Displays | Hawker Hunter 50th Anniversary, "Enthusiasts Day", Kemble Airfield,21st July 2001

 

Hunter F6A (XF516) at Kemble - Click for Full Image

Hunter T.7 (XL573) at Kemble - Click for Full Image

The Old Flying Company's Hunter T.7, painted as XJ615 the prototype T7

 

The elements might have conspired to limit the sight of Hunters flying to a minimum, but this was a great day. The logistics of travelling to Kemble had meant that getting to the full display on the Sunday was a non-starter. I may have missed the good weather and amazing formation of Hunters that flew that day, but I had no regrets. Not only did I get to see an amazing collection of airworthy Hunters without having to fight through the crowds, but I also had a couple of nice surprises that made the day that little bit more special. 

Overcast conditions greeted my arrival at the former RAF Kemble. However, the line-up of Hunters was a tremendous sight. It is great to see Hunters anywhere, but to see a line-up of airworthy Hunters is that much more special. It was almost like going back to the mid 1950's and being at a typical RAF Base. 

In total, there were initially 12 Hunters in the runway line-up and two on static display. Worsening weather meant that the three Swiss Hunters planning to do a practice display had to delay. This was very frustrating for the hardy spectators as it was clear to see that they were all ready to go when the cloud base lowered and the rain came down. However, a sudden improvement in the conditions meant that a practice display was back on. But the weather had the last laugh as imposing rain clouds loomed in the distance and progressed at a rapid pace towards Kemble. It was no surprise that the Swiss Hunters delayed again, the chance to see them had gone, this time their would not be another chance. 

Just before the weather turned really awful, a trio of Hunters arrived from Exeter, this was an amazing sight. For someone who had not seen Hunters flying, and whose dad flew such great aircraft, this was a very special moment. A couple of flypasts and a landing was just marvellous, this day might have been something of a washout but the sight of those three Hunters arriving was a priceless moment. Even more priceless was one of the arrivals, Peter Hellier's Hunter F.6A (XF316), which carried the rampant dragon markings of 234 Squadron.

Also, on static display were Delta Jets' Buccaneer S.2B (XW986), Buccaneer S.2B (XX894) which is owned by the Buccaneer Preservation and a Meteor F8. However, a welcome surprise was the arrival from Duxford was North American T-28 (No. 119), it looked great!

To sum up, the weather was pretty poor, the array of Hunters superb and, for me, an absolutely priceless day. For a full set of Hunter images from the day go to Hunter Gallery 2 
 

Swiss Hunter T.68 (J4201) at Kemble - Click for Full Image

Hunter PR.11 (WT723) arrives at Kemble from Exeter - Click for Full Image

Delta Jets' flagship Hunter T.7 (WV318) at Kemble - Click for Full Image

   

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