Thunder & Lightnings

de Havilland Sea Vixen - Survivor XJ490

FAW.2 XJ490 - Queensland Air Museum, Caloundra Aerodrome, Queensland, Australia

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Sea Vixen FAW.2 XJ490 at Caloundra, 9th May 2022; Grahame Bann

Built as an FAW.1 in 1959, XJ490 was one of the airframes used by the Intensive Flight Trials Unit (700Y Flight) prior to the general introduction of the type to FAA service. Later serving with 892, 766, 893 and 892 NAS, a brake fire after landing saw her returned to Hawker-Siddeley for repairs and then conversion to FAW.2 in 1964. She returned to service with 766 NAS and went on to serve with 893 again before being transferred to 899 NAS.

The end of her active life came when she was with 899 NAS in 1971 - HMS Eagle was on a Far East tour and two replacements were required for damaged airframes. XJ490 was one such replacement and shipped out as deck cargo on a civilian transport ship. Unfortunately, her exposed position on the foredeck and inadequate protection had meant serious corrosion damage had been caused enroute. Stripped of useful spares, the airframe was dumped at Tengah. Later donated to Singapore Polytechnic, she ended up on display on Sentosa Island in poor condition. In 1989 the Queensland Air Museum learned that the aircraft was in danger of being scrapped so undertook the mammoth task of dismantling it (along with a Hunter), getting it down narrow roads to the docks, and shipping it to Australia. Reassembled and cosmetically restored, the years out in the open since soon faded her paintwork again but happily, she has once more been repainted and went undercover for many years. However, today is seems as though she has been pushed outside alongside the museum's cockpit section XJ607. Hopefully, they'll both go back undercover at some point in the near future.

Information on this page current as of 09/05/2022, last updated by Jake

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