Tag Archives: Fleet Air Arm

Sea Vixen Future In Question Following Analysis of Belly Landing Damage

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


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

[Photo] Stunning ultra-low altitude flyby of a Royal Navy F-4K Phantom

When the Royal Navy flew the F-4K Phantom aircraft. At ultra-low altitude.

“I can hear it but I can’t see it yet”: this could have been the last words those two Matelots said before the Fleet Air Arm Phantom thundered few feet above their heads at RNAS (Royal Naval Air Station) Yeovilton, Somerset, southeastern part of the UK.

It’s unclear when the image was shot. For sure it must have been some time between 1968 and 1978, when 48 F-4Ks (which received the British designation FG.1), served with the Royal Navy at Yeovil and aboard HMS Ark Royal aircraft carrier.

The plane was primary fleet air defence aircraft, combined with a secondary strike capability, and replaced the de Havilland Sea Vixen.

The latter flew also at very low altitude as the image below, taken during FAC (Forward Air Controller) training proves.

Sea Vixen

Image credit: Crown Copyright / Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch


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UK’s Response Force Task Group heading to the Mediterranean Sea

Led by HMS Illustrious (aka “Lusty”), elements of the UK’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG), left Portsmouth on Oct. 1, to take part to part to a series of exercises around the UK as well as in the Mediterranean Sea.

After taking part to the Exercise “Cougar 12” in South West UK, that will start with a full on beach assault from Royal Marines which will include air support provided by assets from HMS Illustrious, the naval force will then set sail south and will meet up with the rest of the RTFG in the Mediterranean.

Once in the Mediterranean, the deployment of four warships, an amphibious support ship, a transport ship, three commando units and helicopters from no less than eight Fleet Air Arm, RAF and Army Air Corp squadrons will take part in two large exercises and multiple other activities.

The first of the two large scale exercises in the Med will see the British force team up with the French Carrier FS Charles De Gaulle, which will provide the fast jet element with its Super Etendard and Rafale fighters, a role that will be performed by the Queen Elizabeth class carriers (currently under construction for the Royal Navy) when it enters the active service towards the end of the decade.

The joint multi-national drills will take place in or around Corsica and will help train the Anglo-French force train towards a joint amphibious force.

Afterwards, the Task Group will also visit Malta and Algeria before moving on to the Adriatic which will see the group train with the Albanian military.

As well as the French, the British group will also train alongside U.S, Algerian and Albanian forces.

HMS Illustrious takes HMS Ocean‘s place in the Task Group as Ocean is currently in for a re-fit after its Olympic Security Duties, the UK’s Response Force Task Group first saw combat over Libya during 2011 and is in essence a rapid reaction force that is on a 5 day notice period to go anywhere in the world should the UK government require it.

Although it will operate in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, the British Task Force could easily be diverted to the Gulf region via the Suez Canal within a week of being ordered to do so.

The Mediterranean region has already seen the gathering of several U.S. special operations planes following the attack of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, whereas the drums of war beat in Mali too.

A large naval exercise, believed to be aimed at training warships belonging to 25 nations to react to any Iranian attempt to mine or blockade the Strait of Hormuz in response  to an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, has taken place in the Persian Gulf in the second half of September.

Written with David Cenciotti

Image credit: NATO