Hawker SEA FURY FB.11 VR930

Sea Fury VR930 was delivered to the Royal Navy at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culham in March 1948 and spent from May to December of that year in front-line service with 802 Naval Air Squadron aboard HMS Vengeance and ashore at RNAS Eglinton. Between December 1948 and August 1953 she was held in reserve at various Aircraft Holding Units at Anthorn, Abbotsinch, Sembawang and Fleetlands, undergoing a Category 4 repair at the Royal Naval Aircraft Yard Donibristle before returning to front-line service again with 801 Naval Air Squadron. Between August 1953 and July 1954 she flew a further 284 hours with the squadron before going to RNAY Fleetlands for reconditioning, which effectively reset the airframe to zero hours.

VR930 was held in reserve at Anthorn and Lossiemouth before being transferred to the Fleet Requirements Unit at Hurn (now Bournemouth Airport) in November 1959, where she flew a further 828 hours.

The aircraft was put up for disposal in January 1961 having flown an absolute total of almost 1280 hours during Service. In ‘retirement’ VR930 spent several years at RAF Colerne, and periods at RNAS Yeovilton and Boscombe Down, being used as a spares source for the Royal Navy Historic Flight’s (RNHF) original Sea Fury FB.11 (TF956). With the loss of the latter aircraft in 1989 the decision was taken to rebuild VR930 and she was duly moved to British Aerospace’s Brough works for restoration to flying standard, eventually returning to flying condition in 1998 in 802 Naval Air Squadron Korean War markings.

VR930 now bears her authentic, original 802 Squadron code of ‘110/Q’ as allocated when she first joined the unit at the shore base of RNAS Eglinton, Northern Ireland, and embarked on HMS Vengeance in 1948. This early scheme was applied to all F.10 and the early FB.11 aircraft.

VR930 was formerly owned and operated by the Royal Navy and following the decision to remove historic naval aircraft from the military register was gifted by Parliament in November 2019 to Navy Wings where she will be operated on the civil register.

HISTORY

The Hawker Fury was designed to a RAF requirement for a ‘light Tempest’, which they had found to be very effective as a ground attack aircraft. A lighter version, it was argued, would make a good fighter. The Fury was built in the same general arrangement as the Hawker Tempest but with a reduced wingspan and with the Tempest II’s Bristol Centaurus engine, first flying in 1946. However, with the end of the Second World War the RAF decided that they would not proceed with this aircraft in favour of waiting to re-equip with jets. At that time the Royal Navy felt that the operation of jet aircraft from ships was still something of an unknown quantity and instead specified a Naval variant of the Fury. Re-designed with a strong point for a catapult strop, an arrester hook, folding wings and high energy absorption undercarriage this entered Royal Naval service in 1947 as the Sea Fury F.10.

Standard armament consisted of 4 x 20mm cannon with the later and more numerous FB.11 variant, which began replacing the F.10 from 1948, having wing hard points to carry a variety of underwing stores in the fighter ground attack role. The Sea Fury proved to be a good replacement for the Supermarine Seafire, being 45 kts faster and having both a better range and more armament. Like many aircraft of the day it could employ Rocket Assisted Take Off Gear (RATOG) to help a heavily laden aircraft achieve flying speed from the restricted length of a flight deck. Though the type did serve with great distinction in Korea, famously being credited with the shooting down of a Soviet MiG-15 during one particular combat encounter, jets were soon to enter Fleet Air Arm service and the Sea Fury saw barely seven years as a front-line aircraft.

Tech Specs

450

Top Speed

680

Range

34,300

Ceiling

Full Specs

CREW – 1

FLIGHT SPECS

Speed – 425 knots (maximum) at 24,500 feet, cruise speed 230 knots (unladen)
Range – 680 miles at 30,000 feet, 1,045 miles with two 45 gallon drop tanks
Ceiling – 34,300 feet

PLANE

Engine – Bristol Centaurus 18, radial supercharged, delivering 2,480 hp
Armament – Four fixed 20mm guns in wings, and provision for eight 60 Ibs rockets