|THE FRADU HUNTERS|
|HAWKER HUNTER GA.11 WV267 - '836'|
|WV267's service history
Hawker Hunter WV267 was built at Kingston-upon-Thames as a Hunter F.4 for the Royal Air Force, and it took its first flight on 5th May 1955 in the hands of Duncan Simpson. Delivered to the RAF a few weeks later, WV267 entered service with RAF 93(F) Sqn. based at Jever airfield in West Germany as aeroplane 'R'. It later had spells with RAF 247(F) Sqn based at Odiham and 98(F) Sqn at RAF Jever, before it was withdrawn from service and subsequently placed in store back in the UK.
Transferred to the Royal Navy, and refurbished as a GA.11 by Hawker Aircraft Ltd under contract to the Fleet Air Arm, WV267 flew in its new guise for the first time on 14th March 1963. It was delivered to Short Brothers' Belfast base on 1st April the same year, and remained in Northern Ireland aside from a short spell at RNAS Brawdy, until August 1964. The aeroplane was then sent to join 738NAS (Navy Air Squadron) as aeroplane '788' complete with 'BY' shore code lettering on the tail fin, and it remained in use until September 1967 when it was moved to 5MU (Maintenance Unit) for maintenance. It returned to Brawdy in September 1968, and was operated briefly without squadron markings, but a month later was moved on once more, this time bound for RNAS Lee-on-Solent to be fitted with a Harley light in the nose.
WV267 joined RNAS Yeovilton's Station Flight on 18th February 1969, but once more its stay was brief, as it became the first Hunter to join Airwork's Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU) at Hurn (now Bournemouth Airport) on 28th March. The call-sign '833' was used by the aeroplane throughout the remainder of the year, until WV267 moved to 5MU Kemble for further modernisation on 9th December 1969. It returned to Hurn as aeroplane '836' on 14th May 1971, and moved with the FRU to RNAS Yeovilton in October 1972, where it was operated alongside the Hunters of Airwork's Air Direction Training Unit (ADTU).
Now permanently grounded, WV267 was issued with the Fleet Air Arm maintenance serial A2737 and moved by road to RNAS Culdrose, where it joined the SAH (School of Aircraft Handling). Employed as a live training aid and maintained in taxiable condition, WV267 gained the SAH's 'DD' tail fin markings during 1987 and remained in use until being withdrawn from use in June 1993.
[© Mike Hall]
[© Mike Hall]
[© Stephen Boreham]
WV267's civilian life
Put up for disposal, US-based George Lazik acquired WV267. Plans were put in place for the aircraft to be exported, and on 13th January 1994 the aircraft left by road going to Aces High at North Weald for onward shipment to the USA. It actually remained in the UK until February 1996, and on arrival it was initially used as spares for George's two airworthy ex-FRADU Hunters, GA.11 XE707 and T.8C XF289.
Early in 2011, ownership of WV267 was transferred to Jaime Pinto, founder of Camelot Aviation based at Bonifay, Florida USA.
- January 2014
[© Robert Guilford (1933-2006)]
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