S.2 XN979 - Marcus & Carolyn Cordran, South Yorkshire Air Museum, Aeroventure, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Buccaneer S.2 XN979 at South Yorkshire Air Museum, 30th December 2020; Marcus Cordran
Originally to be built as an S.1, XN979 ended up being built as an S.2 and delivered to the RN (700B Flight) in April 1965. When 700B disbanded in September, she was stored and then transferred to 801 NAS the next month, and began a cruise on HMS Victorious in June 1966. Days later on 9th June she was catapulted off the ship, stalled and crashed into the sea - the RN's first Buccaneer S.2 loss. The crew escaped successfully. The wreckage was recovered from 300ft of water - one rather silly story being that she was carrying a 'sensitive' weapon at the time and thus warranted that extra bit of effort - the official and rather more likely reason being that the RN particularly wanted to investigate the reasons behind the crash (Boscombe Down blamed the pilot - a Boscombe pilot trying to replicate the launch conditions some months later also crashed in a similar manner!). It turned out that airflow could be disrupted around the slipper tanks and stores pylons under certain conditions, and this had caused the pitch-up and stall. Launch procedures were modified afterwards, including leaving the undercarriage down longer. XN979 was massively damaged, being reduced to a centre section including engines and wing stubs with separated nose and tail. The wreckage was later scrapped but the forward part of the nose survived and was used at Cranfield Institute of Technology of instruction between 1983 and 1989. After periods with ATC squadrons XN979 moved to South Yorkshire Air Museum in Doncaster.
In October 2020, Carolyn and her son, Marcus, purchased the cockpit section as Marcus was very keen to restore her - "I want to give her some life and bring her back into the state she deserves to be in. I'm learning lots of engineering skills to keep working with Buccaneers and other aircraft. I love working on my dream aircraft". Marcus and Carolyn have recently been restoring the oxygen trolley which XN979 sits on. Their plans are to correctly redo the riveting, repaint her in the colours at the time of 1966 on HMS Victorious, complete the front cockpit as much as possible and even provide lighting to some instrument panels! They would also like to complete as much of the rear cockpit as possible, but unfortunately is hard to access due to the shortened canopy rails. Check out their Facebook page for any updates on her restoration: XN979 Restoration Project
Information on this page current as of 31/12/2020
Find other photos of XN979 on the following sites:
Air-Britain - Airliners.net - Airplane-Pictures.net - flickr.com - WorldAirPics.com - JetPhotos.net - PlanePictures.net