Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor '349' (E-408)

F.51 349 - Centerprise International (gate guard), Chineham, Hampshire

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Hunter F.51 349 at Chineham, 17th May 2021; Damien Burke

Delivered straight to the RDAF, E-408 served with Esk724 from 1956 to 1974. Bought back by Hawker Siddeley in 1976 with the intention of reselling it, E-408 failed to find a buyer and was eventually allocated to RAF Brawdy for display. Once Brawdy found a more appropriate Hunter (FGA.9 XE624), it moved on to RAF Cranwell and was painted as XF979 (the real XF979 being converted to FGA.73B standard and sold to Jordan). In 1988 the aircraft moved to RAF Sealand and in 1990 was restored and repainted as WT720 (the real WT720 was retired in 1964 and scrapped).

In mid 2006 with Sealand's closure she was sold to Nigel Spurr who had her moved and put on display within his facility on the Swinderby Road just south-east of North Scarle. She spent nearly a decade on a pole there before being acquired by the chairman of Centerprise International, Rafi Razzak, who has had her restored once again and repainted in Royal Iraqi Air Force colours as '349' (in Arabic lettering). She's now on display outside the company's premises on Lime Tree Way in Chineham (near Basingstoke), and is a memorial to his late father, Arif Abdul Razza, who flew Hunter FGA.59/59As with 6 Squadron RIAF. She's beautifully presented with a selection of info panels and seating underneath her - well worth a detour if you're in the area!

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Information on this page current as of 18/05/2021, last updated by Damien

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