Thunder & Lightnings

Fairey Gannet - Survivor XL472

AEW.3 XL472 - South Wales Aviation Museum (stored), St. Athan, Wales

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Gannet AEW.3 XL472 at South Wales Aviation Museum, 22nd February 2023; Jake Wallace

Ending her active service life in 1978 with 849 Squadron B flight on HMS Ark Royal, XL472 was used for some years after retirement as an instructional airframe at Boscombe Down.

She became part of Peter Vallance's collection at Charlwood in 1990 where she went on external display. Sadly the paint was starting to look rough by 2012, but overall was in a good state and surprisingly complete!
With making room for the museum's new hangar, the collection at Gatwick was slimmed down somewhat, with XL472 being one of the airframes chosen for disposal. The airframe was sold to Horizon to be used as a spares airframe for their airframe XL500 which they are hoping to get back in the air again.

XL472 was relocated to St Athan where she went undercover and sat alongside XL500. Sadly, during this time, XL472 was heavily stripped and has even been cut in places due to the road move. When the return to flight project came to a halt, XL500 moved to SWAM for display with XL472 going into storage. Currently, there are no future plans for XL472 to be restored for the time being, and is hidden within a compound at SWAM, not for public viewing.

Information on this page current as of 24/02/2023, last updated by Jake

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