Single-seat FB11 may return to flight as early as next year with Pratt & Whitney engine
The RNAS Yeovilton-based Navy Wings Heritage Flight has announced that Hawker Sea Fury FB11 VR930/G‑CLNJ will have its 1,480hp, 18-cylinder Bristol Centaurus sleeve-valve engine replaced by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 unit during the winter, prior to a return to the display scene.
The decision has been made by Navy Wings in order to continue to fly the aircraft safely after taking the advice of engineers, pilots and other heritage aviation experts. Navy Wings and its predecessor, the Royal Navy Historic Flight have suffered three Centaurus engine failures over the years, leading to the loss of two aircraft in fields near Yeovilton, the latest being Sea Fury T20 VX281/G‑RNHF on 28 April 2021.
The Navy Wings engineering team is already working on returning VR930 to flight, and delivery of the engine is expected in October. A spokesman for the flight says, “This is a complex, bespoke piece of work and will also impact other parts of the aircraft such as the instruments, throttle, etc. Preparations for the installation of the R-2800 are progressing well and there are high hopes that the aircraft will feature in the 2024 display season.”