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Blackburn Buccaneer

Survivor XW544

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S.2B XW544 - The Buccaneer Aviation Group (taxiable), Cotswold Airport, Gloucestershire

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Buccaneer S.2B XW544 at Cotswold Airport, 26th September 2020; Jake Wallace

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. XW544 spent an awful lot of time in the hangar as she was always having fuel leaks. In 1983 she was withdrawn from service - possibly due to being one of the airframes found to have spar cracks that were not economically repairable - and was put into storage at RAF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. She was then brought by rob Goldstone who transported her to a scrap yard near Shawbury. She spent some time in the storage at the yard but was brought by Dave Webber, Andy Webber and George Palmer in 2004 and was moved by road to Bruntingthorpe in October 2004.

Alot of hard 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 in 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 - this was the first time since retirement the public saw three running Buccaneers together. 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 Bruntingthorpe's days as a centre of live aviation are over, and after a lot of discussions TBAG moved their two Buccaneers to Cotswold Airport (former RAF Kemble), this allows the aircraft to continuing blasting down the runway in front of the public, they will also become part of a growing collection of privately owned aircraft with Boeing 747 G-CIVB Negus being the centre piece

Information on this page current as of 30/01/2021

Find other photos of XW544 on the following sites:

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