Thunder & Lightnings

Hawker Hunter - Survivor WV322 (G-BZSE)

T.8C WV322 - Canfield Hunter Ltd. (restoration to fly), North Weald, Essex

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Hunter T.8C WV322 at North Weald, 29th September 2018; Damien Burke

WV322 was built as an F.4 and first flown on 8th June 1955. Delivered to the RAF 20 days later, she was operated by 43 and 92 Squadrons and then in 1959 was returned to Hawkers for conversion to a T.8C. She was delivered to the Royal Navy and operated by 764 NAS and later 809 NAS for Buccaneer pilot training.

With the Buccaneer's retirement from FAA service, WV322 was transferred to the RAF and flown by 237 OCU, again for Buccaneer pilot training. On retirement she ended up as an instructional airframe at RAF Cranwell before being put up for disposal in early 2001. Christopher Perkins purchased her and after a week and half of intensive work at Cranwell by engineers from Kemble-based Delta Jets, WV322 flew on a ferry permit on 14th February, landing at Kemble where she underwent work to return her to full permit to fly status. WV322's first post-restoration flight was on 13th March 2002.

Since then she's bounced around a bit between owners and has ended up at North Weald, not having flown for some time. She was given a full strip to bare metal and restoration into a wonderful "Admiral's Barge" style paint scheme in 2015. Sadly that was the year of the Shoreham Airshow crash, and while Hunters are no longer grounded, their operation after a significant period of downtime has become much more difficult and expensive. WV322 has, unfortunately, remained on the ground.

In June 2022, however, North Weald Heritage Aviation provided an update which revealed that WV322 is indeed intended to return to the air. She has undergone ground runs and work continues on refurbishing her instrumentation and installing a flight-worthy engine.

Information on this page current as of 23/10/2022, last updated by Damien

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