Thunder & Lightnings

Folland Gnat - Survivor XP502

T.1 XP502 - Cotswold Airport (on display), Kemble, Gloucestershire

Click for previous survivorSurvivor imageClick for next survivor

Gnat T.1 XP502 at Cotswold Airport, 24th April 2021; Jake Wallace

The first Gnat to enter service with 4 FTS was XP502, joining the unit on 7th November 1962 having first flown on 24th August 1962. Retired in 1978 to instructional use as 8576M at RAF St. Athan, she was auctioned off in 2000 and acquired by Delta jets at Kemble.

Subjected to a cosmetic restoration, XP502 now wears Red Arrows colours as do so many preserved Gnats (despite never flying with the team). XP502 has been painted up to represent Red Arrow XR540 and can be seen today sat outside the control tower in a take off position harking back to the days when the Reds were once based at former RAF Kemble.

As many would have seen, XP502 had its cockpits covered over with tarpaulin for sometime in 2020 while awaiting its canopy to be repaired which unfortunately got destroyed in a storm in earlier that same year. With the The Buccaneer Aviation Group becoming residents at Cotswold Airport in mid 2020, the team had agreed to look after the airframe for the coming years along with Hunter XE665 plus Canberra's XH134 and XH135.

In preparation for the reopening of the Airport on the 1st June 2021 to the public after all the COVID-19 restriction, the canopy was repaired by staff at the Airport and has now been refitted as shown in the picture above. To prevent the canopy getting damaged in future storms it has been bolted to the airframe meaning the cockpits cannot be easily accessible, however, the interior is sadly gutted anyways.

Information on this page current as of 24/08/2021, last updated by Jake

Find other photos of XP502 on the following sites:

Air-Britain - - - - - -