Air Enthusiast 1999-03
S.Hazell - Twin-tailed target
Sea Vixen ‘FAW.2(TT)’ XS587, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Llanbedr, 1982.
Sea Vixen D3 second prototype XP924, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Llanbedr, July 1989.
Sea Vixen 'FAW.2(TT)' XJ524, Flight Refuelling Ltd, Hurn, 1983.
Flight Refuelling Ltd’s target-tug XJ524 trailing a banner target from a winch unit carried on the port wing outer pylon. Unlike the other target-tug conversion this aircraft retained the operational black hatch cover to the observer’s cockpit.
The first ‘production’ D.3 XN652, was never completed. It was photographed stored at Hurn in September 1985.
D.3 XP924 (alias G-CVIX) inside the de Havilland Aviation hangar at Swansea. DHA is working towards putting the Vixen back into the air, perhaps by the year 2000.
View of the cockpit area of XP924.
FAW.2(TT) XS587 was saved from the scrap yard when it was bought at auction for display at Charlwood, Surrey, in 1990. It still carried the civil registration G-VIXN which had been reserved in 1985 when there were plans to restore the aircraft to flying condition.
XP924 at RNAS Yeovilton in July 1982 making one of its rare public appearances. At the time it was probably based at RAE Llanbedr but seems to have undertaken test flying from Hurn as well. The upper surface colour, although officially described as deep cream was more a bright yellow.
The observer’s ‘dustbin’ on D.3 XP924.
XP924’s port engine bay details.
FAW.1 XJ488 on September 28, 1965, evaluating a winch unit and towed-target mounted below the port wing and counter-balanced by a drop tank below the starboard. The aircraft was never a dedicated target-tug but spent its whole career on development flying for various agencies, being heavily involved with Sea Vixen in-flight refuelling trials at various times.
XJ524 flying with a Rushton winch and high-speed target fitted below the starboard wing, where it was visible from the observer’s position. The winch and target are counter-balanced by a drop tank and what appears to be an inert Firestreak guided missile below the port wing. Also visible is the tailplane trim tab, which was painted yellow.
A view of the second prototype DH.110 showing the twin tails. This layout did not help the type’s transition to a drone.
Early production FAW.1 XJ482 was used by FRL as the ground rig for the drone control systems. Today it is part of the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton.
Cockpit details of D.3 XP924 at Swansea.
Mortal remains of the D.3 prototype XN657 in a scrapyard at Stock, Essex, in 1998.