The Royal Navy Historic Flight, in conjunction with the Fly Navy Heritage Trust operates the Hawker Sea Fury Hawker Sea Fury T20 G-RNHF (VX281) which Warbirds Online covered in 2014 on our tour of the UK air show season. Sadly, this aircraft suffered a damaging crash landing after a catastrophic engine failure. VX281 is now on the mend with the fuselage and empennage fitted and complete and the wing tip repairs nearly complete. The complex task of building up a new Bristol Centaurus engine is well in hand with parts sourced from as far away as the USA and it is possible that the aircraft could fly again in 2016. There is however, another Hawker Sea Fury in the care of the Royal Navy Historic Flight, Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 VR930, a single seater.
This Warbird has been with the Flight since the 1980’s, firstly as a spares source for the Fights original airworthy FB.11 TF956, which was unfortunately lost in an incident in 1989, whereupon the decision was taken to rebuild VR930. British Aerospace’s Brough works restored the aircraft over the next decade and it joined the RNHF in 1998 in 802 NAS Korean War markings. The aircraft went on to participate in many airshows across the UK in the following few years and was a delight to watch in the air. Recently VR930 has been overhauled and her color scheme changed to her authentic, original 802 NAS code of ‘110/Q’ as worn when she first joined the unit at the shore base of RNAS Eglinton, Northern Ireland, and embarked in HMS Vengeance in 1948.
Warbirds Online has been fortunate to see VR930 flying at Duxford on several occasions in the early 2000’s and she always put on a beautiful and powerful display. It was evident how well cared for the Sea Fury was and it always looked immaculate. VR930 doesn’t fly at present and is inhibited to protect the Centaurus from damage. The RNHF have indicated that during 2016 the aircraft will be returned to running status and may again fly at some point in the future. It would certainly be a sight to see the TT.20 and the FB.11 together in the air, we can only hope. The aircraft was on display at RNAS Yeovilton UK in 2014 when Warbirds Online attended the Airshow there and she looked immaculate as always and very different in her new accurate colors.
History of Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 VR930
History obtained from the RNHF – Delivered to the Royal Navy at RNAS Culham in March 1948, VR930 from May to December 1948 on operational service with 802 Squadron aboard HMS Vengeance and at RNAS Eglinton. December 1948 to August 1953 VR930 was held at Aircraft Holding Units Anthorn, Abbotsinch, Sembawang and Fleetlands. She underwent a Category 4 repair at the Royal Naval Aircraft Yard Donibristle, returning to front-line service again with 801 Squadron. Between August 1953 and July 1954 she flew a further 284 hours with the squadron before going to RNAY Fleetlands for reconditioning. She was held in reserve at Anthorn and Lossiemouth before transferring to the Fleet Requirements Unit at Hurn (now Bournemouth Airport) in November 1959. With this unit she flew a further 828 hours, and when put up for disposal in January 1961 she had flown an absolute total of almost 1280 hours during her active service. In ‘retirement’ she spent several years at RAF Colerne, and periods at RNAS Yeovilton and Boscombe Down before joining the RNHF.
The work done on this Warbird is certainly a credit to the restoration team.
© John Parker 2016