Home / History

The Portsmouth Aviation Story

With decades of experience as a trusted engineering solutions provider and business partner, our services have stood the test of time. Here’s a summary of our story so far, which has seen Portsmouth Aviation evolve from air ferry innovators, to aerospace manufacturers, to the leading engineering experts we are today.

1929

1929

Portsmouth Aviation is founded as Inland Flying Services.

1930s

– The company assumes the name Portsmouth Southsea and Isle of Wight Aviation (PSIOWA). Pioneering aviatrix, Amy Johnson, works for PSIOWA before WWII.

1932

Portsmouth Aviation moves to its current location.

1940s

Portsmouth Aviation is involved in manufacturing activity supporting the Allied forces in WWII. The business produces the Airspeed Oxford and Horsa glider, and is also involved in the maintenance, testing and evaluation of weapons systems. Sydney Escott becomes Managing Director.

1948

Portsmouth Aviation design and build the Aerocar, which is first displayed at the 1948 Farnborough Air Show.

1950s

For a short time, production is expanded to include bus and coach bodies.

1960s

Radical structural change within the industry results in the consolidation of smaller manufacturing businesses into a handful of primes.

1970s

Portsmouth Aviation remains independent and switches its focus to developing products for these major primes. The company’s portfolio during this period includes work on the FV180 Combat Engineer and VIPA1 Camera Pod.   Paul Escott joins the Board of Directors.

1980s

1980s

Collaborating with a major US prime, Portsmouth Aviation develop a UK standard weapon system for the Royal Air Force. Portsmouth Aviation develops a new solution for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence (NBCD) systems in conjunction with the Royal Navy. RAF’s Jaguar GR Mk 1 is equipped with Portsmouth Aviation manufactured equipment.

1990s

1990s

Several major orders and prestigious contracts allow Portsmouth Aviation to invest in new manufacturing equipment, developing our capabilities in the process. Weapons loaders, trolleys and release systems, including the Integrated Release Unit Adaptor (IRUA) for the Royal Navy’s Merlin weapons system, constitute an important area of expansion for the business.   Simon Escott assumes the position of Managing Director, the third generation of the family to do so.

2000s

2000s

Portsmouth Aviation diversifies with a wide range of innovative, in-house designs for the aerospace and aviation industries, amongst others. Some of the most successful new products include our water purification technologies and off-grid energy solutions.

How can we help?

Get In Touch
Close