Thunder & Lightnings

Fairey Gannet - Survivor XA466

COD.4 XA466 - Fleet Air Arm Museum, RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset

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Gannet COD.4 XA466 at Fleet Air Arm Museum, 3rd November 2021; Jake Wallace

Built as an AS.4, XA466 was first flown on 28th March 1957 and spent several years being shuffled about various storage facilities before being issued to 849 NAS at RNAS Culdrose in May 1960. By May 1961 she was with 849's Headquarters Flight. In September 1963 she was placed on loan to B Flight as a 'courier' aircraft on HMS Hermes - this was a success and led to modifications to COD.4 status in November 1964. When these were finished she was reissued to 849 NAS, A Flight this time, at RNAS Brawdy in May 1966, wearing the dark blue-grey COD scheme. By 1969 she was on HMS Eagle with A Flight, and returned to B Flight in April 1972, initially at RNAS Lossiemouth and later Lee-on-Solent before returning to Lossie. In 1977 she was, bizarrely, repainted in sky/extra dark sea grey colours, which lasted until June the next year when she was resprayed in COD blue at RNAY Fleetlands. She returned to service with 849 NAS HQ Flight back at Lossie, but was retired in December, making her last flight on 12th December 1978 to RNAS Yeovilton to be added to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

In 1987 she was transported by road to storage at Wroughton, but came back in 1999 prior to the opening of the Cobham Hall storage facility, which she moved into in 2000.

In 2012 after she was restored and given a polish, XA466 swapped positions with the museum's second Gannet XL503. XL503 going into storage in Cobham Hall and XA466 going on display in the Carrier exhibition where she can still be seen today. The airframe seems to be in very good condition overall.

Information on this page current as of 04/11/2021, last updated by Jake

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