|THE FRADU HUNTERS|
|HAWKER HUNTER T.8C WT772 - '875'|
|WT772's service history
Hunter WT772 was built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd at its Kingston-upon-Thames factory. Intended for the Royal Air Force, the aeroplane was not delivered and was first flown on 30th March 1955, with Fairey Aviation Ltd's Test Pilot M. Anderson at the controls. The aeroplane was then used for several flight trial programmes, including the testing of an extended span tailplane and a RAM air turbine that was fitted onto the rear fuselage. On completion of these tasks the aeroplane was placed in store and subsequently bought back by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for potential resale.
Acquired by the Royal Navy, and converted to T.8 specification by Armstrong Whitworth Ltd at Coventry, WT772 was handed over to the Fleet Air Arm at RNAS Lossiemouth on 10th April 1959.
WT772 was assigned to the Air Direction Training Unit (ADTU) based at RNAS Yeovilton on 19th November 1970 as aeroplane '736', and remained in flying service with the Unit until its merger with the Fleet Requirements Unit (FRU) on 1st December 1972. Now a member of the newly-formed FRADTU (which became known as FRADU) fleet, WT772 exchanged its '736' identity for '745', but this was changed again following a refinish in April 1974 when it was reissued the fleet number '875'. In September 1975 the aeroplane was loaned to Hawker-Siddeley and employed on trials work, and returned to FRADU on 9th February 1976.
On 21st September 1976, WT772 suffered an engine failure on take-off from Yeovilton, and its pilot Peter Millard ejected safely from the aeroplane.
- January 2015
[© Robin A. Walker]
[© Peter R. March]
[© Mick Freer]
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