|THE FRADU HUNTERS|
|HAWKER HUNTER GA.11 XF301 - '834'|
|XF301's service history
XF301 was built at Blackpool by Hawker Aircraft (Blackpool) Ltd as a Hunter F.4 for the Royal Air Force, and following the mandatory flight tests with the manufacturers was delivered on 30th December 1955. Prepared by 5MU (Maintenance Unit) for service use, XF301 was then issued to RAF 43(F) Sqn at Leuchars, and was assigned the code letter 'L'. This turned out to be its only posting with the RAF, as in 1960 it was placed in long-term store following the arrival of the more-powerful Hunter F.6 variant.
XF301 was then transferred to Royal Navy charge, and Hawker Aircraft Ltd was contracted to overhaul and convert the aeroplane to full GA.11 specification. It was delivered to the to the Fleet Air Arm in October 1962 from Dunsfold, but instead of entering service went into store.
On 17th September 1965, XF301 joined 738NAS (Navy Air Squadron) at Brawdy (BY) as aeroplane '791' and flew with the Unit for the next three years. This spell, besides being used regularly by the Squadron's Hunter display team the 'Rough Diamonds, included suffering two bird-strikes, and a shy undercarriage leg that failed to appear on landing. A period of maintenance at Kemble (August 1968 to February 1969) followed before the aeroplane returned to 738NAS, this time as aeroplane '785'. XF301 was subsequently moved onto the strength of 764NAS at RNAS Lossiemouth as '679' in November 1970, and it remained in active service until July 1972, when it was flown to RAF Kemble for long term store.
Following ten years in reserve during which its condition naturally deteriorated, XF301 was moved by road to RAF Abingdon on 20th December 1982, where modernisation work was begun to allow it to return to active service with the Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit (FRADU).
With the gradual demise of the FRADU Hunter fleet throughout 1994, XF301 was put for disposal via a Sothebys auction later that year.
[© Peter R. March]
[© Martin Morley]
[© Martin Morley]
XF301's civilian life
XF301 was hammered down for £4000.00 to US-based Doctor Garrett Moscos, and in January 1995 the aeroplane was moved by road to Bournemouth Airport where it was placed in the care of Jet Heritage. Several modifications were requested and made to the aeroplane; the fitment of a F.6A tail cone and addition of a braking parachute, an ejector seat rebuild and the Harley light was removed and replaced with a solid nose cone. It was then crated and shipped to the USA in February 1996, arriving at Chino, California shortly afterwards where it was registered as N301XF was regularly taxied.
Unfortunately Garrett Moscos passed away in December 2006, and the future of the aeroplane is currently uncertain.
- January 2013
[© Andre Wadman]
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