Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor 'J-4015' (HB-RVS, really ex J-4040)

F.58 J-4015 - Hunter Verein Obersimmental, Altenrhein, Switzerland

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Hunter F.58 J-4015 at Mollis, 12th August 2006; Damien Burke

J-4040 was built as an F.58 at Dunsfold and delivered to the Swiss Air Force in May 1959. She served with Fliegerstaffels 15 and 20 and was retired in 1993. She resumed flying in 2001 after some years of storage. The dramatic paint scheme of white with black newspaper lettering is similar to a memorable scheme worn by the real J-4015, and carries the names of various 15 Squadron personnel on her topsides. She was given the symbolic serial J-4015 to mark the disbandment of 15 Squadron.

She visited the UK in 2001, appearing at the Hunter 50th Anniversary airshow at Kemble and also at RIAT, but soon after was grounded for a couple of years while a major rebuild took place. She flew again in 2004 and was then a regular on the European airshow circuit. Sadly, post-Shoreham, the operation of Hunters in civilian hands has become ever more difficult and expensive. In October 2022, Papyrus carried out what was, it turns out, her final flight - from St. Stephan to Altenrhein for her annual inspection. Her operators were attempting to band together with some other operators to form a European maintenance organisation, but this effort failed. This meant that the options for continuing to fly the aircraft dwindled to basically allowing a Canadian operator to do the maintenance and fly her for one more year, or ground her.

That flying plan failed too, and the decision has now been taken that, in return for her airworthy engine, Hawker Hunter Aviation will dismantle her and transport her by road back to St. Stephan for static display. A sad end to 22 years of civilian operation - but a proud record of zero safety incidents and a lot of pleasure given to a lot of people.

Information on this page current as of 12/02/2024, last updated by Damien

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