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Flying sideways

I snapped this phone photo of Dakota G-ANAF getting airborne at Coventry earlier this week. This was the day when the roads were littered with branches and wheelie bins, so the old girl needed a bootful of rudder to keep her tracking the...

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Membership' information...

Members. If you are a member and based in Cornwall, you may be wondering what will happen now that Newquay is closing. Well a group of volunteers are attempting to maintain a facility at St Mawgan, Newquay. We are trying to create...

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The English Electric Lightning rescued from the scrapyard with the help of our friends at Gateguards UK and the generous cooperation of BAe Systems has moved into the main hangar at Newquay. As you can see from the photograph, there's...

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Lovely to see so many people at Newquay yesterday when we ran our mini air show to round off a great season. Jon Corley put on a series of magnificent displays and the planes seemed to have a great time - the Meteor and Vampire were certainly...

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Back in the Hot Seat

A powerful moment on Wednesday when Meteor veteran Hal Taylor was reunited...

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The Sea Hawk in need of some TLC

The Sea Hawk design came from the distinguished pen of Sydney Camm, the creator of the Hurricane, stalwart of the Battle of Britain.  Like many of Camm's designs, it was an evolution of previous techniques rather than a clean-sheet approach.  Camm was a realist, and understood the limitations of an industry still rooted in the Second world War and a country economically restricted by the price of that conflict.

Based on the fuselage design of the piston-engined Hawker Fury, the prototype aircraft featured twin jet exhausts for its single Rolls-Royce Nene turbofan engine.  This was an ingenious arrangement; not only did it provide highly efficient thrust, it left the rear fuselage clear, allowing extra fuel tanks to be fitted.  The fuel burn on these early jets gave them extremely limited endurance, a serious limitation for an aircraft intended for naval use. The additional fuel capacity was therefore a significant factor.

The final prototype was used for an innovative, if worrying, method of landing. In an effort to reduce the weight of early jets, it was suggested that the undercarriage could be dispensed with!  The Hawker and a specially adapted Vampire made several catapult and trolley launches from aircraft carriers before landing, wheels-up, on a padded flight deck.  The experiment was deemed successful but, thankfully, uprated engines made the weight saving unnecessary!

The Royal Navy ordered over 100 of the new aircraft, now christened Sea Hawk and armed with four 20mm cannon, taking delivery of their first machine on 14 November 1951.

Hawker's factory was committed to producing the Hunter for the RAF, so manufacture if the Sea Hawk was transferred to Armstrong Whitworth.

A Fighter-Bomber version was developed with a stengthened structure to carry two 500lb bombs and sixteen rockets under the wings.  The design proved itself a solid, reliable and adaptable weapons platform, and it went on to be developed further into ground-attack variants.  It was these in particular that gave outstanding performance during the Suez crisis in 1956.

Rapid developments in aircraft technology quickly made the Sea Hawk old-fashioned and unable to perform competitively against emerging new designs like the Sea Vixen and, in the case of the German Air Force, the Lockheed F104 Starfighter.

Sea Vixens remained in service with the Indian Navy until 1983, when they were replaced by the Harrier.