Thunder & Lightnings

McDonnell-Douglas/BAC F-4K/M Phantom II - Survivor XV499

FGR.2 XV499 - South Wales Aviation Museum (stored), St. Athan, Wales

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Phantom FGR.2 XV499 at South Wales Aviation Museum, 22nd February 2023; Jake Wallace

Entering service with 6 Squadron, XV499 moved to 29 Squadron in 1974, then onto 41 Squadron in 1975. After work in 1976 to give her the RWR fit on the tail fin, she re-entered service with 92 Squadron, but moved on to 19 Squadron in 1978, spending only a year with them before being passed to 23 Squadron. Back to 29 Squadron in 1983, she didn't spend long there either, joining 228 OCU in 1984.

She finished active life with 74 Squadron and on retirement was flown to RAF Leeming for use as a weapons loading trainer (WLT) - and occasional air day static participant. She was due to be scrapped in 2001 but hung on long past that, probably because of ongoing efforts by the Yorkshire Air Museum to get her preserved. They had apparently only been asking to get hold of her for 18 years! Sadly for YAM, XV499 moved in February 2013 to Air & Ground at Hixon - a parts supplier to the MoD, who said they'd be restoring her for use as a gate guardian at their premises. And instead of cutting her wings off for transport, they put her up for auction, watched the price get to £18,000 - just £2,000 short of their reserve - and then ended up scrapping her.

The cockpit was at least 'saved' - and her then-new owner Gary Spoors moved it to Bruntingthorpe in the summer of 2015. With Gary's operation there moving on, XV499 did so too, and is now in storage at the South Wales Aviation Museum (SWAM). There are plans for her in the future to be restored and put in the museum with the rest of the collection at SWAM.

Information on this page current as of 24/02/2023, last updated by Jake

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