Newsletter 25
Autumn 2009
Updated on 11Oct2009
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

America - Washington DC
Book Reviews
Demon News
F-35 lightning II News
Harrier 40th Anniversary
Harrier News
Hawk News
Hawkers In The '50s Part 2
Kestrel Evaluation Squadron
Sea Fury News
Summer Barbecue
    The first incident during my stay concerned Bill Bedford who had just joined Hawkers. Bill was flying a Sea Fury when the engine failed. Being the brilliant glider pilot that he was, he quickly selected a field for a wheels-up landing, but unfortunately, just as he was clearing the hedge he was confronted by a family enjoying a picnic. Skilfully avoiding them he ended up in a field of cabbages. The aircraft was brought back to Langley by road and sat in the hangar for weeks. The smell of rotting cabbages will be with me forever.
    The next incident concerned the first Dutch-Built Sea Fury which had been flown into Langley for a Hawker inspection. It was finished in a very high gloss paint scheme. The aircraft having been thoroughly inspected our pilots were keen to carry out a flight test; Frank Bullen got the job. On a high speed run the upper section of the engine cowling parted company with the aircraft. Espying a liquid leaking out Frank put out a 'Mayday' call and quickly landed away at an RAF station. The leak, fortunately, was hydraulic and not fuel.
Hawkers In The '50s, Part 2
Incidents, Filming , Racing, and Engines


    There was nearly a tragic accident after the aircraft had been repaired and it was being ground run. An RAF airman, marshalling a noisy Meteor, nearly walked backwards into the Sea fury propeller. Dangerous things, propellers.
    The most exciting incident that I witnessed concerned Neville Duke. He was flying the P.1052 (VX272), Hawkers' first swept aircraft, out of Farnborough after its restoration from a previous crash landing, when he suffered an undercarriage problem. The port leg wouldn't lower so he decided to land on Langley's grass.
    We heard that he was coming so many people stood outside to watch. After a lovely smooth touchdown Neville held the aircraft on the starboard wheel and the nose wheel until, as the speed dropped off, the port wing lowered itself onto the grass and the P.1052 took a circular route across the airfield. Our ambulance and fire engine were in hot pursuit but there was no problem, Neville climbing out perfectly safe. A group of fitters lifted the port wing and the hydraulic hand pump under the fuselage was used to lower the recalcitrant port leg. The sole damage was a bent flap and grass burns to the wingtip. After a week of repairs the aircraft was flown back to Hawkers' test group at Farnborough.
    I believe that this was the only occasion that a jet aircraft landed and took-off from Langley although the Hunter prototype (WB188) had overflown the site soon after its first flight to show everyone what this new aircraft looked like.