As we noted earlier this month in our update on the Navy Wings Collection, the organization was assessing the future of their Hawker Sea Fury T.20 VX281, which was involved in a serious forced landing following engine failure near their home base at Yeovilton, England on April 28th, 2021. Thankfully, neither aircrew were seriously injured in the accident, with the naval fighter absorbing the brunt of the trauma, however Navy Wings report in their latest newsletter that their insurance underwriters have formally declared the aircraft a write-off.
Due to the extensive nature of damage to both airframe and engine, the charity has determined that the financial demands of restoring VX281 would exceed the price of purchasing a replacement, which is not economically viable for the small organization to consider. Consequently, Navy Wings has made the reluctant decision to sell what remains to assist with “funding the future,” as the newsletter states. VX281 will live on though, as she still retains plenty of structurally sound material for another organization with deeper pockets to work with in her rebuild.
Navy Wings do still have another Sea Fury in their collection though, this being single-seater FB.11 VR930, so the magical sights, sounds and smells of the type will still be well-represented in British skies for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the organization is now looking into the acquisition of a Supermarine Seafire, the navalized variant of the Spitfire, as a possible replacement for VX281. With the sale of the T.20 and other assets, this might be a viable option, and presents exciting opportunities for the air show-attending public in Britain. While Seafires are rare indeed, there are a handful of possible examples available in the UK (and USA!). Time will tell, of course, but it is a tantalizing possibility and one well worth supporting!