Originally a flying school operator the company took on maintenance work in 1938. During the Second World War, Scottish Aviation was involved in aircraft fitting for the war effort. This included maintenance and conversion of the Consolidated Liberator bomber.
The factory building of Scottish Aviation, which still exists today, was formerly the Palace of Engineering at the 1938 Empire Exhibition in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow. The building was dismantled from its Glasgow site and reconstructed.
Post-war it built robust military STOL utility aircraft such as the Pioneer and larger Twin Pioneer. Much later the company built some Jetstream turboprop transport and navigational training aircraft following the collapse of the Handley Page Aircraft Company (which designed the type). It built Bulldog trainers after the demise of their original manufacturer, Beagle Aircraft Limited. Scottish Aviation merged with the British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddeley Aviation, and Hawker Siddeley Dynamics to form British Aerospace in 1977. Much of the former Scottish Aviation assets now belong to Spirit AeroSystems.
Between 1964 and 1966 Scottish Aviation designed a small battery-electric car, the Scottish Aviation Scamp, of which twelve pre-production examples were built.