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English: Former Red Arrows Gnat XR537 undergoing runway tests at Bournemouth Airport (EGHH); an important element of the restoration project. XR537 was first commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1963, starting service with No.4 FTS at Valley in July of that year. In 1975, XR537 was transferred to the Central Flying School and repainted in Red Arrows livery for transfer to the famous squadron in August. XR537 served as one of the spare aircraft until, in 1976, the Team Leader's plane went unservicable. XR537 was then used as the lead aircraft during the 1976 display season. In 1979, the Royal Air Force replaced the Gnat with the British Aerospace Hawk T1.A. All the Gnats were either sold or relocated for engineering training purposes. On withdrawal from flying duties in September 1979, XR537 was delivered to the Royal Aircraft Establishment on 20th September 1979, before becoming 8642M as a ground instructional airframe with No.1 SoTT at Cosford. It was maintained in a ground running condition, still in its Red Arrows colours, until surplus to requirements at the end of 1989. Sold at a Sotheby's Auction in March 1990, XR537/8642M was moved by road to Bournemouth Aviation Museum on 5th April, being placed on the civil register as G-NATY in June 1990. Although known on the civil register as G-NATY, the aircraft has permission to be displayed in her correct Red Arrows livery and with her former military registration of XR537. Following a two-year restoration programme, XR537 was granted its Permit to Test on 14th June 2007 and completed its inaugural return to flight on 9th August 2007.
Date 15:22, 8 July 2006
Source wikipedia
Author Geoff Beck, Managing Partner,


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