The Hawker Hunter which was the lead plane for the 111th Squadron’s Black Arrow aerobatic display team’s world-record 22 plane formation loop-de-loop at the Farnborough Air Show in 1958, was recently restored to the gloss black color scheme it wore during that historic achievement.
The plane was based in Wattingsham, England with the 111th Squadron until 1960 when it was transferred to the 1st Squadron in Wittering and undergoing a conversion to FGA.9 configuration in March 1965. At some point the unit was sent on to Cosford where it was used as a ground instructional unit for training until 1988 when it was assigned to RAF North Luffenham for explosive ordnance training, and was painted to resemble a Soviet Sukhoi fighter for training crews who might have to disarm Warsaw Pact aircraft flown to the West with a defecting pilot at the controls.
In November 2009, XG194 was moved to Wattisham for restoration. As of this writing, the plane is receiving the final touches in her restoration. Air Commodore Roger Topp, the former Commanding Officer of the 111th Squadron who led the team during 1958, will officiate at the unveiling of the very same, but now restored aircraft that he flew while leading that 22 plane formation loop-de-loop more than 54 years ago.
Here is a very rare video of the Black Arrows performing at an airshow.