Thunder & Lightnings

de Havilland Sea Vixen

Survivor XJ494

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XJ494 - Dave Thomas, Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leicestershire

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Sea Vixen FAW.2 XJ494 at Bruntingthorpe, 22nd May 2010; author

XJ494 was used as a trials aircraft and has an undernose camera mounting and a cable running down the port boom, leading to what may be a transponder or beacon fairing of some kind on the tailfin. She took part in Red Beard and Martel missile trials, some details of which are still classified. After retirement she survived many years out in the open (formerly with the 'Trout Lake Air Force' at Kings Langley) with minimal deterioration. The cockpits are in excellent condition, with the non-standard instrument fit also indicating her use as a trials aircraft. There is an ongoing effort to restore her to taxiable condition so that XJ494 can take part in Bruntingthorpe's regular open days, and to that end she has had her starboard engine replaced with a 'new' one (the old one had suffered FOD damage of the first stage compressor blades) and has now run both engines. In early 2007 a repainting programme was begun; 5 years later she was looking a bit patchy so another repaint has commenced. The small team working on the aircraft are certainly doing an impressive job and there is a real prospect of seeing her blast down the runway in the not too distant future, particularly as the fussy starboard engine is now running correctly after experiencing fuel contamination related blockages. Hopefully 2013 will see XJ494 making her public open day taxiing debut!

Information on this page current as of 23/09/2012

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