Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter

Survivor WV381

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WV381 - David Webb, RAF Benson, Oxfordshire

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Hunter GA.11 WV381 at Benson, 27th August 2009; David Webb

Built as an F.4 and first flown on 3rd August 1955, WV381 served with 222(F) Squadron and the FWS before being bought back by Hawkers, converted to GA.11 and re-delivered to the FAA - 764 NAS. On 1st November 1972 while taking off from RNAS Lee-on-Solent having visited there for the fitting of a Harley light to the nose, the pilot aborted his take-off (due to an instrument malfunction) and then ejected when he realised he was going to overrun the runway end - the aircraft went through the fence, over a road and beach and ended up in the sea. The pilot thankfully survived despite the seat being used out of its guaranteed performance envelope (Hunter seats are not zero/zero models). The airframe was recovered from the sea two days later but her flying days were over and she ended up with the UKAEA Lightning Studies Unit at Culham (as a fuselage only), being used to study the effects of lightning strikes on aircraft and suffered further as a result. Her new owner, David Webb, removed the nose from the remainder of the fuselage and has spent 30 months restoring it with the help of a small team of helpers. It is currently lodging at RAF Benson but can be seen at occasional local events.

Information on this page current as of 30/09/2009

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