Navy Wings at Night

The ‘Navy Wings’ charity, which supports the Royal Navy’s aviation heritage work, staged its first night photoshoot, arranged by Threshold Aero, on 26 October. The event marked the first time most of the aircraft associated with Navy Wings had been available to photograph at night, and the opportunity was eagerly taken up by around 80 photographers, amateur and professional.

The wide variety of aircraft present included those of the Royal Navy Heritage Flight and several other machines operated by the Flight or in association with it, arranged outside the Navy Wings hangar under lights. These were the Fairey Swordfish Mk.I W5856, Hawker Sea Fury FB 11 VR930, Sea Fury T 20 VX281 (G-RNHF), North American AT-6D Harvard 285068 (G-KAMY), de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW 2 XP924 (G-CVIX), McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG 1 XV586 and de Havilland Chipmunk T 10 WK608. Also present in the hangar were the Flight’s second Swordfish, Mk.II LS326, and a Hawker Siddeley Sea Harrier FA 2.

Although no engine runs were possible, highlights included seeing the Sea Fury FB 11 folding its wings, while the ongoing activity of the operational air base, with the Merlin helicopter flying behind the posed aircraft, added great variety and atmosphere.

The event was a superbly different way of seeing the Navy Wings fleet and a real complement to their aerial appearances – of which I hope there are many in 2018. Thanks to Navy Wings and Threshold Aero for running such a great event.

Above: Fairey Swordfish Mk.I W5856

Above: Hawker Sea Fury T Mk.20 VX281 (two-seater advanced fighter trainer) – this aircraft returned to the air last month after three years under repair following an engine failure (see Sixty Seconds to Save a Sea Fury)

Above: Sea Fury FB Mk.11 (single-seat fighter/fighter-bomber) VR930, demonstrating hydraulic wing-folding

Above: A look down the display line at the Sea Furies and Swordfish

Above: North American AT-6D Harvard 285068, used by the RNHF for helping pilots transition onto the Sea Fury

Above: DH Sea Vixen XP924 – currently being preserved following its landing accident earlier this year while options are assessed to return it to flight

Above: McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG 1 XV58 in 892 Squadron colours, in the last image showing a Merlin helicopter passing behind

Above: DH Chipmunk T 10 WK608, used for acclimatising pilots to tailwheel aircraft

For more information about Navy Wings UK, including how to donate to keep their aircraft flying, go to

For more information on Threshold Aero, go to

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