Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter

Survivor WN957

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F.5 WN957 - Michael Rolfe (cockpit), Stockport, Greater Manchester

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Hunter F.5 WN957 at Stockport, October 2008; Michael Rolfe

WN957 was the fourth prototype F.5 off the Armstrong-Whitworth production lines in Coventry and was delivered from Hawkers factory in Dunsfold, to RAE Farnborough on 24th November 1954 - unfortunately she arrived unserviceable so RAE declined to accept her! It wasn't until February 1955 they finally took her on, and she was used by the RAE for Fighter Armament Development and for experiments on the USAF Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS) Computer. Following this, WN957 was struck off charge and returned to the RAF, becoming an instructional airframe; 7407M. Little is known of WN957 over the next ten years but by 1967 she had been reduced to a cockpit section with 60 MU at RAF Leconfield. Transported to RAF Chivenor, she was modified to become an ejection drills trainer and carried out this task until some time in the 1970s when she went to an ATC unit in Essex (possibly North Weald). In the late 1970s she was disposed of and bought by Bill Miles at North Weald who kept her until 1989, then she went into storage at RAF Stafford and some use was made of her in the ejection seat servicing bay. In 1995 she again went to an ATC squadron, this time 2445 Squadron at Llanbedr. Disposed of again in 2002, she went though a couple more private owners before Michael bought her in June 2007. Michael is busy rebuilding the rear cockpit bulkhead (removed when she became an ejection seat procedures trainer), and once done with that plans to replace the missing nose cone. My thanks to Michael for the comprehensive history!

Information on this page current as of 18/10/2008

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