The world's oldest Fairey Swordfish, Mk.I W5856, has completed its test flights and is now ‘operational’ once again
Having made a successful first post-restoration flight on August 17, it has now completed a set of trials and received its Permit to Fly. The charismatic biplane will fly on the UK civil register as G-BMGC.
On November 17, the ‘Stringbag’, as it is affectionately called, received its official documentation. The next day, the 1941-built biplane flew to Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose to attend the Wings Parade for new Merlin helicopter aircrew at 824 Naval Air Squadron.
Navy Wings owns two other Swordfish. Mk.II LS326 (G-AJVH) is under restoration. The structure of the plane is being thoroughly checked by means of X-ray, while the fabric covering of fuselage and wings is undergoing non-invasive status checks. LS326 is also awaiting its rebuilt engine.
The third Swordfish is Mk.III NF389, and is in long-term storage. The three aircraft were once owned by the Royal Navy Historic Flight, but are now in the hands of the Navy Wings charity foundation.
Since 2019, another British organisation, the White Waltham Airfield Ltd of Maidenhead, also owns a Swordfish, HS554, a Mk.IV registered as G-RNMZ. Before coming to the UK, HS554 flew in Canada as C-GEVS as part of Vintage Wings of Canada collection based at Gatineau, Quebec. WITH THANKS TO NAVY WINGS