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.
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.