Despite the restrictions in these challenging times, the engineers have been very busy working on the Navy Wings fleet of aircraft.
As a result of the transfer of ownership of the Sea Fury FB11 from the Royal Navy to Navy Wings, the engineering team have actioned a scoping study to establish what work needs to be done to bring the engine back to serviceability. This is exciting news for this aircraft, which has not been flown for some time and represents the pinnacle of Hawker’s piston-engine fighter development. Not only are the team looking at the FB11, however, they are also producing a feasibility study of a back to to flight plan for the Sea Hawk, which has been in temperature controlled storage since it last flew.
The de Hallivand Chipmunk, an essential pilot trainer for the Swordfish, has had a replacement engine fitted, been weighed and NDT X-Rayed and, after successful ground runs, we are just waiting for a permit to test fly from the CAA before she once again takes to the skies. The Chipmunk is celebrating 75 years of her first flight in May and she is an important part of the story of Fleet Air Arm aviation training, still in use for training our Navy Wings Heritage Flight pilots to this day.
Swordfish W5856 is currently undergoing a maintenance package by the team, with the aim to test fly in April and the engineering team are also looking at obtaining additional Pegasus engines to support both her and LS326. This year is the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Bismarck and Navy Wings will be commemorating this incredible event by flying the Swordfish as both a focus of remembrance and to inspire future generations.
The Sea Fury T20 is waiting for a brake taxi test at North Weald with the hope to get her back to Yeovilton before Easter. The Wasp is also at North Weald where it has had a leaking drive shaft seal replaced and will also be ready to fly back to the hangar with the Sea Fury T20.
The latest newcomer to the Heritage Hangar, the Stinson Reliant, has been doing a sterling job of training pilots since Christmas; the team recently fixed a fuel gauge and you can see her regularly flying over RNAS Yeovilton.