THE FRADU HUNTERS

HAWKER HUNTER GA.11 XE682 -'835'

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XE682's service history

Hawker Aircraft (Blackpool) Ltd. built Hunter XE682 as a Mk.4 for the Royal Air Force, and it was delivered to the RAF at 33MU (Maintenance Unit) at RAF Lyneham on 5th July 1955. After preparation for service, the aeroplane was moved into mainland Europe where it was issued to RAF 118(F) Sqn. based at RAF Jever, West Germany.
During 1960 it was returned to the UK and was placed in long-term store pending a future RAF assignment.

With no prospect of further RAF service, XE682 was transferred to the Royal Navy, and the aircraft was converted to GA.11 status by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. under contract. Taking its first flight in its new guise on 7th June 1963, XE682 was initially delivered to Shorts Brothers at Belfast on 1st July for service preparation. Two months later on 23rd September 1964, XE682 was assigned to 738NAS (Navy Air Squadron) at RNAS Brawdy, initially taking on the identity '636' and 'BY' shore code, but the former was later changed to '786'. During 1967, the aeroplane was regularly used by the 738NAS' display team the 'Rough Diamonds', but a year later it was moved into store at 5MU Kemble, remaining there until April 1969.

A move to RNAS Lee-on-Solent occurred on 28th April 1969, where the aeroplane was fitted with a Harley Light in the nose prior to it joining the Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU) at Hurn (now Bournemouth Airport) on 11th September 1969. Originally assigned the call-sign '831', the identity '835' was formally applied to the aeroplane in April 1971, and XE682 was operated as such from Hurn until the FRU's move to Yeovilton took place in October 1972.
On 1st December 1972, the FRU merged with the Air Direction Training Unit (ADTU) becoming the FRADTU (the 'T' was later dropped), and XE682 remained in use continuously for the remainder of the decade as '835', aside from paint refinishes at Kemble (September-October 1973 and July-August 1980), and modernisation work at RNAY Sydenham (May-December 1976).

On 19th August 1982, XE682 suffered a bird-strike at RNAS Yeovilton and as a result had to make a nose-wheel up landing on a foam carpet, suffering considerable damage in the process. Declared Cat.5, where the aircraft is damaged beyond economic repair, XE682's flying career with FRADU was over.

The aeroplane was moved by road to RAF Shawbury and placed in store, remaining there until early 1986 when it was moved by road to RNAS Culdrose. Once it arrived in Cornwall the airframe was heavily spares recovered, after which the remains were dispatched to the Station fire section.

- January 2015



[ Robin A. Walker]

[ Hugh Trevor]

[ Arie van Groen]

[ Eric Tammer]

[ unknown]

[ Ray Down]
 

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