Thunder & Lightnings

de Havilland Sea Vixen - Survivor XS587

FAW(TT).2 XS587 - Gatwick Aviation Museum, Charlwood, Surrey

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Sea Vixen FAW(TT).2 XS587 at Gatwick Aviation Museum, 6th August 2023; Damien Burke

XS587 was built as an FAW.2 and served with 899 NAS. After frontline service she was converted to drone/target tug configuration and designated as FAW(TT).2. As a result, she carries a colourful paint scheme of white and red topsides and yellow and black striped undersides. She also has a fin flash, very rare for a Sea Vixen. She was operated out of Tarrant Rushton airfield for target towing duties.

Once retired, Mike Carlton bought her with the intention of flying her in civilian hands as G-VIXN, but on his death the project came to an end, and she was sold to Peter Vallance to join his impressive collection near Gatwick Airport. She's the only target tug Sea Vixen left, so there's one reason at least to visit the collection! In her time at Gatwick she initially carried out a few engine runs, but these were soon stopped by a suspected broken accessory gearbox.

Over the past few years the museum has sadly thinned out it's collection, however, this was to make room for the new building to house the smaller airframes. In 2016, the museum's hangar was completed and XS587 could finally go undercover. Some sympathetic restoration on her paintwork has been carried out in the years since, retaining as much original paint as possible. It is hoped that at some point she can be restored to running condition - though as this will involve engine removal, it may take some time!

Information on this page current as of 07/08/2023, last updated by Damien

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