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GANNET ECM.6 / AS.4

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Image: STEPHEN HEGARTY

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History of the Fairey Gannet

Currently under heavy restoration in our second hangar, XA460 has been a long-term project for the UAS volunteers.

The Fairey Gannet was a British carrier-borne, anti-submarine warfare plus airborne early warning aircraft from the post-Second World War era, developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm by the Fairey Aviation Company. It was a mid-wing monoplane with a tricycle undercarriage and had a crew of three, and double turboprop engine driving two contra-rotating propellers.

Image: ADRIAN BALCH

Fairey Gannet T.2 XA522 demonstrating at Farnborough in Oct 1955

The Fairey Gannet was a British carrier-borne aircraft of the post-Second World War era in the late 1950s / early 1960s, developed for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA) by the Fairey Aviation Company.

It was a mid-wing monoplane with a tricycle undercarriage and a crew of three, and a double turboprop engine driving two contra-rotating propellers.

History of our Fairey Gannet XA460

FAIREY GANNET XA460 was delivered to ARDU (Aircraft Receipt and Dispatch Unit) Anthorn on 3rd October, 1956 and was immediately placed in storage, in its plain AS.4 spec.

It transferred between AHU (Aircraft Handling Unit) Abbotsinch and AHU Culdrose before finally joining 849HQ training flight at Culdrose on 4th February, 1969, three years after its creation and delivery. It was coded 446/CU here.

XA460's career has been punctuated by numerous technical issues: 

• January 1961 — port engine failed to restart after being shut down in flight

• November 1961 — smoke was detected in the cockpit

• October 1962 — tractor struck the starboard wing

• November 1962 — venting fuel on take-off

• December 1965 — port engine seized in flight

Despite its spotted service life, XA460 was selected for conversion to an ECM.6, transferring to NARIU (Naval Air Radio Installation Unit) Lee-on-Solent on 27th November, 1962.

Following its conversion, XA460 was deployed to 831 Squadron at Watton, where it was coded a 397. However, technical issues continued and the port engine seized completely in December 1965.

It returned to Lee-on-Solent on 31st May, 1966 to behind its restoration back to AS.4 standard spec, however it remained unused until 5th April 1967 when, due to a Fairey Gannet shortage it was assigned back to 849HQ flight at Brawdy and given the code 768/BY.

Restoration of Fairey Gannet XA460 at the UAS

Image: ADRIAN BALCH

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Fairey Gannet XA460 Restoration Team (2019) at the Ulster Aviation Society —  [L-R]: Lloyd Pollock, Stephen Hegarty, David Jackson [team lead], Anne McIlveen, Alan Moller, Billy McCall and David Mellon.  Many other volunteers who've worked on the project are not pictured. Image: Alan Jarden

Video drama of the Gannet Wing-tip snapping…

Image: MARK J. CAIRNS

Video of the Fairey Gannet's rudder being re-fitted

Fairey Gannet collected from Doncaster in late 2011

Manufacturer: Fairey
Model: Gannet ECM.6 / AS.4
Registration: XA460
UAS Location: Hangar 2
UNDER RESTORATION
Served with: 849HQ Culdrose, 831 Sqn,
Maximum Speed:  310 mph
Engine: 1 × Armstrong Siddeley ASMD.1 Double Mamba coupled turboprop  2,950 shp (2,200 kW) equiv.
Propellors: Contra-rotating, 8-blade Rotol propellor
Service Ceiling: 25,000ft
Endurance: 5-6 hours
Ordnance: Up to 2 Tons of bombs, torpedoes, depth charges and rockets using Ekco ASV Mk.19 radar
Length & Height13.11m x 4.19m
Wing Span: 16.56m
Production: 1953-1978

Ulster Aviation Society is a charitable association. N. Ireland. Charity No. NIC100128

 

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