FERGUSON TEA-20 Tractor
Image: MARK J. CAIRNS
The Ulster Aviation Society is home to an iconic piece of agricultural and aviation history — a Ferguson TEA-20 Tractor. This remarkable vehicle, with its rich history and versatile functionality, offers a unique insight into its past role within the Royal Air Force and its continued service as an aircraft tug at the UAS today.
Ferguson TEA-20 Tractor background
The Ferguson TEA-20 Tractor has a fascinating background. Developed by Harry Ferguson, a renowned engineer and inventor, this tractor gained prominence during the mid-20th century. Originally designed for agricultural purposes, the TEA-20 became an integral part of the RAF's operations, specifically as an aircraft tug.
Within the RAF, the Ferguson TEA-20 "Fergie" Tractor played a crucial role in facilitating ground operations. Its robust construction, combined with its powerful engine, allowed it to effortlessly manoeuvre aircraft around airfields, supporting various logistical activities.
From towing fighter planes to positioning bombers, this reliable petrol — yes petrol — tractor became an indispensable asset after the Second World War.
A follow-up to the iconic "Little Grey Fergie" TE20 ('TE' stood for Tractor England), the Ferguson TEA-20 was built in Coventry, England from 1948 to 1956. The main difference from its predecessor was the Standard Motor Company petrol engine it was fitted with, whereas the TE20 had a Continental engine.
It marked a major advance in tractor design, distinguished by lightweight, small size, manoeuvrability and versatility. It popularised Harry Ferguson's invention of the hydraulic, three-point hitch system around the world, and the system quickly became an international standard for tractors of all makes, remaining to this day.
Image: MARK J. CAIRNS
Today, the UAS proudly maintains the "Fergie" as an aircraft tug, demonstrating its enduring value and adaptability. This versatile vehicle showcases the remarkable engineering and functionality that made it an invaluable tool for the RAF.
Witness first-hand how this historic tractor continues to serve a practical purpose, aiding in the movement of our heritage aircraft and preserving the legacy of aviation history.
By preserving and utilising the Ferguson TEA-20 Tractor as an aircraft tug, the UAS honours its heritage and provides visitors with a unique opportunity to witness a living piece of history in action.
This iconic vehicle serves as a tangible connection to the past, allowing tractor enthusiasts, historians, and aviation buffs alike to appreciate its significance within the RAF and for us in the UAS.
As you explore the UAS, take the time to appreciate the Ferguson TEA-20 Tractor and the pivotal role it played in the RAF's operations.
From its agricultural origins to its continued service as an aircraft tug, this vehicle embodies resilience, versatility, and the unwavering spirit of innovation. Its presence at the UAS serves as a reminder of the remarkable advancements made in engineering and its ongoing impact on the aviation industry.
Discover the fascinating history of the "Fergie" at the Ulster Aviation Society during a tour. Immerse yourself in its legacy, learn about its RAF connections, and see its present-day application as our aircraft tug.
This extraordinary vehicle serves as a testament to the ingenuity and adaptability of the machines that shaped our past and continue to leave a lasting impact on the world of aviation.
Bit of craic at the hangars as the UAS' Events team were setting up for the Balmoral Show 2021 on 21st Sept 2021.
UAS Volunteer, John Weir enjoyed driving one of his favourite exhibits from our Heritage collection... the #Ferguson #TEA-20 Tractor, on its way down the tarmac from the hangar to our spot at Balmoral.