Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor XF310 (VH-HMS)

T.8C XF310 - Hank Ebes, Cheltenham, Melbourne, Australia

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Hunter T.8C XF310 at Boscombe Down, 9th June 1990; Damien Burke

XF310 began life as an F.4 and was delivered to the MoD in 1956. She was loaned to Fairey Aviation Ltd where she was used for testing the Fireflash air-to-air missile. For these trials, special two-part pylons were fitted to the wings to carry these rather ungainly missiles. In 1958, XF310 was returned to Hawkers for conversion to a T.8 and flew as such in April 1959.

She was delivered to 20 Squadron in May 1959 and flew with them, coded T, from their base at RAF Tengah in Singapore. She returned to the UK in March 1967 and went into storage with 5 MU at RAF Kemble. After some refurbishment she was transferred to the Royal Navy in July 1969, operating with Heron Flight at RNAS Yeovilton. She returned to the RAF in 1971, operating with 45 Squadron at RAF West Raynham and later Wittering.

In 1976 she again flew into storage at Kemble and was swapped over to Royal Navy charge, but didn't actually fly with them, remaining in storage. She was then loaned back to the RAF in June 1977 and re-entered service with 2 TWU at RAF Lossiemouth. She then spent some time with the Station Flight at RAFG Laarbruch before returning to RN service with FRADU at RNAS Yeovilton in August 1981, coded 876, though she retained her RAF green/grey camo. By 1985 she had been repainted in overall dark sea grey and recoded 869. She was retired in early 1993, her final flight being to RNAS Culdrose for storage on 25th March. She then received the instructional airframe serial A2618 with the School of Flight Deck Operations.

In early 1997, XF310 was sold to a private owner at an auction who moved it to Tasmania in Australia. During its move, she suffered are a significant amount of saltwater damage, thus making the engine useless. On arrival she was placed in storage and was later sold to a private owner in 1999 who moved her to Cheltenham, Melbourne in Australia. XF310 was given the serial VH-HMS but her chances of flying again had realistically ended.

She was then sold to Hank Ebes in Melbourne in 2002, and he began a restoration to flight before reality set in and he realised the cost would be prohibitive. Instead, he placed her on display in his home and museum, which is largely devoted to the art of Emily Kame Kngwarreye - hence the name Emily Museum. Unfortunately the museum was not a success and had to close its doors in 2016. XF310 seems safe for now as the building remains Hanks' home.

Information on this page current as of 19/02/2022, last updated by Damien

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