Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor XL573 (G-BVGH)

T.7 XL573 - South Wales Aviation Museum, St. Athan, Wales

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Hunter T.7 XL573 at South Wales Aviation Museum, 24th February 2023; Jake Wallace

Built as a T.7, XL573 first flew on 17th April 1958 and entered service with the DFLS at RAF West Raynham in July 1958. She had a varied career, going through periods with AFDS, DFCS (coded L), and then 229 OCU at RAF Chivenor. After brief periods with various other units in the 1970s, she was given red and white training colours and joined 4 FTS at RAF Valley.

In February 1980 she was given all-over camouflage and joined 237 OCU, the Buccaneer OCU, at RAF Honington. 237 would be her final unit, staying with them through movements to RAFG Laarbruch and eventually RAF Lossiemouth. She was retired in 1991 and put up for disposal in 1993.

She was acquired by Barry Pover's Classic Jet Aircraft Co. and became G-BVGH (Barry's Very Good Hunter), and was a regular airshow performer some years ago. However, by 2007 she had been grounded and spent some time at North Weald being maintained by The Jet Centre for a new owner. She then went through a number of owners before being bought in March 2011 by Mark Stott who intended, with Hunter Flying at Exeter, to get her back in the air in time for the Hunter 60th Anniversary airshow at Kemble in 2011. Sadly it wasn't to be but she did get back into the air later in the year when she joined the Midair Squadron based at Kemble, being resprayed into their overall silver scheme, and was operated until 2015 or so, before being grounded once more.

Acquired by GJD Services, she spent a short time at RAF Cosford where she took part in the static line for the 2018 airshow, celebrating 100 years of the RAF. Later in the year, she was relocated to the South Wales Aviation Museum (SWAM) where there was a slight glimmer of hope she may return to flight with Horizon within a year of her arrival, however, this never came to anything, and as a result, remains on display at SWAM in their hangar.

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

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