Shaun Schofield's 2011 blogGAR Entries

NOV 14 2011
blogGAR: Fox Hunting at Yeovilton - Fly Navy Heritage Trust Fundraiser

I caught wind that this would be happening only a few days before it took place, but with a quality list of attendees, it soon became a must see event. One of my favourite aircraft, DS Aviation's Sea Vixen is seldom seen out and about, and I couldn't let this chance slide and so made the short trek down the road to Yeovilton to see the old girl again after nearly two years. Arriving a little later than planned, she went straight into her routine, in glorious sunshine, before landing and making her way over to the Fleet Air Arm Museum, where the benefactors were gathered, only to repeat the whole display again later on. One display is a nice enough treat, but two was very special indeed, and proved there and then she'd be the show stopper she was at displays later in the year.

Ahead of the event, I was informed the RNHF would display a full complement of aircraft alongside the Vixen. However, with the Sea Hawk's engine in bits and the Swordfish grounded due to paperwork issues, I was expecting only the Sea Fury to join the Vixen. How pleasing it was then to see the Kennet Skyraider, resplendent in her new colour scheme, parked up on the apron. Even more pleasing was the news received from one of the station personnel driving past the 27 end that the Swordfish was, in fact, due to fly as well! This was confirmed shortly after as she was seen being towed over to the FAAM to join the Vixen. As the afternoon wore on, the wind picked up and became rather brisk by the time the old Stringbag was due to go up, but sure enough the Navy wasn't going to disappoint its esteemed guests, and up she went, formating with a pair of Lynx for a flypast over the museum, before breaking into a solo routine. After all the problems the RNHF have had with both Swordfishes over the last decade, it's great to see one of them finally up where she belongs and hopefully for a good while yet. Fingers crossed the wait for two Swordfish in the air together won't be too long either.

The Sea Fury had been up earlier in the afternoon to take part in a photo shoot involving one of the guests and their rather shiny Rolls Royce. This involved a series of very low topside passes over the runway threshold, putting me in prime position for a strafing! Having a Sea Fury tanking along at little more than 50 feet with that Centaurus engine singing really is an awesome experience! Later on, during the display proper, the Fury joined up with the Skyraider for a pairs routine, before splitting and performing their own individual solos. Both aircraft reformed again for a run and break to land, bringing an end to the proceedings

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