Aviation Collections & Restoration Groups

Aviation Collections & Restoration Groups

Britannia XM496 Preservation Society at Cotswold Airport

Bristol Britannia...

XM496, named Regulus during RAF service, made the last ever Britannia flight when she flew into Cotswold Airport on 14th October 1997. Although no longer airworthy, the aircraft is complete and has been brought back to her present stunning condition by an enthusiastic core of volunteers. The cabin has been restored to a half-passenger, half-cargo layout often used during her 15 years with the RAF.

Regulus is the only complete Bristol Britannia in existence Globally, plus being the only genuine RAF version. Maintained by the Bristol Britannia XM496 Preservation Society, an independent group dedicated solely to XM496. `She’ stands proudly at Cotswold Airport thanks to the courtesy of Kemble Air Services and is a popular exhibit to Cotswold Airport ’s visitors.

The Buccaneer Aviation Group (TBAG)....

TBAG is a group of volunteers dedicated to the preservation of the low-level nuclear bomber – Blackburn Buccaneer. The group preserves two ex-Royal Air Force Buccaneers, XX894 & XW544, and has done so since 2004. After huge restoration efforts, both aircraft are now back in fully operational condition, to honour the service of the air and ground crews, the people who built them, and the memories associated with the type, and to help inspire future generations to continue preserving the mighty Buccaneer.

The Buccaneer Aviation Group at Cotswold Airport
XT597 The Buccaneer Aviation Group at Cotswold Airport

The British Phantom Aviation Group (BPAG)...

The British Phantom Aviation Group (BPAG) owes its origins to social media and the formation of a special interest group on Facebook in 2012. With a membership comprising of both of ex-service personnel and aviation enthusiasts, it was dedicated to the UK specific variants of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom and its time in service with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.

In autumn 2020, the BPAG accepted an offer to join the growing band of heritage aircraft operators based at Cotswold Airport. XT597 and XT905 were transferred to the site in summer 2021 with ZE360 joining them in 2022. Under the leadership of Chairman/Technical Director Paul Wright- a former Airframe & Engines Technician with both 228OCU and 111 Sqn- the Group are in the process of establishing workshops on site and hope to welcome visitors at the earliest opportunity.

Canberra Gnat T.1 XP502....

The first Gnat to enter service with 4 FTS (Flying Training System) was XP502, joining the unit on 7th November 1962, having first flown on 24th August 1962. Retired in 1978 to instructional use as 8576M at RAF St. Athan, she was auctioned off in 2000 and acquired by Delta jets at Kemble.

Subjected to a cosmetic restoration, XP502 now wears Red Arrows colours as do many preserved Gnats (despite never flying with the team). XP502 has been painted up to represent Red Arrow XR540 and can be seen today sat outside the Cotswold Airport control tower in a take-off position harking back to the days when the Reds were once based at the former RAF Kemble.

Canberra Gnat T1 XP502
Hawker Hunter XE665

Hawker Hunter XE665...

XE665 served with 118 Squadron in RAF Germany, but after only a couple of years was converted from a T.4 to a T.8 and issued to the Royal Navy - re-entering service with 764 NAS.

Shortly after transfer to the HMS Heron (Yeovilton) station flight, she was repainted in blue and white Admiral's Barge colours. She went on to serve with 759 and 738 NAS at Brawdy, before returning to Yeovilton and the ADTU, and later FRADU. She also spent some time with 237 OCU at Honington but finished the last few years of her career back at FRADU in an overall EDSG colour scheme.

Today painted in Midair Squadron's corporate silver livery, XE665 can been seen on display outside the AV8 café at Cotswold Airport.