|THE FRADU HUNTERS|
|HAWKER HUNTER T.8C WT745 - '745'|
|WT745's service history
Hunter WT745 was built as a Mk.4 single seat fighter for the Royal Air Force by Hawker Aircraft Ltd at its Kingston-Upon-Thames factory. It was test flown for the first time on 2nd March 1955 by test pilot Neville Duke and following flight testing was delivered to the RAF at Kemble a month later.
During 1958, the airframe was selected for conversion to T.8 specification to fulfil an order from the Royal Navy, with the required conversion work being undertaken by Armstrong-Whitworth at Coventry. It was delivered to the Fleet Air Arm at Royal Navy Air Station (RNAS) Lossiemouth on 26th May 1959, where it was prepared for military use by the resident Aircraft Handling Unit. Just under 12 months later, WT745 was delivered to RNAS Yeovilton where it was issued to 766NAS (Navy Air Squadron) as '947' with 'VL' shore code lettering applied on the tail fin. Used for training purposes alongside the Squadron's fleet of de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.1 airframes, it remained with them until a transfer to Heron Flight on 20th December 1962, keeping its '947' identity.
On 7th July 1970, WT745 was officially transferred onto the strength of the Air Direction Training Unit (ADTU) at RNAS Yeovilton. Maintained by civilian engineers from Airwork Services Ltd under contract to the Royal Navy, it was initially issued the fleet number '742' but this was quickly revised to '745' and applied to the airframe. It was utilised for training duties for the next two years, and in December 1972, was absorbed into the newly formed Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Training Unit (FRADTU)'s pool of airframes, following its creation and the merger between the ADTU and Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU).
With no prospect of WT745 ever being needed for military service again, it was grounded, issued the RAF maintenance serial 8893M and the airframe sent to RAF St Athan for paint finishing training. However, its life there was brief as its cockpit section was separated and sold into private ownership. The remnants of the airframe were then moved to RAF Coltishall for Battle Damage Repair Training, and it soldiered on there until offered for disposal in the summer of 1990.
[© Adrian M Balch]
WT745's civilian life
WT745 minus its cockpit was sold for scrap and it was moved to a premises at Faygate in August 1990.
As mentioned earlier WT745's cockpit section was sold shortly after the airframe arrived at RAF St Athan.
- February 2015
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