Thunder & Lightnings

de Havilland Sea Vixen - Survivor XN647

FAW.2 XN647 - Robin Phipps, Steventon, Oxfordshire

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Sea Vixen FAW.2 XN647 at Abingdon, 14th May 2017; Robin Phipps

XN647 first flew in January 1961 and was delivered to the Royal Navy 2 months later. In 1965, the aircraft was transferred to Hawker Siddeley for conversion to a FAW.2, and returned to service with the RN a few months later.

The airframe retired on the 25th of February 1971 into Culdrose where she was acquired for instructional uses as A2610. 7 years later in 1978, XN647 moved to Flambards Theme Park in Cornwall, once known as the Cornwall Aeropark. Here, she was displayed with a handful of other aircraft, but this collection shrunk over time, and as predicted XN647 was moved. The tailbooms were scrapped on-site, with the rest going to Bruntingthorpe in Leicestershire. Unfortunately, with the airframe suffering from a severe amount of corrosion, it was decided that the XN647 would be scrapped and the cockpit to be saved.

The cockpit was then sold to Robin Phipps who moved it to Oxfordshire for restoration in 2004. The remains of XN647 became a source of spares for XJ494 which is still based at Bruntingthorpe today.

Since the cockpit of XN647 left Bruntingthorpe, much effort went into restoring her, and bar a few jobs to finish off (such as fitting new perspex to the original canopy), her restoration is nearly complete! If anyone can help, Robin is currently looking for a port inner armored screen, and an oxy regulator to complete the cockpit.

The photo above shows the cockpit's first outing at Abingdon airshow back in 2017.

Information on this page current as of 17/02/2022, last updated by Jake

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