|THE FRADU HUNTERS|
|HAWKER HUNTER GA.11 WT711 - '837'|
|WT711's service history
Hawker Hunter WT711 was built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. at its Kingston-upon-Thames factory, as one of eighty five airframes for the Royal Air Force.
The Royal Navy subsequently acquired the aeroplane, and it contracted Hawkers to overhaul and convert it to GA.11 status. It was first flown after conversion on 27th October 1962 and was moved to Shorts Brothers' Belfast establishment the following month.
On 2nd August 1971, WT711 arrived at Hurn (now Bournemouth Airport) to join Airwork's Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU) fleet as aeroplane '837', and it was operated on taskings from Dorset until the FRU's move to RNAS Yeovilton in October 1972.
Following the partial retirement of some of the FRADU Hunter fleet, WT711's flying days were ultimately ended with the assignment of the Royal Navy maintenance code A2731. It was issued to the School of Aircraft Handling (SAH) at RNAS Culdrose on 18th September 1985, arriving there from Shawbury five days later. Shortly after its arrival, WT711 lost its '837' fleet number in favour of '833', a number that ran consecutively with the SAH's other two 'training' Hunters, GA.11 WT804 and GA.11 XE668. It was maintained in serviceable condition, and regularly taxied around the airfield until it was withdrawn from use in January 1994, and sold into private hands.
[© Adrian M Balch]
[© Robin A Walker]
[© Glen Moreman]
WT711's civilian life
Portsmouth-based Harry Pounds reportedly acquired WT711, but the aeroplane was never collected and instead the aeroplane was put up for sale once more via tender. On this occasion it did find a buyer, Air Atlantique based at Coventry Airport, and it was on the move to its new home on 23rd August 1993. For the next thirteen years, WT711 was maintained as a static aircraft with the collection, and later became a part of the Air Atlantique Classic Flight stable before being offered for sale during 2006. Retro Aviation subsequently acquired it, but it remained in store at Coventry.
During early 2008, a sale to Lakes Lightnings, based at Spark Bridge in Cumbria was reported, and WT711 moved to its new home during the spring of 2009.
- March 2014
[© Neil Airey]
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