Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor N350AX (ex 'N-294', G-KAXF, XF515)

F.6A N350AX - Lortie Aviation (flyer), Canada

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Hunter F.6A N350AX at Waddington, 5th July 2014; Damien Burke

F.6A XF515 made its first post-restoration flight with owners Kennet Aviation in August 1998 and after some initial problems with the fuel pump, made its public debut less than a week later at the Cranfield Classic Jets airshow, where Rod Dean put on his customary stunning display, reacquainting himself with an aircraft he had previously flown in the RAF. XF515 looked absolutely beautiful and was a credit to her restorers; she was painted in the colours of 43 Squadron, who operated this particular aircraft from 1957 to 1964. When returning from the 1999 RIAT at RAF Fairford, the port main gear failed to extend fully. Electing to land at Luton rather than its home base at Cranfield, the pilot (Rod Dean) made a skilful landing, holding the port wing up as long as possible and damage was mostly limited to the port drop tank and aileron. The damage was quickly repaired and XF515 was soon as good as new.

Unfortunately, after just a few years on the circuit, XF515 was grounded from late 2004 and was sold to a new foreign owner in late 2007. She was flown to Exeter in September 2007 for some work by Hunter Flying Ltd. and had Dutch colours applied to her - 'N-294' - and departed for Leeuwarden in Holland during late 2008. She was a European airshow regular, but only made rare trips back to the UK. She's pictured here on one of those rare visits, with pilot Patrick Tuit winning the award for the best overall flying display at the 2014 RAF Waddington Airshow.

Sadly 2022 saw the end of her airshow days, with the news that the Dutch Hawker Hunter Foundation had put up for disposal in the face of declining airshow bookings (not helped by the pandemic). She was duly sold to Lortie Aviation in Canada who will hopefully continue flying her as part of their military training fleet. Up to date photos would be welcomed.

Information on this page current as of 15/02/2023, last updated by Damien

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