Thunder & Lightnings

Blackburn Buccaneer

Survivor XN923

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S.1 XN923 - Gatwick Aviation Museum (runner), Charlwood, Surrey

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Buccaneer S.1 XN923 at Gatwick Aviation Museum, 26th June 2021; Jake Wallace

This is S.1 XN923, which was apart of Peter Vallance's collection. This particular Buccaneer was the second production S.1 and after a brief stint with 700Z NAS, the Navy's trials squadron and the A&AEE, XN923 was assigned to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough and carried out a lot of test and development work, which included the fitting of the familiar fixed refuelling probe. It also had a detachable nose cone used for flying various pieces of equipment in.

XN923 was moved to the dumped at Boscombe Down by 1986, sadly, this is where most of it's damage was done. Before burning fires on the dump had finished, they'd tow the airframe back over the top of them so it was out the way, causes the tires to melt in the heat. Being outside also didn't help as it was battling the elements with no care.

Thankfully in March 1990, XN923 was transported by road to Gatwick Aviation Museum for display. Work got under way with restoring it back to a live condition, the tyres were replaced a partial repaint in 1999 and even an engine run as well making this airframe the worlds only live Buccaneer S.1! The aircraft had a replacement engine fitted in 2011/2012 as corrosion had set in on the original.

With the museums hangar being built by 2016 to house all the smaller aircraft and their Lightning 53-671 which left the larger aircraft outside such as their Shackleton, Sea Devon, Hunter GA.11 and XN923.

Today, XN923 is in a rather sad state with a lot of corrosion setting in, especially around the back of the jet pipe where holes have appeared in the metal work. The aircraft is run up to 65% every now and then with its last run being around July/August 2020. Hopefully this airframe can go undercover one day and have its own restoration project..!

The photo above was taken when the museum was closed to the public and so the grass had grown a bit.

Information on this page current as of 10/07/2021, last updated by Jake

Find other photos of XN923 on the following sites:

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