Aircraft

Over the years of being at Barrows Lane the RAF has loaned a number of display aircraft to the Squadron.

De Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk T10 – WB758

In the 1960′s the squadron had a chipmunk in its care. The cadets were very proud of their Chipmunk and took great care of it. One group even managed to restore the aircrafts engine to working order. Shortly afterwards in 1967 the aircraft was withdrawn and returned to the RAF. The RAF used it as part of their travelling exhibition, the Chipmunk making its debut at Sommerville Park in Birmingham. When the aircraft was retired the RAF donated it to a museum.

  • d/d 23/11/1950,
  • s.o.c 20/09/1961 as CAT 5C at No.71 MU Bicester,
  • No.2030 ATC Sqn Elmdon & Yardley ATC Sqn, Birmingham for G/I as 7729M 04/09/1967,
  • Sold 20/10/1972 to Torbay Air Museum,
  • Privately owned, Torquay area, Devon

 

Hawker Hunter Mk.4 – XF941

XF941 – A photo of the Hunter taken on 18th June 1968 at Barrows Lane.
XF941 – A photo of the Hunter taken on 18th June 1968 at Barrows Lane.

In 1968 after many requests from the Squadron commanding officer for the Chipmunk to be replaced a Hawker Hunter arrived at Barrows Lane. The sleek 1950′s aircraft was a big hit with everyone on the Squadron, however as it was much bigger and more sophisticated the new aircraft was much more difficult to maintain. In 1971 the aircraft was purchased by Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd and it was renovated and rebuilt into a Mk.58A with an uprated Avon 207 series engine. Under the company’s serial number G-9-374 the Hunter was sold to the Swiss airforce. In 1974 it was sent in kit form to the Swiss Federal aircraft factory at Emmen, near Lucerne. The aircraft in Swiss airforce livery was given the serial number J4.139.

  • d/d 19/04/1956,
  • to No.2030 ATC Sqn, Elmdon, Birmingham for G/I as 8006M,
  • sold to Hawker Siddeley Aviation 1972, to G-9-374,
  • d/d 21/08/1974 to Swiss AF as J-4139,
  • s.o.c. 02/11/1989 at Interlaken and scrapped

 

Gloster Meteor TT.20 – WD646

WD646 – A photo of the Meteor taken on 16th June 1984 at Barrows Lane.

In 1972 the Squadron received a Gloster Meteor as a replacement aircraft. Built in 1950 as a night fighter, this aircraft never saw active service. It was kept in storage by the RAF until Armstrong Whitworth converted it from an NF2 to a target tow (TT). The aircraft served with the Central Signals Establishment, 3/4 Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit (CAACU) and finally 5 CAACU . When the meteor retired from its target towing duties it was sent to RAF Cosford for use as a ground instructional airframe. After a few years at Cosford the aircraft was sent to 2030 Squadron.

When the Meteor arrived it was in a poor condition, the aircrafts day glow panels were faded and its polished skin was showing signs of wear. The Squadron painted the aircraft in its old night fighter camouflage with the markings of 85 Squadron RAF, as shown in the image above. In 1990 the aircraft was returned to its target towing livery.

After 20 twenty years of being out in the open, the old airframe had finally succumbed to its age and was withdrawn, the Squadron did not receive a replacement for the Meteor, and no longer has its own aircraft. The Meteor as of September 2011 is reported to be at Manston Museum with the livery and serial number of WD615.

  • d/d 15/11/1951, to 8189M,
  • Pres. RAF Manston History Museum, Kent

 

Aircraft information and images obtained from www.demobbed.org.uk

WD646 – Image used by kind permission of M Hopwood.
XF941 – Image used by kind permission of D Peace.