Thunder & Lightnings

Gloster Javelin - Survivor XA553

FAW.1 XA553 - Scrapped, Cape Town International Airport, South Africa

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Javelin FAW.1 XA553 at Cape Town International Airport, 28th April 2024; Tony Gridley

XA553 stood as the gate guard at RAF Stanmore Park for many years (and Yatesbury before that) until she was auctioned off when the station was closed. Mike Beachyhead was the winning bidder, and had the aircraft dismantled and transported to his Thunder City operation in South Africa. XA553 was repainted in his house colours - a totally fictional gloss black scheme, complete with silver intake lips and red 'DANGER INTAKE' markings. She was, as you can see, on dramatic display outside the Thunder City complex, which opened to the public in mid-December 2001.

The years outside were not kind to her paintwork, and the collapse of the operation after the Lightning crash left the Javelin effectively abandoned. Still, it was with some surprise that the aircraft was scrapped without any warning in late April 2024. Judging by photos of the resulting scrap, no attempt was made to save any components such as the nose section.

Information on this page current as of 28/04/2024, last updated by Damien

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