On 23rd September 2022 a large group of HA members drove to Old Sarum to visit the BDAC mainly to see the first Hawk, XX154, which, as we heard at a meeting on April 13th after the AGM, has been bought by Chris Hodson. He had offered to host us and to carry out some demonstrations on this largely functional, but engineless, airframe.
    On arrival Chris gave us an introductory briefing then took us into the hangar where he had an hydraulic rig connected to the jacked aircraft. This allowed him to retract the undercarriage and exercise the flying controls and flaps. The aircraft looked pristine in its highly polished (by Chris) gloss black finish with ETPS (Empire Test Pilot’s School) livery.
    We then all had a good look round the extensive collection of complete aircraft, nose sections with cockpits, scale models galore and a variety of aviation memorabilia. Aside from XX154 the aircraft included a Sea Harrier FA2, a Jaguar GR1, the Avro 707A, the English Electric P1A, a Tornado, a remarkable BE2 reproduction, and Meteor Mk16 and Jindivik target drones. Among the front fuselages was a Supermarine Swift FMk7, a Harrier GR3, a Sea Vixen and an ETPS Hawk.

Visit To The Boscombe Down Aviation Collection

While we ate our packed lunches Chris showed some now rare 16mm films including two early Hawk publicity films, one with a perfectly articulated narration by our late colleague John Crampton. There were also early Harrier publicity films, a Ski Jump trials report and a comprehensive Red Arrows film. The tireless Chris himself had overhauled and renovated the ‘vintage’ projector. We then retired to the hangar where a group photograph in front of XX154 was taken by Frank Rainsborough
    After a wet start the weather was now fine for the drive home following this excellent day out, thanks to Chris Hodson.