Super Cool air-to-air images of the world’s sole flying examples of Sea Vixen and Seafire

Sea Vixen and Seafire as you have never seen them before!

The images in this post were taken by World famous aviation photographer Rich Cooper over the Cornish coastline, near Falmouth, during the RNAS Culdrose Air Day on Jul. 30.

Vixen Sea Fire


They show two extremely rare privately owned aircraft: the sole flying examples in the world of a Sea Vixen FAW2 (G-CVIX/XP924) flown by Simon Hargreaves out of RNAS Yeovilton and Seafire Mk.XVII (SX336/G-KASX), flown by John Beattie.



Both planes represent important part of Fleet Air Arm (FAA), the branch of the British Royal Navy responsible for the operation of naval aircraft: the Supermarine Seafire was a naval version of the Supermarine Spitfire adapted for operation from aircraft carriers that flew from 1942 to 1950s; the de Havilland DH.110 Sea Vixen was a twin boom, twin-engined two-seat carrier-based fleet defence fighter that served from 1959 into the 1970s.


Seafire turn

The shots were taken from Tony De Bruyn’s Skyvan as part of a photo mission with the Aviation PhotoCrew.

Seafire close

Image credit: RC-Pro Photography

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Some bravery to land a narrow track Seafire on the rolling deck of an aircraft carrier back in the day. If only Winston Churchill was not so obsessed with battleships we could have had more carriers and fine aircraft.

    • Churchill was good at speeches but bad at strategy and technology. Churchill was pig-headed. His stubborn attachment to his own point of
      view, coupled with a can-do attitude that verged on the hubristic, led
      him to ignore, discount and distort vital data. See Gallipoli. See Billy Mitchell and the growing obsolesence of the battleship from 1919 onwards. The Battle of Britain was won by “the few” RAF pilots and the one who created the worlds first GCI system and also skillfully managed man and resources: Sir Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding.

      • Indeed. Even more crazy is that the RAF were tasked with bombing Germany at whatever cost. This deep behind enemy lines strategy did not end the war as evangelised because the RAF could not hit anything at night. 5 miles away was considered “a hit”. As the US report stated after the war that had resource been put to use in costal command, horrific convoy losses could have been avoided and it was a mission they could have succeeded at. He also overrode Dowding’s brilliant air defence strategy and insisted on the “big wing” idea – spending half hour getting the planes together gave the Germans valuable time and easy to see on their radars. Churchill was a man born 100 years too late. He was pretty unpopular in the 1910s, 20s & 30s. Only later have the establishment cherry picked moments and repackaged him as the greatest Briton ever.

        • I’m a Brit and a history graduate, with a passion for WW2 history in particular – and I could not agree with you more. Churchill was a curse on my country. Churchill was a lazy, stupid, self-promoting, blowhard, alcoholic son of lazy, blowhard, stupid, alcoholic aristocrats. Nothing that he said was honest, or accurate. Nothing that he had – whether money or authority – was earned by competence or hard work.

          His cretinous decisions during WWI (as First Lord of the Admiralty) and as PM in WWII dragged out both wars for Britain, wrecking our economy for decades. He was a joke as Home Secretary. With his drunken arrogance, he killed more British fighting men in WW2 than the Luftwaffe.

          His idea to attack Axis Europe via Italy, and fight northwards, was insanity. Italy is mountainous from bottom to top, meaning that the invasion went nowhere in record time. His Galipolli landings idea in WW1 was murderously stupid, and resulted in some of the worst body counts of an already bloody war, with literally nothing to show for the tens of thousands of deaths.

          Churchill was a brutal, stupid, drunken old fool who advocated gassing Empire rebels as if they were sub-human rats. Even worse, as Prime Minister, he poured much-needed funds during WW2 into anthrax bioweapons. He was a cheap trick, who rented his Parliamentary vote out to whichever monied interest rewarded him most handsomely. He proved to be a disastrous Prime Minister in the 1950s, forcing stagnation upon a struggling, impoverished nation.

          Britain was on the winning side in WW2 DESPITE Churchill. That the UK survived at all, with him at the helm, was a near miracle.

  2. It’s great to see rare and historic planes maintained in such wonderful condition. It takes a lot of work and money to keep those old planes flying. They look terrific.

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