Thunder & Lightnings

de Havilland Sea Vixen - Survivor XJ571

FAW.2 XJ571 - Hallett Foundation, Solent Sky, Southampton, Hampshire

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Sea Vixen FAW.2 XJ571 at Solent Sky, 15th January 2022; Damien Burke

After the collapse of an earlier attempt to get a Sea Vixen flying, this one was acquired with a view to a restoration to flight. Not a possible flyer at the time because of fatigued wings, a pair of factory-fresh unused wings were found and have since been fitted, though apparently they lack many items such as the flying surface control units. Also several of the electrical circuits have been re-activated by ex-FAA man Graham Windibank so the cockpit and navigation lights all work.

Initially homed at the Brooklands Museum, it was moved to Southampton in 2003 and is now on display at the former Southampton Hall of Aviation (now Solent Sky). As for the plan to fly the aircraft - well in 2006 I was told that it was still a possibility, and just awaited suitable sponsorship. However, she has clearly remained a static exhibit because it's been difficult enough keeping the one existing flyer in the air.

She is beautifully presented on a carrier deck diorama, complete with catapult strop attached, and is certainly a credit to her restorers. An inscription on the nose states 'In memory of John Hallett - Spirit of Heritage'. I'm not sure what relevance the Gnat ejector seat now positioned by the nose has, however!

Information on this page current as of 15/01/2022, last updated by Damien

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