BUCCANEER S.2B XX894 BRUNTINGTHORPE
THE SPIRIT OF ROY BOOT


On Target is extremely proud to announce the adoption of Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B XX894. Privately owned and residing at Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicestershire, the aircraft is currently undergoing restoration to ground running condition - in the type's 50th anniversary year the Rolls Royce Spey engines can now be run, the wings can be folded and following work on her brakes taxi runs can be expected later this year.




The Buccaneer was originally designed to meet a Royal Naval requirement for a High Speed Carrier Bourne Anti-Ship or Strike aircraft; however the Buccaneer was also eventually adopted by the Royal Air Force and served with distinction for over 32 years. Almost universally loved by Aircrew from both Services, this particular aircraft was ordered expressly for the RAF and was delivered in 1974 at a cost of some £7,000,000. By the time of her retirement in March 1991, the aircraft had amassed a total flying time of 4720 hours; equivalent to approximately seven months of continuous flying!


Sky Pirates – Gulf War Operations

In 1991 XX894 departed its Scottish Base at RAF Lossiemouth, and flew an 8 hour 45 minute direct flight to Muharraq in Bahrain, from where it operated alongside eleven other Buccaneers, undertaking vital operations during the first Gulf War, initially in support of the Tornado force as a target designator with the AN/AVQ-23E 'Pave Spike' laser designation pod, but also later undertaking Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) drops against airfields and their Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS). XV894 gained fame during the conflict when she bombed and destroyed an Iraqi Air Force An-12 'Cub' transport, with the footage being widely shown on television news reports across the world.



All of the deployed Buccaneers were painted in sand paint scheme with the 'Sky Pirate' title worn on the nose port side. In recognition of their home in north east Scotland they also carried the names of some of the famous whiskies distilled in the region. The Buccaneers also acquired other less formal, but elaborate nose art and mission marks. XX894 carried 'Aberlour' and completed 15 missions.



Gulf War History of XX894 'Aberlour'

Date
 
Additional In formation:
07/02/1991
Transit from RAF Lossiemouth to Muharraq Air Base, Bahrain
Direct flight - (8 hrs 45 mins)
14/02/1991
Ubaydah Bin Al Jarrah Airfield — HAS* site
*Hardened Aircraft Shelter
15/02/1991
Kut Al Hayy East Airfield
DNCO (Duty Not Carried Out) - no 'Air-to-Air' refuelling
15/02/1991
As Salman East Airfield
 
16/02/1991
Amara New Airfield
DNCO - 'Pave Spike' pod u/s
18/02/1991
Tallil Airfield
Duty Partly Carried Out - weather
19/02/1991
Shaibah Airfield
DNCO - weather
20/02/1991
Qal'at Salih Airfield
DNCO - weather
22/02/1991
Kut Al Hayy East Airfield — Runway and HAS sites
 
23/02/1991
Qalat Sikar Airfield — Runway
 
24/02/1991
Jalibah South East Airfield
 
25/02/1991
Al Taqaddum Airfield
DNCO - weather
26/02/1991
Shayka Mazhar Airfield
DNCO - weather
27/02/1991
Shayka Mazhar Airfield
Destroyed: Iraqi Antanov An-12 'Cub' (serial - KAF322)
27/02/1991
Al Taqaddum Airfield — Ammunition stores
 
17/03/1991
Transit from Muharraq Air Base, Bahrain to RAF Lossiemouth
Direct flight - (8 hrs 45 mins)



Retirement of the 'Banana Bomber' and XX894

In the early nineties the Buccaneer was superseded by the Tornado GR.1B in the over-water anti-ship strike role. To mark the end of RAF operations in March 1994, a number of Buccaneers were painted in 'retro' schemes to commemorate the type's various users over the decades. XX894 had an 809 Naval Air Squadron colour scheme applied, which it still wears today.

XX894’s final sortie in RAF service was made on 29th March, with pilot Flt Lt Steve Reeves and navigator Flt Lt Neil Devine in the cockpit. Following retirement, XX894 was flown to St Athan for disposal. The aircraft was later sold and moved to Kemble for a period of time before going on display at Farnborough in June 2002. In September 2003 she was once again on the move, making the journey to her current home at Bruntingthorpe.

XX894 currently bears the name of Mr Roy Boot. Roy was part of the very small design team that produced this aircraft, under the direction of Barry Laight, Blackburn’s Chief Designer, and is specially remembered for his contribution and innovation that ultimately helped to make the Buccaneer such an outstanding aircraft.

Under the cockpit canopy can be found the names of Lt Cdr William Hew Calder Watson (P) (a former Commanding Officer of 809 NAS). Both he and his Observer, Lt Alan Hulme, were both killed in a Buccaneer flying accident whilst operating from its home base, the former RNAS Lossiemouth (also known as HMS Fulmar) in June 1965.

Almost 38 years after Lt Hulme was due to take up his Naval Appointment with this Squadron, XX894 was purchased by his family and both names were added to the cockpit area to remember their lives and achievements.


XX894 History

Date
Location
04/12/1975
Delivered to Royal Air Force (construction number B3-03-74).
05/12/1975
Issued to 16 Sqn; RAF Laarbruch.
February 1976

Transferred to XV Sqn; RAF Laarbruch - coded 'M'.

February 1980
One of the seven aircraft from the 'Laarbruch Wing' that participated in the 'Red Flag 1980' exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada, USA. XV345 lost its starboard wing and crashed, resulting in full grounding of the Buccaneer fleet for fatigue assessment.
-------
XX894 spent most of the early 1980 grounded at Nellis AFB, until cleared to fly home.
1981
Issued to A&AEE, Boscombe Down.
02/09/1981
Following a period of time at St. Athan’s No.19 MU, issued to 12(B) Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth - coded 894.
April 1983
Operation WESTERN FOX at NAS Key West, Florida Keys, USA.
10 aircraft from 12(B) Sqn - live firing exercise of 'TV' & 'AR' Martel missiles against redundant naval vessels.
July 1983
Transferred to 208 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth - coded 894.
April 1984

Re-coded as HS with 208 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth.

Late 1984
Transferred to 237 OCU, RAF Lossiemouth.
March 1987
Returned to 208 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth - coded 894.
28/10/1988
To BAe Woodford – Avionic Upgrade Programme (AUP) ASR1012.
May 1989
'AUP' completed and re-issued to 208 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth – coded 894.
October 1989
Transferred to 12 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth - coded 894.
February 1990

Barley Grey colour scheme applied to XX894 and received '75th Anniversary scheme of green flash edged in back along fuselage and running up to up tail.

January 1991
Painted desert 'ARTF' (Alkali Removable Temporary Finish) and coded ‘O’ in preparation for Operation GRANBY.
07/02/1991
Direct Transit to Muharraq Air Base, Bahrain with in-flight refuelling.
17/03/1991
Returned to RAF Lossiemouth from the Gulf; later re-joined 12(B) Sqn.
February 1992
Returned to Barley Grey colour scheme – 12(B) Sqn marks not re-applied.
June 1993
Noted in full 12(B) Sqn markings by this date.
October 1993
Transferred to 208 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth.
February 1994

XX894 painted to represent '020/R' of 809 NAS aboard HMS Ark Royal in 1978. For the record, this was one of six retrospective paint schemes worn by Buccaneers for retirement events:
XV352/237 OCU; XV359/12(B) Sqn; XV361/XV Sqn; XW527/16 Sqn; XX901/216 Sqn.31/03/1994 – retirement from operational RAF service.

07/04/1994
Flown to No.19 MU St.Athan for storage and disposal.
1995
To Bruntingthorpe airfield, Leicestershire.
12/11/1996
Moved to No.5 MU Kemble for restoration and preservation.
2002
Owned by the Buccaneer Supporters Club and moved to Farnborough.
September  2003
Private purchase and transferred by road to Bruntingthorpe airfield 28/09/2003 for restoration towards fast taxiing capability.
March 2008
Adopted by the On Target Aviation Group in partnership with Guy Hulme.

 

XX894 serves as a living memorial not only to all those that operated the Buccaneer in British service, but also to the 39 aircrew that lost their lives flying the type:

 

Name
Unit
Aircraft
Date
Mr W Aldred
A&AEE
XK490
12/10/1959
Mr J Joyce
Blackburn
XK490
12/10/1959
Lt Cdr O Brown
A&AEE
XK529
31/08/1961
Mr T Dunn
Blackburn
XK529
31/08/1961
Lt G Jones
A&AEE
XN922
05/07/1962
Lt W Foote USN
700Z Flt
XK535
18/08/1962
Lt M J Day
700Z Flt
XK535
18/08/1962
Mr G Parker
Hawker Siddeley
XN952
19/02/1963
Mr G Copeman
Hawker Siddeley
XN952
19/02/1963
Lt Cdr P Perks
801 NAS
XN948
26/11/1964
Lt Cdr W Watson
736 NAS
XN961
25/06/1965
Lt A Hulme
736 NAS
XN961
25/06/1965
Sub Lt C Councell
736 NAS
XN950
28/03/1966
Flt Lt W Mackison
A&AEE
XK528
30/06/1966
Flt Lt C Pridmore
A&AEE
XK528
30/06/1966
Plt Off P Paines
736 NAS
XN968
08/12/1970
Wg Cdr D Collins
XV Sqn
XW532
25/03/1971
Flt Lt P Kelly
XV Sqn
XW532
25/03/1971
Sqn Ldr T Gilroy
Honington Wing
XW539
04/01/1972
Flt Lt C Willbourne
12 Sqn
XW539
04/01/1972
Capt G Vipond USAF
12 Sqn
XV162
13/06/1972
Flt Lt D Walmsley
12 Sqn
XV162
13/06/1972
Flt Lt D Mann
809 NAS
XV343
12/04/1973
Lt S Kershaw
809 NAS
XV351
11/11/1974
Lt D Owen
237 OCU
XV348
31/10/1977
Mr A Love
British Aerospace
XT285
05/07/1978
Mr J Bigland
British Aerospace
XT285
05/07/1978
Flt Lt A Colvin
16 Sqn
XW526
12/07/1979
Sqn Ldr D Coupland
16 Sqn
XW526
12/07/1979
Sqn Ldr K Tait
XV Sqn
XV345
07/02/1980
Flt Lt C Ruston
XV Sqn
XV345
07/02/1980
Flt Lt S Dakin
16 Sqn
XX891
11/08/1983
Sqn Ldr W Graham
208 Sqn
XZ430
20/05/1984
Flt Lt A White
208 Sqn
XZ430
20/05/1984
Flt Lt W Steele
12 Sqn
XV341
14/06/1985
Flt Lt J Cooke
12 Sqn
XW540
22/04/1987
Fg Off A Fahy
12 Sqn
XW540
22/04/1987
Flt Lt J Henderson
208 Sqn
XN976
09/07/1992
Flt Lt C Lambourne
208 Sqn
XN976
09/07/1992

 

The current owner of XX894 wishes to acknowledge the help and trust of the Walton family who provide this 'Home Base' and facilities making possible the conservation and continued operation of this and other aircraft at Bruntingthorpe.

We are seeking parts and consumables to help make possible the continued running of XX894 in the future; if you can help please contact us by email info@on-target-aviation.com and all correspondence will be forwarded to the engineering staff.


 

Brief Technical Summary - Buccaneer S.2B


Length: 63’5’’
Height: 16’3’’
Wingspan: 44’
Max Speed at sea level: 580 knots
Dry Weight 13.6 tonnes/30,000lbs
Max Loaded Weight 28.1 tonnes/60,000 lbs

Two Rolls Royce Spey Mk.101 twin Spool turbofans; each producing 11,200 lbs thrust.

Internal Fuel: eight tanks, two hundred gallons each approximately; Bomb door tank 424 gallons. Optional wing tanks, 500 gallons and configuration as 'tanker' with internal pallet tank and wing pod, total fuel weight 23,305lbs

Radar: 'Blue Parrot'

Detection Range: in excess of 240 Nautical Miles


Bucaneer Weapon / Pylon Loadouts Diagram


During the summer of 2008 an exciting project involving XX894 and neighbouring Sea Vixen FAW.2 XJ494 was announced - the unique "Royal Naval Pair" will operate together once both jets are fully serviceable in the Spring of 2009. This will result in Bruntingthorpe Airfield being the only location where you will be able to regularly see these classic Naval designs operational at the same time.



 

 

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