Thunder & Lightnings

Fairey Gannet - Survivor XL500 (G-KAEW)

AEW.3 XL500 - South Wales Aviation Museum (restoration to fly), St. Athan, Wales

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Gannet AEW.3 XL500 at South Wales Aviation Museum, 4th February 2023; Jake Wallace

XL500 has had an unusually active retirement; first used by the School of Aircraft Handling at Culdrose, she then moved onto Lee-on-Solent for a period of storage and was then actually brought back to airworthy status. Dowty-Rotol Propellors operated the aircraft for a short period on noise trials and then XL500 was grounded once more, finally becoming the mascot of 849 NAS, back at Culdrose. She was put on display by the public viewing area at the airfield during the summer months but in late March 2000 moved once more, having been donated to the Chatham Dockyard Museum.

Kennet Aviation then purchased her and put her on the civil register, moving her to North Weald in 2004. After some work there, she was transferred to Exeter in 2008 for Hunter Flying to restore her to airworthy condition! HFL (now Horizon Aircraft Services) moved her to their new base at St. Athan in late January 2012 and initially cracked on with the huge task of returning it to flight. As of August 2014, she was well on the way to running condition and it had been hoped there would be engine runs by 2015. Unfortunately, the restoration work on XL500 has come to a halt, and has since become a part of the South Wales Aviation Museum (SWAM) collection for the time being, where she can be seen on static display undercover. Hopefully, work to get her back flying again will pick up again in the near future.

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

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