Last Hunter Languishes At Swansea

The lonely Hunter awaits its destiny. ( image by Geoff Jones)
The lonely Hunter awaits its destiny. ( image by Geoff Jones)
The lonely Hunter awaits its destiny. ( image by Geoff Jones)

Geoff Jones reports.

This Hawker Hunter T.7 XL612, which was the last Hunter operational with the Royal Air Force, making its last service flight on August 10, 2001, is languishing out-doors in the middle of Swansea (Fairwood Common) airport, UK. It was flown for the first time on 12th December 1958, XL612 was delivered to 5 MU in January 1959 and served with 402 WTS and 43(F) Squadron before joining the Empire Test Pilot’s School in the mid 1970s as reported by UK website Thunder and Lightnings.

Hawker Hunter T7 of the Empire Test Pilots' School, at the SBAC Show Farnborough 12 September 1959. ( Image by TSRL C.C 3.0)
Hawker Hunter T7 of the Empire Test Pilots’ School, at the SBAC Show Farnborough 12 September 1959. ( Image by TSRL C.C 3.0)

Originally designed as an air superiority fighter in the 1950’s, the Hunter went on to become the most successful post-war British Military aircraft with almost 2000 being produced.The Hawker Hunter was a transonic single seat fighter / ground attack monoplane, with swept-back wings, variable incidence tail plane, powered flying controls and cabin pressurisation. It was powered by a fifteen stage axial flow Rolls-Royce Avon MK 207 turbine engine developing 10,150 lbs thrust. The fuselage is of monocoque construction and manufactured in three main sections. The swept-back wings are two spar stressed skin structures covered with heavy gauge skin thereby ensuring a perfectly smooth finish and providing for the necessary stiffness of the internal structure.

XL612 arrived in Swansea on January 8, 2012 from Exeter and has not moved since that day. It is ‘privately owned’ but allegedly part of the Hunter Flying Ltd(now Horizon Aircraft Services) that moved from Exeter to MOD St Athan (former RAF St Athan located between Cardiff and Swansea) during 2012.Aircraft Services Ltd currently based in South Wales, Horizon Aircraft Services Ltd formally came into existence in 2013, having previously been known as Hunter Flying Ltd since 2006, as specialist Hunter operators and has been in existence since 1999.XL612 was first flown on December 12, 1958 and delivered to 5MU (c/n 41H-695346) in January the following year. It also served with 402WTS and 43(F) Sqn before joining the Empire Test Pilot’s School at Boscombe Down in the mid 1970’s where it was used for Inverted spinning demonstrations. After its last flight in August 2001 it was stored and then put up for disposal going to Exeter.

Warbirds News has contacted Horizon Aircraft Services and at press time we do not have any specific information about this aircraft. If you have any additional information please contact us.

11 Comments

  1. Hi, as Hunter Flying Ltd ceased trading due to debts I would have thought the aircraft now belongs to the liquidators and would be sold. Although looking at the list of assets submitted it was declared for some reason.

  2. Horizon aircraft services ltd was never hunter flying Ltd. It is a brand new company albeit with the same directors and operating from the same premises with the same clients and undertaking the same work.

  3. The Hunter at Swansea still belongs to John and Nadine at horizon and was never an asset of Hunter flying. It was put at Swansea as part of what was supposed to be a number of aircraft that were going to be on show but this never came to fruition. The plan is to take the aircraft back and store it at St Athan as the promises that were made by Swansea to look after the airframe were never kept.

  4. Still not moved yet. Doubt its worth anything anyway and as the company owed hundreds of thousands wouldn’t make any difference either.

  5. Drove by Swansea airport today and it’s still in the same position as it’s been for the last few years.

    It needs moving undercover ASAP before the elements take hold and corrosion destroys the airframe forever!!

  6. See its finally moved to St Athan. not sure why as it looks completely knackered and the parts will be of no use either as it hasn’t been stored correctly. So only worth its scrap weight really – which won’t even cover the cost of moving it.

  7. I saw sections of this plane being transported down mumbles road in swansea today..took a quick photo and googled the plane number.. was very interested to read this thread and find out what plane it was!

    • Hi
      You should Google the history of Swansea Airport, you will be surprised how much it was used during the Second World War.

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