Fairey Gannet XL500

Member for

11 years 7 months

Posts: 60

Just a quick update on the progress of XL500. At the moment all the rear fuselage up to the wings has had the structure inspected and where necessary replaced. This included replacing the whole of the rear cockpit floor and with that done most of the rear cockpit has been re assembled. Apart from a couple of control rods and the trim cable to replace we are then in a position to fit the last big piece on the rear. The rudder.
The starboard inboard part of the wing is fitted and when the port casting arrives in the next two weeks the port side will follow, meanwhile the starboard undercarriage leg is removed and the new one is ready to fit with all the bolts now passed NDT. Before we fit it all the paint in the undercarriage surrounding areas is nearly all removed and a coat of etch primer will be sprayed by the end of this week so that the new leg can go on.

We are still trying to trace tools to remove the props and engine which may bring us to a stop in the future, but meanwhile there is still plenty to carry on with. A visit with Dave Morris at FAA museaum last week was very helpfull with the possibility of a set of tall jacks being loaned to us so that the whole aircraft can be jacked instead of one leg at a time, he also mentioned that he can not recollect seeing the prop tools but will endevour to have a look for us. Thanks Dave.

We also had a visit from Neil Moffatt last week to have a look at progress and it is nearly time for him to start talking to the CAA about getting his license updated to be able to fly G-KAEW . Neil was the owner and pilot of XL502 and he will be the pilot for 500 when she is ready.

The intention is to restore her to 849B squadron colours when she is ready. With Prince Charles a patron of the aircraft excitement on realistically seeing the aircraft flying again is building.

I will say that we are not asking for any money from anyone as we are doing this for the satisfaction and love of seeing her airborne but we are going to have some plain T shirts with a picture and XL500 on printed soon and come and see me at the shows this year with Team Viper if anybody wants one.
John

Original post
Profile picture for user Wyvernfan

Member for

12 years 7 months

Posts: 5,829

Excellent update and progress thanks John. This has to be one of my most eagerly anticipated additions to the airshow scene :).

Just out of curiosity was there much corrosion found on the airframe in general, considering the amount of time she spent outside?
Also what is the position as regards her engines?

Thanks in advance.

Member for

11 years 7 months

Posts: 60

XL500

The rear cockpit suffered with the most corrosion as they always leaked but the rest is repairs due to minor corrosion or damage. We have a full time sheet metal worker on the aircraft and you would have thought that he built this aircraft as it would be very hard for you to see what has been replaced and what was original. The undercarriage has suffered a little bit also but rather than remove corrosion we have enough spares to replace everything needed. We will worry about the removed parts when the aircraft is back airborne.

Member for

11 years 7 months

Posts: 60

XL500

Sorry. forgot to mention, we have a set of zero time engines and have recently been offered another overhauled set which will have to wait for a day or two until the pocket fills up again, but the intention is to get the second set also.

Member for

13 years 8 months

Posts: 9,688

Excuse my ignorance but where is XL500 based?

Member for

11 years 7 months

Posts: 60

XL500

Based at Exeter with Hunter Flying

Member for

13 years 8 months

Posts: 9,688

Thanks. I wish you every success with this project; I’ve never seen a Gannet fly and didn’t imagine I’d ever get the chance...

...you can guarantee my attendance at XL500’s first public flight! :)

Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 9 months

Posts: 10,647

Excellent update and news John, can't wait to see my favourite type flying again!:)
I'm really surprised about those prop tools, given that props must have been removed on other Gannets post service.
I saw a link the other day to someone who privately owns and runs a Mamba/props set, will try and dig out the info to see if he has said tools.

Member for

16 years 2 months

Posts: 333

Well done to all involved : as one who's seen (and heard) the Gannet, I too look forward to that happy day : it's a very complex aircraft, and I wish you all success with it. Here a few shots of sister XL502 (at Biggin) in 1987 (Neil Moffat in the orange overalls). Another Gannet (not sure of serial) and not the greatest photos, but perhaps some number-crunchers could pin it down further, in action at Mildenhall Air Fete a year later. :D I LIKE GANNETS, AS, and AEW!!

PS Found a static shot : also in 1988 at Mildenhall (makes up for the other two!)

Attachments
Profile picture for user Wyvernfan

Member for

12 years 7 months

Posts: 5,829

HFL - John many thanks for the reply.

Bms44 - Brian its the same aircraft XL502. The only difference being that Neil and team had added the later 849 'B' flight markings to the tail and prop spinners.
Incidentally this was the last time i saw a Gannet fly, on what was if i recall an extremely windy day at Mildenhall on the Sunday.

Member for

10 years 11 months

Posts: 25

Great news about XL500. I will also be watching your progress very closely and waiting to see her fly again (even if it does mean travelling down from the North East of Scotland for the event - and to get the T-shirt!)

Member for

16 years 2 months

Posts: 333

Thanks Rob, I wondered if it was, I think all the service Gannets had been put out to graze some ten years previously, but I didn't want to commit myself wrongly! Cheers for that, :o

Profile picture for user richw_82

Member for

10 years 6 months

Posts: 1,665

It wil be awesome to see a Gannet fly again. I really can't wait.

Well done so far, and thanks for the update.

Regards

Rich

Profile picture for user Oxcart

Member for

12 years 6 months

Posts: 2,092

Thanks for the update! very best of luck, and any chance of some pics?- please??

Member for

15 years 6 months

Posts: 839

Superb.

I remember seeing 502 in those past years and now really look forward to seeing 500 now after what has been a far too long a gap.
It will be a welcome different type of aircraft to the circuit.

Thanks for all the teams efforts, you all real stars.

Bomberboy

Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 9 months

Posts: 10,647

I think all the service Gannets had been put out to graze some ten years previously

Not quite Brian, thankfully for us now the Navy stored four Gannets in potentially airworthy status at Culdrose from 1979-83. Of these three would fly again and two are currently being brought back to airworthy status.

AEW.3s XL482, & XL500 joined T.5s XG888 & XT752 to escape the 'putting out to grass' and subsequent scrapping of 849s Gannets at Lossiemouth from early 1979.
They were flown down to Culdrose (in the above order) 9th, 23rd, 11th, & 21st November 1978 for LTS with the AHU (Long Term Storage, Aircraft Handling Unit).
This was the period where the two AEW.3s came tantalisingly close to being re-activated for possible valuable use for Early warning cover during the Falklands.

XL482 was sold to a businessman in the 'States in late '81 as N1350X and made the epic 5,200 mile flight to Sourthern Texas in Feb '82 in the hands of Ken Lamprey & Ken Howarth. It was then used by Hamilton Standard Propellers, Conneticut, from 1983 for contra-prop noise research.

XL500 followed a similar path but firmly rooted at Culdrose, it was flown again in August '83 for use by Dowty Rotol Co for contra-prop noise research use, it was then handed back to the Navy in Feb '85.
Both AEWs gained a long accoustics intstrumentation boom mounted under the port wing for these trials.

XL500 and the two T.5s were moved to Lee-on-Solent in early 1985 for FAAM reserve storage, they were all sold off in a Southeby's Auction in Nov '94.

XL500 then went back to Culdrose as a 'mascot' for 849 sqn (then with Sea King AEWs) and was kept with some systems live. It was then moved in April 2000 for display at Chatham Docks- the rest is history!

XG888 went to the Royal Autralian Navy Museum by the late '90s, and at one time there were whisperings that it may be restored to fly again at one time.

XT752 as we know went to the States and was active on the airshow circuit as N752XT until recently - hopefully it will fly again soon.

BTW Brian your XL502 shots are lovely, especialy the almost head on (though it is reversed, steps wrong side!), that is the AEWs best stance IMO, wings folded, all eight blades showing, the radome looking proud and all looking very colourful!
This Gannet was a real survivor as it was restored to flight after being used for Battle Damage Repair use at Leuchars.
I can never understand how it fell so quickly into disrepair after it was sold for a reported £110,000 (XT752 went to Am Jet for 15,000!) and it looked shocking while at Sandhoft.
Thankfully it is now restored and looking good again at Elvington.

Member for

16 years 2 months

Posts: 333

Thank you James, for your knowledgable input (as usual) : my apologies for the reversal of slide of XL502 : when I corrected it, it looked right. I will stand in the corner at some point today with the dunce cap on! Basic mistake...how could I? (Ladder well spotted !) Cheers, Brian

Attachments
Profile picture for user beachcomber

Member for

9 years 4 months

Posts: 251

Gannet?

Does any one remember the aircraft visible from the road as driving into Cirencester I thought that was a Gannet though can't be sure it's been a long time but what ever happened to that.

Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 9 months

Posts: 10,647

I always remember that, it was a sign that we were getting close to Fairford on those long airshow trips from Cornwall!
I believe it was ECM.6 XA459 which originally came from the Cardiff aircraft museum, whicha fter Cirencester then moved to Lambourn before settling at White Waltham airfield. Good pics of the move on youtube here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH9uKhsDGuY
Really hope that something nice happens to it soon!

Brian, no worries about the pic, just concerned that before the pilot starts mountaineering that he starts at the right side!:)

Profile picture for user pagen01

Member for

12 years 9 months

Posts: 10,647

Some pics of XL500 while with dowty and flying from Culdrose.
the boom and support are pretty obvious, ISTR that the pilot was Ken Lamprey, even though LAM Murkin appears on the side!

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL500a.jpg

With Sea King AEW.2 over Marazion and St Michaels Mount.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL500b.jpg

Showing the boom very nicely, both pics Oct '83 and courtesy of Culdrose Photo section.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL500c.jpg

Being lifted over Culdroses' fence in April 2000, pic taken by Chris Lethbridge

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL500e.jpg

At Culdrose airday pretty sure '84 or '85.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL50097s.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL500cm.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL500cstb.jpg

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a82/pagen/Fairey%20Gannet/XL500cp.jpg

The last four were taken at a horrible '97 Culdrose air day!

Member for

11 years 7 months

Posts: 60

Tools

This is a list of part numbers that we need and any help that we can get would be greatly appreciated.
TL3094, TL3827, TL3829, TL3833, TL3831, TL3861, TL3867, TL3870, TL3866, TL3871, TL3872, TL3874, TL3996.
This normally comes as a boxed set

Thanks