Thunder & Lightnings

Blackburn Buccaneer

Survivor XW544

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XW544 - The Buccaneer Aviation Group (taxiable), Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire

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Buccaneer S.2B XW544 at Bruntingthorpe, 25th August 2019; author

Delivered to the RAF in June 1972, XW544 entered service with 15 Squadron at RAF Laarbruch, moving to 16 Squadron in 1979 and back to 15 in 1982. In 1983 she was grounded - possibly one of the airframes found to have spar cracks that were not economically repairable - and was put into storage at RAF Shawbury. In early 1984 she was issued to No.2 School of Technical Training (as 8857M) at RAF Cosford, but by the end of 1985 had been put into storage at RAF Shawbury once more, with parts being used to keep other Buccaneers in the air. By 1993, with the retirement of the Buccaneer fleet, she had ceased to be of any use to the RAF and was disposed of, being dismantled and transported to a scrap yard near Shawbury. Bought by Rob Goldstone, she spent some time in the storage at the yard but was roaded to Bruntingthorpe in October 2004. Work has gone on since then to return her to full taxiing condition, with highlights being repairs to her hydraulics enabling the wings to be spread in July 2007 (every other hydraulic system - airbrakes, bomb bay, arrestor hook etc. also now works) and her first engine run for 25 years in May 2008. In May 2011 XW544 made her first public taxi run since retirement, bringing the number of taxiable Buccs at Brunty to three! March 2012 saw the completion of a much-needed repaint, and she took part in a roll-out event in her new colours, taxiing along with XX900 and XX894. You can keep up to date with progress on the Group's aircraft on The Buccaneer Aviation Group website. Sadly it looks like Brunty's days as a center of live aviation are over, and so TBAG moved their Buccaneers to Kemble in August 2020.

Information on this page current as of 15/11/2020

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