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Great news at season’s end….. the Sea Hawk fought the pull of gravity on Tuesday 11 September at long last and got through it’s check test flight faultlessly. Pilot, Lt Pat Barnes, climbed out with a huge grin on his face which told us all we needed to know. He went on that day to carry out display practices and a formation sortie with the Kennet Aviation Seafire before qualifying to display to the public in front of Commodore Chris Palmer, the Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton. Followers will know that the aircraft was grounded in July 2006 because of worries over the stability of the starter cartridges. These were inspected, tested and declared OK in July of this year, but during last winter data gathering equipment was fitted to the airframe by a private contractor. Unfortunately the process was more protracted than hoped and consequently dragged on throughout the summer. The last piece in the puzzle was slipped into place in time for the aircraft to make it’s 2007 debut at the Guernsey Battle of Britain airshow on Thurs 13 September. It will also attend Shoreham Air Show 15 and 16 September and is provisionally booked into Duxford’s end of season show on 14 Oct. Lt Cdr Matt Whitfield will hopefully convert to the type shortly, in readiness for the 2008 season.

On a more sombre note, we have been in discussion with various agencies over the damage found to Sea Fury VR930’s Centaurus engine. No decision has yet been made but a quick fix is not possible, and it will need a complete strip and re-build. On a brighter note Sea Fury T.20 VX281 is now on its undercarriage at North Weald and a good portion of the airframe has been paint stripped and finished in primer. It will receive a complete repaint before going into service.

Kennet Aviation’s Seafire helping to celebrate WV908’s return to the air.
[© Lee Howard]

Meanwhile office work has revolved around getting ready for the Christmas card season and as usual we have produced two new cards from original art work by Clive Abbott and Terry Lee. As a spin-off we have commissioned both cards and a limited edition of 200 prints of Terry Lee’s excellent painting of our 3 Swordfish in a snowy setting at Yeovilton. All of these items will shortly be going on the Shop page, so keep a look out!