Navy Wings stops Sea Vixen work and starts new project

Trustees of Yeovilton-based Navy Wings have decided to cease restoration work on Sea Vixen FAW2 XP924.

Following a hydraulic failure in May 2017 which resulted in a gear up landing at RNAS Yeovilton, the charity had been working towards returning the classic jet to flight.

However, despite its best efforts, the organisation has been unable to raise the considerable funds required to restore it to a serviceable condition.

In a statement on its website, Navy Wings, said: “As the charity is funded by public donations, trustees must always be mindful of achieving the most cost-effective outcomes from the funds that are generously donated by our supporters. With that in mind, the decision has been taken to offer the Sea Vixen to a museum or private collection.”

The Sea Vixen has been grounded since a hydraulic failure caused a gear up landing in May 2017.
The Sea Vixen has been grounded since a hydraulic failure caused a gear up landing in May 2017. Wikimedia Commons/Alan Wilson

If someone were to come forward in the next month with a plan to purchase the aircraft and restore her back to flight, the charity would consider any proposals seriously.

While assessing the feasibility of the Sea Vixen project, Navy Wings has been considering the wider viability of its potential restoration project and, as part of that process, has concluded that the restoration of Sea Hawk FGA.6 VW908 to flight is “both affordable and achievable”.

Navy Wings says it will cost around 10% of the funds that would be required to return the Sea Vixen to flight.

Last displayed in 2010, the 1954-vintage jet has been in dehumidified storage at RAF Shawbury awaiting a decision on her future. It has recently been transferred to Navy Wings’ Heritage Hangar at Yeovilton.

WV908 was built at the Armstrong Whitworth factory at Bagington, Coventry in 1954.
WV908 was built at the Armstrong Whitworth factory at Bagington, Coventry in 1954. Wikimedia Commons/Smudge9000

A full survey has been commissioned to examine the work required in broad terms. Restoration efforts are expected to last around two years.

Concluding, the statement, said: This has been a very difficult decision for the charity. We believe that this course of action is the most responsible and has by far the greatest opportunity to be successful. The Sea Hawk will make an exciting addition to the future air show circuit.”