Thunder & Lightnings

Blackburn Buccaneer

Survivor XX900

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XX900 - British Aviation Heritage (taxiable), Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire

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Buccaneer S.2B XX900 at Bruntingthorpe, 25th August 2019; author

Delivered to the RAF in November 1976, XX900 began her career with 208 Squadron at RAF Honington and was one of the few jets to receive desert camouflage for a Red Flag deployment to the USA in 1977. She went on to serve with 216 and 12 Squadrons, and in 1983 took part in Operation Western Fox over in Florida, firing live Martel missiles against target ships (old hulks, naturally!). Later in 1983 she was one of the trials aircraft for the ALE-40 chaff & flare dispensers, fitted in a hurry to support operations over Beirut. In 1984 she returned to 208 Squadron and in 1986 she was upgraded to carry Sea Eagle missiles and by July 1987 was back with the Squadron, going on to serve with 12 Squadron, 237 OCU and 12 once more and being fitted with the original S.1 (smaller) wingtips at some point after 1989. She finished her career with 208 Squadron and was flown into retirement with 19 MU at RAF St. Athan in 1994. She was acquired by British Aviation Heritage at Bruntingthorpe and soon reassembled to begin a restoration to taxiing condition - a mammoth task, as many systems had been disconnected and wires cut without being marked when she was dismantled. During early 1998 her paintwork was given a touch-up too, with her old OCU markings being put back on. Sadly since then the climate and almost permanent outdoors living has made quite a mess of her paint, and she's now looking very faded. However she has continued to be an active taxi run performer, though from 2008 to early 2012 she was out of action as work was carried out on her brakes. She then lapsed back into inaction for a while due to hydraulic issues but work went on to return her to taxying condition and she's seen here at the 2019 open day strutting her stuff. Sadly it looks like the days of fast taxi run events are over at Bruntingthorpe so XX900's future may be rather quieter.

Information on this page current as of 16/06/2020

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