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The Royal Aircraft Establishment at Bedford

Research Aircraft

This page gives some details about the purpose-built research aircraft at Bedford RAE and where they are now.  The fate of these research aircraft over the period 1955 – 1994 is somewhat mixed. Many have been scrapped or modified after completion of the trials programmes in which they took part.

You will find a list of those aircraft for which BAHG has information below, with a link to the museum/location where each is located now.

BAC221 (WG774)

Arrival Bedford May 1966
Departure June 1973

BAC 1-11 XX105

Arrival Bedford 1971
Departure Feb 1994

The days before Christmas 2012 saw this renowned aircraft broken up and removed from Boscombe Down in skips – a sad end to a 30 year career at the forefront of avionics research.

Boulton Paul BP111A (VT935)

Arrival Bedford 1955?
Departure date not known

Fairey FD2 (WG777)

Arrival Bedford April 1956
Departure July 1966

Handley Page HP 115 (XP841)

First flight at Bedford 17 Aug 1961
Departure Jan 1974

Harrier XW175

Arrival Bedford 1971
Departure 1976

Having conducted its last research trial in support at Boscombe Down on 18 November 2008, XW175’s final resting place remains to be resolved. BAHG has expressed strong interest in bringing the aircraft back to Bedford, its spiritual home.

Hawker Siddeley (Avro) 748, XW750

Arrival Bedford December 1963
Departure date unknown

Puma XW241

Arrival Bedford May 1973
Departure date unknown

Hunting 126 (XN714) – Jet Flap

First flight at Bedford 26 March 1963
Departure Nov 1967

Lockheed XH51

Arrival Bedford late summer 1970
Departure 1971

The XH51 was returned to NASA Langley Field at the completion of trials. It was last seen in 1995 – sadly in a derelict state – at the US Army Helicopter museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Rolls Royce Flying Bedstead (XJ314)

Arrival Bedford June 1956
Departure not known

Scout XP191

Arrival Bedford February 1975
Departure November 2008

In 1976 Scout XP191 was restored to standard and returned to service with the Army Air Corps. In 2001 it was at Bramley Army base near Basingstoke where it had been used as a test aircraft for airframe repairs. Later it was bought as scrap by Xray-Tango Helicopter Club to support the restoration of another Scout in their possession. This project later failed to be completed and the remains of XP191 (by then just the remains of the main cabin) were last to be found at Prenton in the Wirral.

Short SB5 (WG768)

Arrival Bedford Aug 1955
Departure Dec 1965, for ETPS

Short SC1 (XG900)

Arrival Bedford April 1960
Departure May 1971

Short SC1 (XG905)

Arrival Bedford 1960
Departure May 1973

Tornado ZA326

Arrival Bedford May 1983
Departure December 2005

Vickers V10 XX914

Arrival Bedford April 1973
Retired May 1975


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