THE FRADU HUNTERS

HAWKER HUNTER GA.11 WV382 -'830'

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WV382's service history

The first GA.11 in the FRADU call-sign sequence is WV382. It was built as a RAF Hunter F.4 in 1955, and first flown in July the same year by Duncan Simpson.
Following the mandatory flight tests, it was officially accepted onto RAF charge on 15th August 1955, for what ultimately turned out to be a short RAF career. Indeed WV382 served with just one RAF Squadron, RAF 67(F) Sqn as aircraft 'C', before it was placed in store.

One of 40 Hunter F.4s transferred to the Fleet Air Arm from the RAF, WV382 was converted to GA.11 status under contract by Hawker Aircraft Ltd at Kingston-upon-Thames, and test flown for the first time as such from Dunsfold on 6th July 1962. Handed over to the Fleet Air Arm at Lossiemouth a month later, it entered service with the based 738NAS (Naval Air Squadron) as aircraft '643' on 24th August. It moved with the Unit to RNAS Brawdy in 1966, and was re-coded '784' as a result and had a 'BY' shore code applied to the tailfin.

In April 1968, WV382 was flown to RAF Kemble, to undergo modernisation by 5MU (Maintenance Unit), and nine months later it was ferried to RNAS Lee-on-Solent, to have a Harley light fitted into the nose. On 27th March 1969, WV382 joined the Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU) at Hurn, becoming aircraft '830'.
It served here for three years, until it was moved to a new base, RNAS Yeovilton, on 25th October 1972. For a short time it was operated alongside the Air Direction Training Unit (ADTU) fleet of Hunters, also based at Yeovilton.

On December 1st 1972, the FRU and ADTU were officially merged, and WV382 became a part of the newly formed FRADTU Unit, (the 'Training' part was later withdrawn). WV382 later underwent a second modernisation programme, this time at RAF Sydenham, between September 1974 and May 1975. Returning to service on 21st May 1975, it was withdrawn from the FRADU inventory seventeen months later in November 1976 when it was flown to RAF Kemble and placed in long-term store with 5MU (Maintenance Unit)
It remained there for the next six years, but due to Kemble's pending closure it was moved to RAF Shawbury for further time in storage. On 5th February 1985, it was moved by road to RNAS Lee-on-Solent, and officially relegated to ground instructional duties, becoming a training aid for the resident Air Engineering School as 'A2730'.
During 1988 it was noted derelict on the airfield and was being used for Battle Damage Repair Training, and just a year later was finally put up for sale with just over 3500 flying hours on the airframe.



[ Adrian M. Balch]

[ Robin A. Walker]

[ unknown]

[ Bob Turner]
 
 
 

WV382's civilian life

Sold into private hands, it was moved briefly to a yard in Smethwick before being purchased by a small band of enthusiasts based at Long Marston airfield in Warwickshire where it was to become a part of the Jet Aviation Preservation Group (JAPC) for the next fifteen years.

During 2008, WV382 was acquired by the East Midlands Aeropark based at the Airport, and the aeroplane was moved by road to its new home in January 2009. Re-assembly was begun immediately, and the aeroplane is receiving gradual restoration when time permits whilst remaining on display.

- January 2015


[ Michael Baldock]

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