Hawker Hunter T7 XL573 (G-BVGH)


XL573 was built by the Hawker Aircraft Company Ltd as a new build Hunter T7 at Blackpool, Lancashire and first flown from the company airfield at Dunsfold, Surrey on the 17th April 1958 by Duncan Simpson.

Delivered to the Royal Air Force on the 17th July 1958, XL573 started her service career with the Day Fighter Leaders School (DFLS) at RAF West Raynham. During her time there, XL573 also served with the Air Fighting Development School (AFDS) and also the Day Fighter Conversion Squadron (DFCS) receiving the L tail code, later being transferred to 229 Operational Conversion Course (OCU) at RAF Chivenor.

During the 1970's XL573 moved between various units in the UK and RAF Germany. RAF Valley in Anglesey saw XL573 being repainted into the Red and White of number No 4 Fighter Training School (FTS) and served with this unit as an advanced trainer.

February 1980 saw another colour change to the allover camoflage wrap scheme as XL573 joined 237 OCU with the Buccaneer at RAF Honington and then to deployed to RAF Laarbruch in Germany still with the same unit as a weapons trainer. When 237 OCU redeployed to RAF Lossimouth in Scotland XL573 was retained by the unit and served there until retirement from service.

1991 saw XL573 flown to RAF Shawbury for storage, where it was offered for sale by tender in September 1993.

Purchased by Barry Pover in 1994 XL573, was dismantled and transported to Exeter Airport, in Devon to join the two Lightning F6's (XP693 and XR773) of the Lightning Flying Club (LFC). Following rebuild and servicing XL573 was given her civilian identity as G-BVGH (Barry's Very Good Hunter) and successfully test flown on the 7th May 1994 in the capable hands of Keith Hartley and Brian Grant. Her first airshow appearance was at Barton aerodrome in July 1994.

The following years saw XL573 attending more airshows and in 1995 was joined by Hunter GA11 XE685 displaying as the Hunter Duo. 1995 also saw the LFC evolve into the Classic Jet Aircraft Company (CJAC) with several more Hunters arriving at Exeter. During 1996 XL573 and XE685 were joined by XE665 and WT722 and throughout 1996 a four ship was flown at the Biggin Hill, Waddington and St Mawgan airshows.

2000 saw a change of ownership. XL573 was aquired by David Hayes of DAT Enterprises and the aircraft was flown to North Weald, but returned to Exeter in 2001 and came back under CJAC's maintenance control. Also during this time CJAC had another name change to Hunter Flying Club Ltd as Barry Pover had relinquished control to John Sparks due to his moving to Cape Town, South Africa to assist Thunder City's Fast Jet operation.

2003 and another change of ownership. XL573 was purchased by George Begg for Global Aviation Services. George was no stranger to the Hunter having been a serving officer in the RAF and after conversion spent many an hour playing with XL573 over the Devon countryside. It was during this time it was discovered XL573 had flown with 12 Squadron and had their distinctive Fox head logo carried on the nose of the aircraft. Permission was sought to carry these markings and over a weekend the Fox head was added by Mark Goodman, and she wears these colours to this day

2010 saw another short ownership by David Davidson, however during 2011 Mark Stott acquired XL573 and a maintainance schedule was raised to enable XL573 to return to flight. After an intensive major plus a respray XL573 was successfully flown during the latter part of the year by John Hurrell. Her first flight since 2009.

XL573 is available for Airshow work and also flight training

Hawker Hunter T7 Data:
Engines: One Rolls Royce Avon 122
Thrust: 7,425 lbs static thrust
Wingspan: 33 ft 8in (10.25)
Height: 13 ft 2 in (4.0m)
Length: 45 ft 10.5 in (13.98 m)
Empty Weight: 12,510 lbs
Max Speed 0.94 at 36,000 ft
Ceiling: 47,000 ft
Range: 590 nm
Internal armament: Single 30mm ADEN cannon
Starter System: Triple Breech cartridge.