Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor WV256 (ex G-BZPB)

GA.11 WV256 - Privately owned, Badwell Green, Suffolk

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Hunter GA.11 WV256 at Badwell Green, 18th August 2023; Richard E Flagg

WV256 first flew on 5th May 1955 and was delivered to the RAF on 20th May 1955. Serving with 26(F) Squadron and 229 OCU, she was bought back by Hawkers in 1960, converted to a GA.11, and delivered to RNAS Lossiemouth and 738 NAS on 2nd April 1963. 738 moved to Brawdy and so did WV256, but she moved back to Lossiemouth when transferred to 764 NAS in 1969. In 1972 she joined ADTU, and in 1973 became part of FRADU's fleet, retiring in 1995 and being flown to RAF Shawbury for storage.

Auctioned off in 2000, she was sold to Barry Pearson and flown to Exeter on a ferry permit (registered G-BZPB). She later undertook a full restoration to flight, which took no time at all, and by May 2001 she was airborne again, wearing 'sky' colours representing the original prototype Hunter - WB188. She was flown on the airshow circuit in 2001 and 2002 but her Permit to Fly expired in 2003 and has not flown since. In common with many of the other briefly, active Hunters based at Exeter, she then moved - by road - to Cotswold Airport, Kemble, and was part of the spares/display line-up there for some years before moving in late May 2010 to Coventry and the new Airbase (Air Atlantique) facility. She was put on display at the Coventry Airport main entrance, as an advertising hoarding for Airbase, but in the summer of 2012 was roaded to Airbase's new location at Newquay.

A repaint soon began into her original 26 Sqn colours. With Airbase folding, happily work continued and was put under the care of the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre where she was also displayed. The volunteers would regularly open up the cockpit to allow visitors to take a look at the Hunter GA.11 from a pilot's perspective.

In October 2022, WV256 seemed to be in good condition, and was treated to another repaint fairly recently in 2021, looking shiny as a result!

Unfortunately, CAHC was forced to close its doors in 2023, resulting in an unknown future for the collection. Happily, WV256 moved on in August 2023 to a new home in Badwell Green with a private individual. As seen in the picture above, WV256 can be found looking rather tidy sitting on a new concrete pad. Although the airframe is no longer as easily viewable as it once was, it's looking hopeful that she'll be very well preserved here.

Information on this page current as of 19/08/2023, last updated by Jake

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