Thunder & Lightnings

Blackburn Buccaneer - Survivor XK526

S.2 XK526 - RAF Honington (gate guard), Thetford, Suffolk

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Buccaneer S.2 XK526 at RAF Honington, 25th July 2015; Richard E Flagg

XK526 was first built as an S.1 and took to the skies on the 29th of August 1960 before being converted to an S.2 in 1962. Although a handful of Buccaneer airframes were converted from the S.1 variant to the S.2, only two flew as both, XK526 being one. This makes for XK526 to be a bit of a hybrid, with S.1 brakes, wings, and many other components.

XK526 made its final flight into RAF Honington in 1980 where it was used for instructional uses under the maintenance number 8648M. Just three years later, XK526 began carrying out gate guarding duties on site and also became a memorial to those we sadly lost flying the Buccaneer at Honington. Later on, the airframe was treated to a re-sprayed with a high gloss finish, the canopy being painted black to hide the empty cockpits as well as to protect the perspex from clouding up over time.

In more recent times, TLC on XK526 seems to have lacked, apart from the odd clean every few years. Although the port side undercarriage leg seems to be sagging, the airframe is generally holding up quite well!

Rumour currently has it that we will see XK526 being replaced with a Tornado within the next few years, leaving it with an uncertain future. If this is to be true, hopefully, it'll be able to find a new home where it can remain a complete aircraft and get the attention it deserves.

Although XK526 can be viewed from a distance through the gate, taking photos of it can be tricky.

Information on this page current as of 11/08/2023, last updated by Jake

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