Royal Navy Hawker Sea Fury
A Hawker Sea Fury from the Royal Navy Historic Flight is a late addition to the Air Tattoo's packed eight-hour flying display.
The Sea Fury was the Fleet Air Arm's last piston-engined fighter to serve in front-line Squadrons. The prototype Sea Fury first flew on 21 February 1945 and carried out deck landing trials in HMS Ocean in October of that year. The first production aircraft (Mk.F.10) flew on 15 August 1946 and the first Squadron, No.807, re-equipped with F.10s at the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in late 1947. The first Squadron to fly with the FB.11 variant, No.802, re-formed in May 1948.
Delivered to the Royal Navy at RNAS Culham in March 1948, VR930 then spent from May to December of that year in front-line service with 802 Squadron aboard HMS Vengeance and ashore at RNAS Eglinton. Between December 1948 and August 1953 she was held in reserve at various Aircraft Holding Units at Anthorn, Abbotsinch, Sembawang and Fleetlands, undergoing a Category 4 repair at the Royal Naval Aircraft Yard Donibristle before returning to front-line service again with 801 Squadron. Between August 1953 and July 1954 she flew a further 284 hours with the squadron before going to RNAY Fleetlands for reconditioning.
With the airframe now effectively reset to zero hours she was held in reserve at Anthorn and Lossiemouth before transferring to the Fleet Requirements Unit at Hurn (now Bournemouth Airport) in November 1959. With this unit she flew a further 828 hours, and when put up for disposal in January 1961 she had flown an absolute total of almost 1280 hours during her active service. In 'retirement' she spent several years at RAF Colerne, and periods at RNAS Yeovilton and Boscombe Down, being used as a spares source for the RNHF's original Sea Fury FB.11 TF956. With the loss of the latter aircraft in 1989 the decision was taken to rebuild VR930 and she was duly moved to British Aerospace's Brough works for restoration to flying standard, eventually joining the RNHF in 1998 in pristine condition in 802 NAS Korean War markings.
VR930 now wears her authentic, original 802 NAS code of '110/Q' as worn when she first joined the unit at the shore base of RNAS Eglinton, Northern Ireland, and embarked in HMS Vengeance in 1948. This early scheme was applied to all F.10 and the early FB.11 aircraft.