Farnborough Air Sciences Trust
Safeguarding Our Unique Aviation Heritage
This aircraft was the initial RAF Jaguar B (two-seat Trainer) and the final prototype (B08). First flown on August 30th 1970, this eighth prototype had 80% of the airframe to production standard. Used initially by BAC at Warton as a trials aircraft, it carried out low light TV (LLTV) work and some helmet-mounted display research. It spent some time at AAEE Boscombe Down in various trials, including rough-field take-off and landing, and was part of further LLTV trials undertaken with RAE Hunter T7 WV383 - also in this FAST collection. XW566 arrived at Farnborough on 3rd February 1982 with a LLTV pod mounted on the fuselage centre-pylon. After returning from Kemble, newly resplendent in it's 'raspberry ripple' paint scheme, it was used to trial and evaluate the Smiths enhanced diffractive optics Head-up Display (HUD), more LLTV research and vibration measurements for ISVR at Southampton University. After its last flight on 17 June 1985, it was used at Farnborough for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) testing, including research into external radio-frequency field penetration and lightning strikes until 2004. It arrived at FAST on the 9th June 2004.
Hawker Hunter T7 WV383
This Hunter WV383 came off the Kingston production line in 1955 as a single seat F4 and was damaged in service in a wheels-up landing. Following repair, it was returned to Hawkers and converted to the two-seat T7. Returned to the RAF it served with 79 and 4 Squadrons in Germany and later with FEAF with 28 & 20 Squadrons, before returning to the UK for storage. On 21 July 1971 it was delivered to RAE Farnborough; and in 1973 sent to Cranfield to be fitted with twin HUDs and a TV camera. The first TV sortie from Farnborough was in November 1974. The fitting of early generation LLTV was followed by a nose mounted FLIR and the Hunter now called 'HECATE - Lady of the Night'.
The experimental PENETRATE pod programme continued into the 1990s and this covert systems demonstrator enhanced the aircrafts capability for high-speed, low-level penetration at night in adverse weather conditions, with a terrain database - which allows visual cueing to the pilot of ground terrain and fixed obstacles displayed through the HUD FLIR picture. The PENETRATE pod is currently fitted on the starboard wing and an earlier pod on the port wing. By December it had accrued a total flying time of 3,670.30 hours and was retired and donated to FAST by QinetiQ, arriving at FAST Museum in June 2002.
Folland Gnat XP516
The Gnat was generally used as a training aircraft by the RAF CFS and No4 FTS at RAF Valley for some 16 years. This airframe returned to instructional duties at RAF Cosford in 1978 before being allocated to Farnborough, where it was used for studies in airframe vibration before retiring to FAST Museum.
The Jindivik is a target drone produced by the Australian Government Aircraft Factory (GAF). The name derives from the Aboriginal word meaning 'the hunted one'. The prototype drone flew on 28th August 1952 and many were in use by the RAE at the Llanbedr establishment and fired over the Aberporth test range. This drone stands on its original launch trolley and completed 12 sorties before retirement to FAST.
Puma Helicopter XW241
This helicopter was the eighth of a development batch hand-built by Aerospatiale at Marignane, France; first flying there on 20 July 1968. It was delivered to Westlands at Yeovil on 10 October 1968 as a pattern airframe for the RAF Puma HC1.
Puma XW241 was acquired by Aero Flight, RAE Bedford in May 1973 where it was extensively instrumented for a wide range of helicopter research activities. It was also equipped with an internal winch for use in model dropping trials.
While at Bedford, the aircraft was employed in a successive number of classic experiments, using specially modified main rotor blades to gain an understanding of rotor performance aerodynamics - the first time this had been done in flight. These measurements made an invaluable contribution to the development of theoretical models of rotor systems - an essential input to the design of advanced rotors - and have facilitated the design of the advanced rotor blades incorporated in the record breaking Lynx helicopter and the rotors of recent military aircraft such as the Merlin. The work was a significant input to the British Experimental Rotor Programme for which a Queen's Award for Industry was later made to DRA and Westlands.
Similar programmes were later carried out on this aircraft into the associated aerodynamics of tail rotors and an investigation into blade kinetic heating, an issue related to the modelling of blade ice formation.
Research interest also existed into advanced methods of assessing rotary wing handling qualities and the development of sophisticated simulation models for helicopters. This was carried out on XW241 using carefully designed control inputs and the selection of specific flight conditions. The analysis of the response of the aircraft also included the aerodynamic data available from the rotor system and allowed a richer understanding of the nature of the flight mechanics involved. In turn this work has contributed strongly to modern design tools for helicopters and their handling qualities.
At the end of its long and valuable serviceable life, Puma XW241 was used as an EMC test-bed by DRA/DERA and QinetiQ before donation to the FAST Museum.
Aircraft with Connections to RAE Farnborough
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Harrier T.4 XW934
This aircraft was the first generation of the Harrier series, the first operational close support and reconnaissance fighter aircraft with a Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing capability (VSTOL). The Museum Harrier XW934 (C/N 212017) was first flown on the 16th October 1973 and delivered to RAF Valley on Oct 26th. At the end of its service life it was flown to RAE Farnborough in 1990 and was used as an Electromagnetic Compatibility test vehicle with Flight Systems Department. Donated by QinetiQ to FAST it arrived on 29th August 2009 and is complete with all systems.
Canberra B (I) 6 WT309
Built by English Electric at Preston, this Canberra carried out its first flight in April 1955 and arrived at Farnborough on 11th July 1957 and was taken officially onto RAE's books on 28th February 1958. Allocated to Armaments Flight (which became Weapons Flight in 1963) it was operated from Farnborough and West Freugh on various weapons trials - including bombing and fuzing trials - and carried on trials-flying up to the mid-1980s when it was retired from the RAE fleet and put into storage. Then allocated to AAEE Boscombe Down for apprentice training it was broken up at Boscombe Down in 1998.
These are other aircraft on loan from various organisations. Most have connections with Farnborough and the RAE but they are not part of the FAST collection. FAST volunteers contribute time and energy to their maintenance and to the upkeep of their display areas.
English Electric Lightning T5 XS420
Lightning T5 XS420 is essentially the F3 fighter variant of the aircraft with a side by side cockpit fitted to allow for the training of pilots. The aircraft's combat capabilities were the same as the fighter version with a similar performance. Constructed at Warton, XS420 undertook her first flight on 23 January 1965, in the hands of D M Knight. Following service acceptance, the aircraft was allocated to 226 OCU RAF Coltishall. In 1976 the aircraft moved to RAF Binbrook and served with the Lightning Training Flight. The Lightning flew a total of 2296 hours in her career before eventually being stored at the airfield and disposed of in 1987. Following sale the T5 moved to Farnborough in July 1988, before a further move to Fenland Aviation Museum in 1994. XS420's life in preservation took another turn in 2003 when the aircraft was chosen by the RAF to appear in that year's static display at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT); the theme being the celebration of 100 years of flight. The RAF restored the aircraft at RAF Cranwell from where she went on to be displayed at RIAT. Following the airshow, the aircraft took up residence at FAST and was acquired in 2006 by Neil & Heather Airey of Lakes Lightnings. In June 2012 the aircraft was purchased from Neil & Heather and is now owned by FASTA Member Richard Hall.
More detailed information can be found on xs420's website>>
Aerospatiale SA.341C Gazelle HT.2 XW863
The Gazelle is a small helicopter that was designed to undertake roles in the light transport, observation and attack roles. The Gazelle has been a mainstay of the Army Air Corps and has seen active service in the Falklands War and in Northern Ireland during the time of the Troubles.
For many years Gazelles have regularly been seen in the Hampshire skies, so it is very apt that one is on display at FAST. Gazelles have flown from the local airfield at Middle Wallop for many years and continue to do so, but their numbers are now relatively small. Many Gazelles have now found their way on to the civilian register and their familiar unique sound can still often be heard in Hampshire.
However, it was not only the British Army who used the Gazelle as FAST's exhibit was flown by the Fleet Air Arm; and other airframes were utilised by the Royal Marines.
On 11 June 2013 arrived on loan at Farnborough Air Sciences Trust. The helicopter was originally with No 705 Squadron (coded CU-42) RNAS Culdrose. During its Naval career the Gazelle was part of The Sharks Helicopter Display Team.
Following the aircraft's withdrawal from service it went into store at Wroughton before moving to Middle Wallop as an instructional airframe. Later the helicopter moved to the School of Electronic and Aeronautical Engineering at Aborfield, again as an instructional airframe serial no TAD022.
From Aborfield the Gazelle appears to have moved to Cranfield before a further relocation and storage at Fair Oaks. A loan agreement was reached with FAST, with XW863 being transported by road to Farnborough where reassembly took place to enable the aircraft join the other aircraft in FAST's collection.
Westland Lynx AH.7 ZD280
Once a familiar sight and sound in Hampshire's skies, the Army Air Corp's Westland Lynx AH.7s were finally retired from service on 31st July 2015. On the day, No 671 Squadron AAC flew six Lynx in a farewell flypast at their home airfield of Middle Wallop, with one of the helicopters taking part bearing the serial number ZD280.
In an agreement reached with the Museum Of Army Flying, ZD280 has been loaned to Farnborough Air Sciences Trust. The Lynx was transported by road to the Trust's site at Farnborough on 5 December 2017. The helicopter is a very welcome addition to the FAST collection of airframes, equally it is also very apt that a haven of preservation has been found for the helicopter, in the County with which the Lynx has been so closely associated.