YEOVILTON AIR DAY 2000 WITH XE689 & WT723
 
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"Between July 14th and July 16th 2000 two former FRADU Hunters; GA.11 XE689 and PR.11 WT723, returned to their former base RNAS Yeovilton to take part in the Station's International Air Day. The jets were then operated by Classic Jets based at Exeter, and I was lucky enough to be given special access to them during the show, where I took a small selection of photos that you see scattered on this page and the next.

My thanks go to Barry Pover, John Sparks, John Rodd, Shirley Cooper, John Wolstenholme, Brian Grant, and last but by no means least Michael Pover for their hospitality during the show. Lastly I must also extend my thanks to Hugh Trevor for allowing me use some of his photographs on this page.


SUNDAY 16th JULY 2000 [page 2 of 2]


SIDE BY SIDE ON THEIR OLD STOMPING GROUND
 
33.
[ Hugh Trevor]
34.
[ Hugh Trevor]
35.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(33, 34 & 35) Its the day after the show and the two Hunters are scheduled to depart Yeovilton provisionally at 2pm and fly direct to their new airshow venue at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall. Late the previous day the PR.11 was moved from its position in the static park next to the GA.11, allowing these photos to be taken on the Sunday. showing XE689/864 nearing the camera and WT723/866 behind.


PARKED UNDER THE AIR DIRECTION SCHOOL
 
36.
[ Hugh Trevor]
37.
[ Hugh Trevor]
38.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(36, 37 & 38) Three more shots of the jets parked on the ramp, underneath the control tower which was demolished in 2007.
This was of course home to the Royal Navy's Air Direction School, and in 1972 it was merged with the Fleet Requirements Unit then based at Hurn, becoming the FRADU.


CLOSE UP ON THE JETS
 
39.
[ Hugh Trevor]
40.
[ Hugh Trevor]
41.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(39, 40 & 41) Here are three close-up shots of the two jets. The shot of the PR,11 shows off to great effect the Photo reconnaissance nose that it has fitted instead of the Harley light. This is the sole surviving PR.11 left anywhere in the world.
XE689 sported similar nose gear for a short time along with a few other examples in the mid-1960's but it later exchanged its cameras for a Harley light.


THE AIRCREW BRIEFING
 
42.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(28) About 12:30pm the two CJAC pilots, Brian Grant and John 'BJ' Aldington arrived jet-side. John is an ex-RAF pilot with tours on Shackletons, Phantoms and the English Electric Lightning, he also had a spell with the Royal Navy flying Sea Vixens. They are pictured above discussing flight plans together with Barry Pover with 'Red 12' Michael Pover looking on.

It was decided that Brian would be the lead aircraft in the PR.11 with John in the GA.11.


THE PILOTS CLIMB INTO THE COCKPITS
 
43.
[ Jim Russell]
44.
[ Hugh Trevor]
45.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(43, 44 & 45) The pilots then proceeded to get ready for flight and signed for the aircraft at 1:45pm before walking to their assigned jets. Both then carried out a inspection around the areas checking all the flying surfaces and drop tanks to make sure everything was secured. After they were satisfied they climbed in the cockpit and started their pre-flight checks.


IGNITION!
 
46.
[ Hugh Trevor]
47.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(46 & 47) After all pre flight checks were finished Brian asked for permission to start which was granted.
The PR.11 was then started and the familiar sight of black smoke filled the air. The GA.11 was started a few minutes later.


THE SOUND OF THE AVON RETURNS TO VLN
 
48.
[ author]
49.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(48 & 49) A sight and sound not seen since FRADU retired the last four Hunters from service, Yeovilton reverberating to the sound of two Rolls Royce Avon 122s. Lovely!


THE JETS ARE ON THE MOVE
 
50.
[ Hugh Trevor]
51.
[ Hugh Trevor]
52.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(50, 51 & 52) Clearance to move off the dispersal is then granted by the tower and the ground-crew begin to marshal the jets onto the taxiway bound for the main runway.


THE JETS REACH THE LEAVING STAGE
 
53.
[ Hugh Trevor]
54.
[ Hugh Trevor]
55.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(53, 54 & 55) The pilots radioed the tower for clearance to taxi across the main runway and to the end of runway 27, which was immediately granted. Brian taxied the PR.11 out first with the GA.11 behind and a couple of minutes later both jets were lined up on the runway. Clearance to depart was granted and Brian accelerated with BJ doing the same five seconds later. They both got airborne and both jets then banked to the left of the field.


FINALLY A TREAT FOR THE TEAM!
 
56.
[ Hugh Trevor]
57.
[ Hugh Trevor]
58.
[ Hugh Trevor]
(56, 57 & 58) After banking to the left the two jets formed up as a pair over the south side of the airfield and banked in line astern. They then came across the airfield and pulled up over the assembled team before continuing on to their destination of RNAS Culdrose, but not before dropping in on Exeter where they performed a flypast over the airport as Concorde was present at the airport that day.

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable 3 days and I must thank again all the team for making it possible, and to Hugh Trevor for letting me put some of his photos up on the WWW.

[Part 1 of Yeovilton Air Day - arrivals and show day]

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Hugh Trevor gave all images shown above to myself. If you wish to use these photos for anything other then personal use you must first get his permission.

Mark Russell, 1998-2015