Parnall Elf

The Parnall Elf is a British two seat light touring aircraft of the 1920s. Built by George Parnall & Co. the Elf was the last aircraft designed by Harold Bolas before he left the company to go to the United States.

Role Two-seat light aircraft
Manufacturer Parnall & Co
Designer Harold Bolas
First flight 1929
Number built 3

Design and development

The Parnall Elf was designed by Harold Bolas, chief designer of the reformed George Parnall & Co. The type made its public debut at Olympia in July 1929.[1] The Elf was a biplane of wood and fabric construction with staggered wings set well forward on the fuselage as a feature to assist crew escape in an emergency. The wings were unusually braced with 'vee' interplane struts which dispensed with any flying wires [2] and could be folded for ease of hangarage. The main fuel tank was fitted in the fuselage, while a pump raised the fuel to a small tank in the wing centre section where it was then fed to the engine by gravity. An Elf placed fifth in the 1930 King's Cup Air Race out of a field of 88 entrants. The purchase price of the aircraft at this time was between £875 and £890.[3]


Specifications (Elf)

Data from The Shuttleworth Collection, 1969.

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Length: 22 ft 10.5 in (7 m)
  • Wingspan: 31 ft 2.5 in (upper wing) 26 ft 9 in (lower wing) 7 ft 2 in (folded) (9.5 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.6)
  • Wing area: 195 ft² (18 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,140 lb (517 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Cirrus Hermes II in-line piston engine, 115 hp (86 kW)


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. Ogilvy, 1989.
  2. Ogilvy, 1989
  3. Guttery, 1969. p. 43.
  4. The Shuttleworth Collection – Parnall Elf Retrieved: 8 April 2010


  • Guttery, T.E. The Shuttleworth Collection. London: Wm. Carling & Co, 1969. SBN 901319-01-5
  • Ogilvy, David. Shuttleworth – The Historic Aeroplanes. Shrewsbury, England: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1989 ISBN 1-85310-106-0
  • Parnall Elf – British Aircraft Directory
  • Elf in Flight, 4 April 1930
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