On May 27th, 2017 deHavilland Sea Vixen FAW.2 XP924, the last remaining airworthy example of the breed, made an emergency, wheels-up landing at RNAS Yeovilton, near Yeovil, Somerset in the UK. The pilot, Cdr Simon Hargreaves, jettisoned the canopy upon touchdown in case he had to make a rapid egress, but thankfully he was able to walk away uninjured once the all weather fighter came to a halt. However, the aircraft, nicknamed Foxy Lady, had received significant damage to her undersides. Her operator, Navy Wings, has obviously been trying to raise the considerable funds necessary for her repairs in the interim, but it has not been an easy process; one made more severe, no doubt, by complications inflicted by the global pandemic.
The organization recently released the following update about her status, along with the rest of their fleet…
Navy Wings has worked hard in the face of this year’s pandemic to adapt, innovate and re-focus our business planning to ensure we’ll be back in the air again next year. We are also looking at many new creative ways to bring the heritage experience of naval aviation to our supporters and wider audiences.
One of the aircraft we have had to consider carefully has been the Sea Vixen. It has now been over three years since her text book wheels up landing at Yeovilton which unavoidably resulted in considerable damage to the aircraft. Despite conducting a fundraising appeal and an extensive search for either an individual or an enterprise to underwrite the repairs, which are estimated at just over £2M, we have been unable to find anyone or raise the required funds. Consequently the Board of Trustees has reluctantly made the decision to stop investing vital funds into preparing her for flight.
Instead we will now focus our efforts on the Sea Fury FB11 and aim to get her flying alongside the Sea Fury T20 making a magnificent Sea Fury Pair.
It is difficult having to make choices between historically important and beautiful aircraft. They all have their place in our story. We will not do anything to render the Sea Vixen unfit to fly in case someone comes forward in the future and she will continue to be a star attraction at Yeovilton Air Day. This classic Fleet Air Arm fighter and icon of the Cold War will always have a special place in the hearts of many and continue to impress and inspire for years to come.
The Navy Wings Collection unites a range of owners and operators of historic Naval aircraft. This outstanding array of aircraft, when considered together, provides a unique insight into the full suite of Naval aviation achievements, from the very earliest days of flying aircraft from the water to the breathtaking technological advances that enable high-speed jets and heavy helicopters to land on the moving decks of ships at sea. The core of the collection comprises the aircraft of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust (FNHT). Through the generous contribution of other heritage naval aircraft owners who, under the Navy Wings umbrella, join the FNHT at air displays and air shows, an impressive story of the very best of naval aircraft development can be told.
If you are interested in supporting the Navy Wings Collection , please visit www.navywings.org.uk