THE FRADU HUNTERS

THE BLUE HERONS DISPLAY TEAM [page 1 of 2]
Displayed images: 1 to 26 Current estimated download time: 32 seconds

"The Blue Herons were a 4-ship Hawker Hunter display team, formed by the Airwork-contracted pilots of the Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit in 1975.
For the next five years, they performed at numerous shows with their outstanding formation flying, winning plaudits and awards. Below are some images taken during the team's existence, and subsequent resurrections."


WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...
 
1.
[ Mike Hall]
(1) The Blue Herons photographed at their debut display on 6th September 1975, at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day.
The lead aircraft that day was XF977/865 with Derek Morter at the helm. Flying WT804/831 in the no.2 position was Godfrey Cornish-Underwood, with Gerry Gosnell and Pierre Cadoret in the No.3 and No.4 positions.

We all know where the team went from here ... read on!


A TYPICAL BLUE HERONS IMAGE
 
2.
[ Richard Wilson]
(2) The four pilots mentioned above were all employed by Airwork Ltd as FRADU Hunter pilots. On the formation of the Blue Herons, it became the first display team in the world where civilian pilots flew military pilots. The name Blue Herons was dereived from the pilot's different RAF (Morter, Cornish-Underwood and Gosnell) and Fleet Air Arm (Cadoret) backgrounds, which are traditionally light or dark blue and the team's Yeovilton base, HMS Heron.


MORE BLUE HERONS
 
3.
[ Peter R. March]
4.
[ Peter R. March]
5.
[ Peter R. March]
6.
[ Peter R. March]
Four images from the archives of Peter R. March, showing two different formations that were flown by the Blue Herons, swan and box.
(3) - WT806/838 leads the swan, with WV267/836 no.2 and WT809/867 and XE682 as no.3 and no.4 aeroplanes.
(4) - Shows the box, with PR.11 XF977/865 and GA.11's XE682/835, WT806/838 and WW654/833 the aeroplanes involved.
(5) - Again in swan is made up of GA.11's WT804/831, WV267/836, WT806/838 and XE682/835.
(6) - Depicts the team rolling right in the box formation in GA.11's WT806/838, WT804/831, WV267/836 and XE668/832.


BLUE HERONS ROLL OVER CONCORDE!
 
7.
[ via Derek Morter]
(7) The Blue Herons rolling over RNAS Yeovilton ... and Concorde during 1976!
The aircraft used for this sortie were GA.11's WW654/833, XE682/835, WT804/831 and WT806/838. Note if you enlarge it the number of Canberras on the ramp!


BLUE HERONS AT GREENHAM COMMON 1976
 
8.
[ Mike Hall]
9.
[ Mike Hall]
10.
[ Mike Hall]
11.
[ Mike Hall]
12.
[ Mike Hall]
13.
[ Mike Hall]
14.
[ Mike Hall]
15.
[ Mike Hall]
16.
[ Mike Hall]
17.
[ Mike Hall]
(8 to 17) A series of images from the Blue Herons' practice display at the International Air Tattoo, staged at RAF Greenham Common in July 1976.
The sequence begins with parts of their display sequence and ends with images of the Herons' trademark formation landing.


PIX FROM HUGH TREVOR'S ARCHIVE
 
18.
[ Hugh Trevor]
19.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(18) Three images from Hugh Trevor's archives above, beginning with GA.11 WV267/836 taxiing out at Greenham Common in June 1976, in the capable hands of Gerry Gosnell.
(19) The middle image was taken a year later at the same venue, GA.11 XE682/835 awaiting its next flight.


BLUE HERONS AT GREENHAM COMMON 1977
 
20.
[ Mike Hall]
21.
[ Keith Butcher]
(20 & 21) A year later the Herons were back at Greenham Common and aiming to best their 2nd place in the Shell Oil Trophy. Here the aeroplanes are captured on the ground awaiting their display, with WT804/831 being held as the reserve aeroplane.
The team duly went and won the trophy with an outstanding display of formation flying.


BLUE HERONS AT MILDENHALL 1978
 
22.
[ Mike Hall]
23.
[ Mike Hall]
(22 & 23) The Blue Herons are photographed here at Mildenhall Air Fete, staged on 26th and 27th August 1978. The aircraft used by the team that day were GA.11s WW654/833, WT804/831, XE682/835 and WT809/867, with a further GA.11 WV267/836 also present as the 'spare' aircraft.


THE BLUE HERONS AT MILDENHALL 1979
 
24.
[ Mike Hall]
25.
[ Mike Hall]
26. <
[ Mike Hall]
(24 to 26) The Blue Herons made the return to Mildenhall on 26/27 May 1979, with GA11s WW654/833, XE682/835, WV267/836 and WT806/838 making up the display aircraft. WV256/862 was flown to Suffolk as the spare aeroplane.

[Page 2 - Blue Herons images (1979-2000)]

[Return to top of page]