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G-AMSV Returns to Coventry

An old friend returned to Coventry yesterday when G-AMSV, in her striking Indian Air force livery, landed here for extensive maintenance by our engineers. Sierra Victor was part of the Air Altantique fleet here for many years. She'll...

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Baginton Air Pageant

The initial details for the Baginton Air Pageant are up on the website! As we don't have the space for a full-on air show attracting 20,000 or so people, we're aiming for low-key, themed days like this. A couple of thousand people,...

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Newquay Pleasure flights

We promised we'd be back to fly in Cornwall, and here we are. We'll be heading south with a Rapide and Chipmunk to spend a week at Newquay from 25th July, with a further visit planned in August. The flights are bookable in the normal...

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New Dakota Book

Geoff Jones just told me that his new book on the DC-3, released to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Dak's appearance, is now available. The cover sports a lovely shot of G-ANAF, shot by Simon Westwood before her radome goiter was...

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Nimrod Engine Run

We've just confirmed plans by NPT to run all four of the Nimrod's Rolls-Royce Speys on Saturday 9th May. We expect the thunder to start just after lunchtime. Come along and enjoy some audio power - and please dip into your pockets...

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From the Blog Header
Become a member of the Classic Air Force
de Havilland Venom: Furnace in a wooden tube
Status: N/A
Owned by: The Classic Aircraft Trust
Current location: Coventry
Available for pleasure flights: No


The first of Classic Air Force’s Venoms was built in 1954 and constructed in Switzerland by Pilatus, under licence from deHavilland. It bears the construction number 752 and was assembled by F&W at Emmen. It was given the serial J-1542 and entered service with the Swiss Air Force on high level photo-reconnaissance duties, later being transferred to the reserve forces for training purposes within the same role. Like all Swiss Venoms, the aircraft was fitted with a pointed front fuselage, which was often referred to as the ‘Pinocchio’ nose.

It remained on charge with the Swiss Air Force for almost thirty years and was finally retired on 3 May 1984. By this time it had flown a total of 1,735 hours.

It was then acquired at auction by BAe test pilot John Davies and Channel Express founder Philip Meeson in 1984. The aircraft was then ferried to the UK and delivered to Cranfield, Bedfordshire. J-1542 was subsequently registered with the CAA as G-GONE and painted into RAF markings to represent WR470, and FB4. It was re-registered as G-DHVM on 26 November 2003 and retains the FB4 serial and markings.

Based at Bournemouth, under the care of Hunter One and later Jet Heritage Ltd., the Venom was a familiar airshow ‘act’ during the 1980s and early 1990s. Ownership transferred wholly to John Davies in 1991, with the aircraft eventually being ferried to Hawarden, Cheshire in 1995 for storage.

G-GONE returned to Bournemouth in 1998 and was registered to Glen Lacey and later Gwyn Jones. Gwyn took the opportunity to remove the Swiss style ‘Pinocchio’ nose on 2000 and replace it with a standard Venom nosecone. He also repainted the aeroplane with an all yellow colour scheme and added the Welsh flag to the tail.

Operated alongside Gwyn’s SEA Vixen and Vampire the aircraft appeared at a number of events in 2001 but it suffered a wheels-up landing at Biggin Hill Air Fair on 2 June. It was soon repaired and flying again and was sold to Aviation Heritage Ltd. (part of the Air Atlantique Group) in 2003 and was re-registered as G-DHVM. It currently flies in the markings of ’WR740’ of 208 squadron RAF in the 1950’s.

This aircraft was kindly donated to the trust by Mike Collett and Air Atlantique.


The second of Classic Air Force's Venoms was built in 1955. Like G-DHVM, it was constructed in Switzerland by Pilatus under licence from deHavilland as an FB50 with the construction number 824.

It was given the Swiss Air Force serial J-1614, and like its Classic Air Force sister-ship, was used in high level photo-reconnaissance duties. It was later transferred to the reserve forces fir training purposes in the same role.

It was part of a batch of Venoms sold at auction at Dubendorf, Switzerland in 1984 and was acquired by the legendary film and air show company – Aces High.
Mike Woodley’s Aces High was based at Duxford, Cambridgeshire at the time, and registered J-1614 with the UK CAA as G-BLIE. It didn’t stay with the company long though, as it soon headed north, to Glasgow, where it was operated by Charter Air Scotland from 1986.

G-BLIE passed to Richard Everett in 1988 but was subsequently passed to ‘Gone Flying Ltd.’ Ten years later having seen very little restoration work it soon changed hands again and in 1999 it moved to North Weald, Essex where Tim Manna’s ‘Kennet Aviation’ restored it to airworthy condition.

Kennet Aviation aptly re-registered the aeroplane with the CAA as G-VENM in June 1999, and it returned to the skies in the markings representing Venom FB1 WK436 of 11 Squadron as it appeared in 1955.

It was acquired by Classic Flight in August 2008 and was kindly donated to Classic Air Force by Mike Collett and Air Atlantique.