Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor XL623

T.7 XL623 - Hawker Association (under restoration), Dunsfold Aerodrome, Surrey

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Hunter T.7 XL623 at Woking, 16th October 2008; Damien Burke

The Big Apple leisure complex in Woking town centre had this Hunter proudly displayed on a pole outside the front entrance for around 20 years, adding to the generally surreal atmosphere of this part of town, which also has a Martian war machine (and cylinder) just round the corner - I kid you not (read The War of The Worlds to find out why!). Originally painted in a garish multi-coloured scheme, by 1998 it had acquired a more sedate overall silver finish, with no markings at all. The aircraft is basically a stripped-out shell with no engine or cockpit interior. Another visit 10 years after my first found her in much the same condition as before - though one of the intake blanks was partially missing so no doubt the interior was full of bird's nests and corroding away nicely. A few cracks were visible in some of the underside panels too. It was owned by the local council who appeared to be keeping her cosmetically clean and tidy, but in 2018 they were apparently informed that the aircraft would at some point become no longer safe for display. This resulted, happily, in them donating her to the Hawker Association who have moved her to Dunsfold for a restoration prior to putting her back on display at an as-yet undecided location. Much of this restoration work will happen on dismantled components at the Brooklands Museum in their new purpose-built aviation heritage skills training centre.

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Information on this page current as of 02/08/2021, last updated by Jake

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