Sea Hurricane BW881
Sea Hurricane XIIa BW881 made it's first post restoration flight from Wattisham on Wednesday 15th March 2006.
The aircraft has been immaculately restored to flying condition by Hawker Restorations Ltd, a world leading authority in work of this type. Located at nearby Milden, the company has a wealth of skills and experience in aviation restoration and are unsurpassed in many fields. Further details of their operations are detailed in their website at http://www.hawker-restorations-ltd.co.uk/
Back to the Sea Hurricane, which is currently registered as G-KAMM, it arrived from Milden by lorry in early March after its comprehensive restoration project. Wattisham is often used for test flights by Hawker Restorations as their own facility at Milden does not have the same space as here. Quickly re-assembled in Hangar 6 it undertook various systems checks before the shakedown test flight was scheduled on this sunny, but gusty day. It was great to hear the distinctive noise from that engine as it taxied out from the main apron and backtracked down the runway before opening the throttle for a graceful take-off.
During the airtest a number of gentle manoeuvres were carried out to check that everything was functioning correctly. Just before the end of the airtest, a few more vigorous turns were attempted, culminating in a fast pass at 1000 feet, then into a right break for landing back on the 05 runway. As the aircraft gently touched down, the gathering outside the crash gates no doubt were impressed with what they had just witnessed.
Further airtests were superbly carried out over the following weeks by Stu Goldspink to ensure that the aircraft performed flawlessly and that all the systems were functioning correctly. As the flights progressed, Stu felt happier to expand the types of manoeuvres, but still bearing in mind the fact that this is a historic, and very valuable, asset.
The aircraft finally departed Wattisham by road during early August 2006 for its new owners in the USA, arriving at Arlington, Washington in September. Re-assembly at Arlington was undertaken by John Norman of JNE Aircraft Restoration Services, the Burlington, Washington based aircraft restoration specialists.
A few other images from the first few flights are shown below:-