Thunder & Lightnings

Blackburn Buccaneer - Survivor XV350

S.2B XV350 - East Midlands Aeropark, Castle Donnington, Derbyshire

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Buccaneer S.2B XV350 at East Midlands Aeropark, 21st September 2023; Jake Wallace

Delivered to the Royal Navy in September 1967, XV350 went on to serve with the MoD(Procurement Executive) and then the A&AEE at Boscombe Down from 1969, performing trials work on the Matra rocket pods that later became a standard RAF weapon. She continued weapons trials work from then on, on projects such as the Pave Spike laser designator pod, Paveway 1,000lb Laser Guided Bombs and Sea Eagle missiles. She had several visits to the USA during her trials career, being named 'Tequila Sheila' on a 1980 visit to the U.S. Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River in Maryland.

She was finally retired on 28th April 1993, having worn these early camouflage colours throughout, this is now the only Buccaneer preserved with the light aircraft grey underside. She was brought by East Midlands Aeropark soon after retirement and used to be run on a regular basis until the Aeropark moved sites. Due to the new site being closed to several houses, undertaking ground runs were sadly ceased.

XV350 remains fairly complete apart from the odd bits and bobs missing from around the airframe but is still kept electrically live. Her canopy and perspex areas are slowly starting to go cloudy, the starboard side nearly clouding over completely. Happily, in September 2023, the Aeropark has got XV350 undercover at long last! Whilst she is undercover, the volunteers are planning to restore the aircraft, filling as many gaps and holes are possible, plus a fresh coat of paint. It is hopeful that XV350 will be able to stay undercover during the winter months for the foreseeable, whilst coming out of the hangar for external display during the summer season.

Information on this page current as of 25/09/2023, last updated by Jake

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