Sea Vixen Future In Question Following Analysis of Belly Landing Damage

Jul 28 2017 - 2 Comments
By Tom Demerly

Inspectors Suggest Restoration After Belly Landing Will Be Extensive.

The Royal Navy Heritage website Navy Wings has announced the status of repairs and prospects for restoration of their De Havilland DH.110 Sea Vixen, XP924 G-CVIX “Foxy Lady” following its emergency wheels-up landing at Yeovilton, UK, on May 27.

As reported by The Aviationist with both video and photos by photographer Scott Dabinett, “Foxy Lady” sustained damage during the emergency landing. An analysis of the damage to components and airframe reveal that, unfortunately, “Foxy Lady” is unlikely to be in the air any time soon.

Emergency crews respond to the Sea Vixen belly-landing. (Photo: BBC)

On Jul. 25 Navy Wings editors wrote, “We have now suspended the aircraft from maintenance procedures while we continue to investigate plans for complete restoration.”

That the routine flying maintenance routine has been suspended is bad news as it suggests there is no capability to get the Sea Vixen airworthy during the remainder of the airshow season. However, the statement about investigating plans for complete restoration is hopeful.

Key to the restoration and return to flight operations of the Sea Vixen is some reorganization of roles for key personnel within the Royal Navy Heritage organization. Chief Engineer Brian Johnstone, who was originally intending to retire from his role at Royal Navy Heritage, will remain with the project as a consultant. He will advise the new Chief Engineer, Mr. Kevin Bugg, in his new role as Chief Engineer of the Sea Vixen.

Meanwhile, Sea Vixen demonstration pilot Cdr. Simon Hargreaves OBE, Royal Navy Reserves, has been awarded the “Green Endorsement” commendation for his role in the controlled belly landing in the Sea Vixen on May 27. Hargreaves airmanship certainly minimized damage to the aircraft as it landed without landing gear. Fleet Air Arm, Rear Admiral Keith Blount OBE, cited Hargreaves for exceptional skill in the incident.

Demo pilot Cdr. Simon Hargreaves, OBE, awarded the Green Endorsement award for airmanship in his emergency landing of the Sea Vixen. (Photo: Navy Wings)

Navy Wings is an organization that helps maintain up to fourteen different historic aircraft through their sub-organizations. In addition to the Sea Vixen they include a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XV currently undergoing restoration and slated to fly in 2018 along with two Sea Fury aircraft, one undergoing ground testing and one in restoration.

Top image credit: Navy Wings

 

  • Paul Rain

    I don’t see how this gets back flying.

    But thank f**k there was someone of his experience and skill in the pilot’s seat- it will at least survive in a museum.

  • Don1024

    Something’s are amiss between the first and second picture in this article. Are they from different incidents?
    For instance, the aft canopy is completely gone in the first image as it has been jettisoned for the pilot to eject, yet is intact and on the aircraft in the second image.
    Also, in the first image, the landing gear is completely up, yet in the second, the main carriage are clearly down with no crane accouterments to lift it in sight.