aircraft were handed over by Pressed Steel Fisher to the Ministry of Technology for £1 million and it became private company with shareholding wholly owned by the Ministry of Technology though with the board having responsibility for running it. On 16 November 1967, the Ministry of Technology appointed K.M. Myer as the new managing director.

In 1967 a completely redesigned M.117 finally appeared as the B.121 Pup, which first flew from Shoreham Airport on 8 April, so after six years there was only one of the new light aircraft range which had been the basis of the original aims and theories, and which was essential if Beagle and a British light-aircraft industry were to survive. Unfortunately the Pup was a more complex design to manufacture and was correspondingly more expensive to build, yet was sold at a competitive price. Its maintenance requires more care (i.e. expense) and its early days were troubled by issues with the doors and spares availability. In an effort to reduce costs and to concentrate all efforts on B.206 and Pup production, in November 1968 Beagle sold its interest in Auster aircraft to Hants and Sussex Aviation, Portsmouth. The prototype Bulldog first flew on 19 May 1969 at Shoreham Airport. The first order for the type was for 78 from the Swedish Air Board and significant further orders were anticipated. However, under capitalisation had remained the main problem to the point where the Government refused to grant an additional £6M for further development and the company was placed in the hands of the receiver.

Beagle's earliest chance of survival had been centred on the discussions with Ling-Temco-Vought of Dallas, Texas, which were going on before the Government announced its withdrawal. This company proposed to acquire a substantial share capital in the company provided that the Government maintained background support. As soon as the receiver was appointed to Beagle, the LTV negotiations ended. During 1969 there had been discussions with other overseas companies about possible opportunities for collaboration, especially on distribution and marketing. Apart from LTV, these companies included Grumman in the USA and Sud, Dornier and MBB in Europe.

Although production continued, albeit at a very low rate while the receiver tried to revive and sell the company (now re-named Beagle Aircraft (1969) Limited), it was of no avail and the assets were gradually disposed of. Production rights for the Bulldog, along with the Swedish order, were taken over by Scottish Aviation (Bulldog) Limited in May 1970 (though for completeness its production details are covered here). All subsequent aircraft were built at Prestwick Airport by Scottish Aviation, or in later years, British Aerospace.

Company References
  1. False Dawn - The Beagle Aircraft Story, Tom Wenham (Air Britain Publishing, 2015)
  2. Beagle Aircraft - A Production History, Midland Counties Aircraft Research Group (Midland Counties Publications, 1974)
  3. British Private Aircraft, 1946-1970, Volume 1, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (Mushroom Model Publications, 2013)
  4. Flight, 14 Oct 1960
  5. Flight, 14 Oct 1960
  6. Flight, 2 Dec 1960
  7. Flight, 23 Mar 1961
  8. Flight, 26 Sep 1968
  9. Flight, 17 Oct 1968
  10. Flight, 21 Nov 1968
  11. Flight 8 Jan 1970
  12. Flight 30 Apr1970
  13. Flight 4 Jun 1970
  14. Scottish Aviation Bulldog, Tom Wenham (Air Britain, 2019)

Beagle Designations

Beagle used an alpha-numeric type designation - a single letter followed by a three digit number.
The letter defined the company from which the design emanated (A: Auster, B: Beagle, M: Miles, WA: Wallis), the first digit defined the number of engines and the second two digits formed a numerical series. Somewhat redundantly, these last two digits were themselves broken into odd for single engined aircraft and even for twins.
There were of course anomalies; the Auster design office did not initially appear to understand the system, using A.110 and A.112, while Beagle used B.121, B.123 and B.125, the numerics of which had already been used by Auster. The B.242 was possibly so designated as it was considered a twin engined partner to the B.121 (although the true single engined projected development of the B.242 was the B.123), and the A.61 Terrier, said to be so designated as being Austers 61st design, but more possibly that it was a derivative of the Auster 6. All this is further confused by BEAGLE's frequent habit of reallocating designations previously used on cancelled projects!

Project Data top
Legacy Aircraft 

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
   A.61  Terrier              See Auster 6B
   D4              See Auster D4
   D5  Husky  D5/160, D5/180            See Auster D5
   D6    D6/160, D6/180            See Auster D6

Beagle-Auster top

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
   A.109  Airedale    1961    Prdn  43  4S, 1E high wing light aircraft  1,4,6,8,300,335
   A.110  Airedale Junior    1962    Proj  0  3S, 1E high wing light aircraft  1
   A.111 (1)  Airedale    1962    Proto   (1)  4S, 1E high wing light aircraft  4,6,8
   A.111 (2)  Beadale    1962    Proj  0  4S, 1E high wing light aircraft - larger A.109  1
   A.112  Boxer  Mk.12  1962    Proj  0  1E derivative of  A.109 with  B.206 features  1
   A.113 (1)  Husky    1962  
 Beagle designation for Auster D5 Husky
   A.113 (2)      1962    Proj  0  4S, 1E high wing, retractable u/c pusher light aircraft  1
   A.115 (1)  AOP.11 / Mark Eleven  Model E.3  1961    Proto  1  2/3S, 1E AOP aircraft  1,4,6,8
   (none?)  AOP.12    1962    Proj  0  2/3S, 1E AOP aircraft  1
   A.115 (2)  Airedale 2    1962    Proj  0  4S, 1E  light aircraft  1
   A.117  Not used to avoid conflict with Beagle-Miles M.117            
   A.119      1962    Proj  0  2S, 1E high wing light aircraft  1
   A.121 (1)      1962    Proj  0  4S, 1E high wing light aircraft - derivative of A.109  1
   A.121 (2)      1962    Proj  0  1E high wing bush freighter - deriv. of A.109  1
   A.121 (3)      1962    Proj  0  1E high wing swing tail freighter - deriv. of A.109  1
   A.123  Allocated to Beagle-Auster Farnborough office but not used          
   A.125      1962    Proj  0  5S, 1E fixed u/c derivative of A.113(2)  1
   A.127      1962    Proj  0  4S, 1E fixed u/c derivative of A.113(2)  1
   A.129      1962    Proj  0  4S, 1E fixed u/c low wing derivative of A.113(2)  1

Beagle-Miles top

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
   M.117A  Martlet  Originally Miles M.114 Mk.1  1961    Proj  0  3S, 1E low wing light tourer / trainer  1,5,317,333
   M.117B  Martin  Originally Miles M.114 Mk.2  1961    Proj  0  4S, 1E low wing light tourer / trainer
 See M.117A
   M.218  Martlet (originally Mohawk)  Originally Miles M.115  1961    Proto  1  4S, 2E low wing light tourer  1,4,5,6,8,319,332

Beagle-Wallis top

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
   WA.116      1961    Proto    1S, 1E autogyro
 See Wallis

Beagle Aircraft top

Project No
Type No
Alternative Name(s)
   B.200  Not Used              
   B.202  Beagle designation for the Bristol Type 220            
   B.204  B.206 mock-up              
   B.105          Proj  0  1E development of B.206  1
   B.206  Basset    1961  C.238 (ASR.379)  Prdn  80 (2)  5/8S, 2E light aircraft  1,3,4,6,8,301,301,302,303,314,318,321,324,325,326,333
   B.207  Not Used            
   B.208      1963    Proj  0  Military development of the B.206  7
   B.210      1965    Proj  0  Various 4/8  to 8/10 seat stretched developments of the B.206  1,326
   B.212 (1)      1963    Proj  0  7S, 2E turboprop development of B.206  1
   B.212 (2)      1963    Proj  0  COIN  development of the 212 with new fuselage  1
   B.214      1964    Proj  0  2E pressurised derivative of B.212 (1)  1
   B.216      1964    Proj  0  COIN development of B.212 (1)  1
   B.218  Not used to avoid conflict with Beagle-Miles M.218            
   B.220      1964    Proj  0  6+ pax long fuse VIP/Comms B.206 derivative  1,7,327
   B.121  Pup    1966    Prdn  176  2S, 1E low wing light tourer / trainer   1,3,4,6,8,301,302,303,314,318,321,324,325,326,333
   B.121-180      1968    Proj  0  4S, 1E low wing light tourer with retractable u/c  1
   B.222  Treble Two    1965    Proj  0  10S, 2E feeder liner derivative of the B.206  1,7
   B.222-180      1968    Proj  0  4S, 2E derivative of the B.121-180  1
   B.123 (1)  Pup Major    1966    Proj  0  4S, 1E low wing light tourer / trainer
 See B.121 Pup
   B.123 (2)      1968    Proj  0  4S military training derivative of B.121-180  1
   B.224      1965    Proj  0  10S, 2E feeder liner derivative of the B.210  1,7
   B.125  Bulldog    1969  T.282 (ASR.401)  Prdn  327  2/3S, 1E low wing trainer  1,3,6,9,304,305,306,307,308,309,310,311,312,313,315,316,322,323,331,800
   B.125  Bulldog Srs 200  Bullfinch  1975    Proto  1  4S, 1E low wing light tourer / trainer  9,305,306,329
   B.226      1966    Proj  0  8S, 2E jet feederliner.  1,7
   B.228      1968    Proj  0  8S, 2E canard turboprop  1,7
   B.230  Unknown            
   B.232  Twin Pup    1968    Proj  0  4S, 2E light tourer  1
   B.234      1969    Proj  0  4S(?), 2E light tourer  1
   B.242 (1)    Pup Major Twin  1963    Proto  1  4S, 2E light tourer development of B.218  1,4,6,8
   B.242 (2)      1968    Proj  0  4/8S (?), 2E light aircraft  1
   B.143      1966    Proj  0  6S, 1E derivative of the B.121  1

Project References                    To show project references in a floating window

Project References      

1        False Dawn: The Beagle Aircraft Story, Tom Wenham (Air-Britain Publications, 2015)

2        History of the Auster Aeroplane, The, A.V. Hitchman and Mike Preston (The International Auster Club Heritage Group, 2006)

3        Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918, Owen Thetford (Putnam, 1979)

4        British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1, A.J. Jackson (Putnam, 2nd Ed., 1973)

5        Miles Aircraft Since 1925, Don L. Brown (Putnam 1970)

6        British Private Aircraft 1946-1970 Volume 2, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (Mushroom Model Publications, 2013)

7        Stuck on the Drawing Board, Richard Payne (Tempus, 2004)

8        Beagle Aircraft - A Production History, Compiled by the Midland Counties Research Group (Midland Counties Publishing, 1974)

9        Lion Rampant and Winged, Alan Robertson (Alan Robertson, 1986)

300    Aeroplane Monthly May 1988

301    Air Britain Aeromilitaria 1976/3 (Air-Britain Publications)

302    Air Britain Aviation World 2003/3 (Air Britain Publications)

303    Air Britain Aviation World 2005/2 (Air-Britain Publications)

304    Air International Aug 1973

305    Air International Nov 1974

306    Air International Nov 1976

307    Air Pictorial Apr 1988

308    Air Pictorial Aug 1987

309    Air Pictorial Dec 1987

310    Air Pictorial Feb 1981

311    Air Pictorial Jan 1981

312    Air Pictorial Jan 1983

313    Air Pictorial Jul 1981

314    Air Pictorial May 1963

315    Air Pictorial May 1973

316    Air Pictorial Oct 1985

317    Air Pictorial Sep 1961

318    Aircraft Engineering Aug 1966

319    Aircraft Engineering Jan 1963

320    Aircraft Illustrated Feb 1971

321    Aircraft Illustrated Mar 1972

322    Aviation News Vol 1 No 3

323    Aviation News Vol 10 No 5

324    Aviation News Vol 6 No 19

325    Aviation News Vol 9 No 3

326    Flying Review Vol 20 No 2

327    Flying Review Vol 20 No 3

328    Flying Review Vol 22 No 11

329    Flight 11 Sep 1976

330    Flight 15 Jun 1967

331    Flight 16 Apr 1970

332    Flight 23 Aug 1962

333    Flight 24 Aug 1961

334    Flight 25 Apr 1968

335    Flight 4 May 1961

800     https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/AB-IX/files/POM/

Books & Booklets
1.     False Dawn: The Beagle Aircraft Story, Tom Wenham (Air-Britain Publications, 2015)
2.     The History of the Auster Aeroplane, A.V. Hitchman and Mike Preston (The International Auster Club Heritage Group, 2006)
3.     Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918, Owen Thetford (Putnam, 1979)
4.     British Civil Aircraft since 1919 Volume 1, A.J. Jackson (Putnam, 2nd Ed., 1973)
5.     Miles Aircraft Since 1925, Don L. Brown (Putnam 1970)
6.     British Private Aircraft 1946-1970, Volume 2, Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume (Mushroom Model Publications, 2013)
7.     Stuck on the Drawing Board, Richard Payne (Tempus, 2004)
8.     Beagle Aircraft - A Production History, Compiled by the Midland Counties Research Group (Midland Counties Publishing, 1974)
9.     Lion Rampant and Winged, Alan Robertson (Alan Robertson, 1986)
Magazines and Periodicals
300.     Aeroplane Monthly May 1988
301.     Air Britain Aeromilitaria 1976/3 (Air-Britain Publications)
302.     Air Britain Aviation World 2003/3 (Air Britain Publications)
303.     Air Britain Aviation World 2005/2 (Air-Britain Publications)
304.     Air International Aug 1973
305.     Air International Nov 1974
306.     Air International Nov 1976
307.     Air Pictorial Apr 1988
308.     Air Pictorial Aug 1987
309.     Air Pictorial Dec 1987
310.     Air Pictorial Feb 1981
311.     Air Pictorial Jan 1981
312.     Air Pictorial Jan 1983
313.     Air Pictorial Jul 1981
314.     Air Pictorial May 1963
315.     Air Pictorial May 1973
316.     Air Pictorial Oct 1985
317.     Air Pictorial Sep 1961
318.     Aircraft Engineering Aug 1966
319.     Aircraft Engineering Jan 1963
320.     Aircraft Illustrated Feb 1971
321.     Aircraft Illustrated Mar 1972
322.     Aviation News Vol 1 No 3
323.     Aviation News Vol 10 No 5
324.     Aviation News Vol 6 No 19
325.     Aviation News Vol 9 No 3
326.     Flying Review Vol 20 No 2
327.     Flying Review Vol 20 No 3
328.     Flying Review Vol 22 No 11
329.     Flight 11 Sep 1976
330.     Flight 15 Jun 1967
331.     Flight 16 Apr 1970
332.     Flight 23 Aug 1962
333.     Flight 24 Aug 1961
334.     Flight 25 Apr 1968
335.     Flight 4 May 1961
336.     Flight 15 Jun 1967
337.     Flight 16 Apr 1970
338.     Flight 23 Aug 1962
339.     Flight 24 Aug 1961
340.     Flight 25 Apr 1968
341.     Flight 4 May 1961
800.     https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/AB-IX/files/POM/

Production Summary top
Select the Prdn_List button to go to the appropriate listings page.

Note: In the Production Summary, conversions are only listed where they result in a change from one Type to another. Changes to sub-type or Mark Number are not shown in the summary. For details of these, see the individual listings.


Qty (New)

Qty (Conv.)


 B.206 Basset





 A.109 Airedale



 A.111 Airedale









 B.121 Pup




 B.125 Bulldog





 B.125 Bullfinch






Total Production (Beagle, SAL & BAe)


Total Production (Beagle Only)


Total Cancelled Orders (Beagle, SAL & BAe)


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Page Revision History Page Top

Revised at Version 1.4.2
  • Bulldog production quantities corrected.

Revised at Version 1.4.0
  • Page completely revised based on 'False Dawn'.

Revised at Version 1.3.0
  • Added Specification numbers to B.206 and B.125

V1.4.4 Created by Roger Moss. Last updated August 2020