Thunder & Lightnings

Folland Gnat - Survivor XP540

T.1 XP540 - Classic British Jets Collection, Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, Leicestershire

Click for previous survivorSurvivor imageClick for next survivor

Gnat T.1 XP540 at Bruntinghthorpe, 9th January 2022; Dave Thomas

First flown on 5th June 1963, XP540 served with 4 FTS throughout her RAF career, with a brief stint under the Ministry of Aviation charge in late 1964. She was retired in October 1978 and flown to RAF Abingdon to be struck off charge and given the maintenance serial of 8608M. She was then delivered by road to RAF Halton where she spent many years as an instructional airframe before being disposed of in 1991 (after a failed deal in 1990).

She moved to Bruntingthorpe in 1991 where she was reassembled and placed as a gate guard by 1995. Shortly after that, XP540 moved to Arbury College and later showed up at North Weald. The airframe was paint-stripped and had several components removed, such as the flying control surfaces, wingtips, and canopy, to keep the other Gnat Display Teams airframes (based on-site) in the air. Once fairly robbed of parts, she was dumped out of sight and ended up looking rather green. However she remained an occasional source of spares for the Gnat Display Team.

In 2018, with her usefulness at an end, she was rescued by the Classic British Jets Collection who moved XP540 to their location at Bruntingthorpe where she is currently undergoing restoration. Progress so far has been pretty good, with much of the rear fuselage and cockpit instruments repopulated. Her forward fuselage is usually undercover, with her primed flying surfaces and rear fuselage stored nearby. She isn't publicly viewable but as she makes more progress towards completion she will no doubt end up on view!

Information on this page current as of 09/01/2022, last updated by Damien

Find other photos of XP540 on the following sites:

Air-Britain - - - - - -