Hawker Hunter lands at the museum!

A new arrival has landed at the museum – a Hawker Hunter or at least the front section of the aircraft. This was orginally displayed at the Hovercraft Museum Lee-on Solent for a number of years but as the owner is one the BAM volunteers he decided it would be better to display it at our museum here and it’s a great new addition to our exhibits.

The Hawker Hunter WV381 has a very interesting history but a rather sad demise. It was originally built in 1955 as an Hunter F4 and first flew on 3rd August 1955 serving initially with 222(F) Squadron for a number of years. It was then returned to Hawker for conversion to a GA.11 (weapons training version) for the Royal Navy and then served with 754 Naval Squadron.

In late October 1972 the aircraft visited RNAS Lee-on-Solent for the fitting of a Harley Light (nose mounted landing light). The aircraft then departed on 1st November to return to it’s base, but during the take-off the pilot realised the aircraft was not able to get airborne in time and was going to run off the end of the runway so he abandoned take-off and ejected from the aircraft. Fortunately, he was ok but the aircraft continued its roll, went off the end of the runway, crossed the road and beach and ended up in the sea!

Eventually, the aircraft was recovered from the sea and moved to UKAEA for studies into lightning strikes. The BAM volunteer Dave Webb acquired the aircraft in June 2007 to undertake the restoration and subsequent displaying the nose section of the aircraft at the Hovercraft Museum Lee-on-Solent. In January 2023 when he decided to move it to his home museum at Bournemouth Aviation Museum.

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