The volunteers of what is now The Buccaneer Aviation Group have been giving their time and energy for twenty years or more with the aim of restoring and then maintaining and preserving two ex-RAF Blackburn Buccaneer Cold War-era nuclear bombers to the point where they can demonstrate full operational capability, short of the three wheels leaving the runway.
The prime objective of the group is to restore, maintain, preserve and demonstrate these examples of an innovative British aircraft. These living examples of the last all-British bomber.
Restoration was acheived in 2010 and since then we have run the jets regularly at Bruntingthorpe alongside other Cold War-era aircraft to honour those men and women and their families who designed, built, tested, flew and serviced this iconic British aircraft.
As seen in the video, we can and do demonstrate both aircraft a number of times a year as a living testimony to the skills of British engineers and aviators and for the education of our future generations in the history and legacy of our aircraft industry.
We are a working group with active volunteers from 10 to 72. It is open to anyone who is simply willing to get stuck in; we will give anyone who wishes to work on these aircraft a warm welcome.
With experience existing within the group on restoring and problem solving similiar British Cold War jets, it comes as no surprise to learn that lessons learned by the team are readily shared other aircraft restoration communities and we are the go-to group for solving Buccaneer related problems. In Outreach activities, our members have been called upon by British Aerospace to move Buccaneer XV168 from their factory at Brough to the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington in 2013.
And more recently we have been assisting Atlantic AirVenture in Shannon Ireland in returning their Buccaneer XX897 to a systems running state.
The Buccaneer Aviation Group is a not for profit organisation and all the work is on a voluntry basis. Sufficient funds are raised each year through membership subscriptions and a small shop which covers the operating costs. Any surplus cash is spent on obtaining increasingly rare spare parts and ground equipment. Over the years we has become self sufficient in most equipment it needs for regular maintenance. Beyond, that no cash reserve exists.
In 2020 it was announced that Bruntingthorpe would no longer be available for the aircraft to demonstrate and hold the events that it has done for over 10 years.
The team has two choices - abandon and scrap the aircraft or seek a new home where these remarkable aircraft can continue to operate to the limits of their capability for the joy and benefit of the public.
In abandoning the aircraft, which will be scrapped, the aviation community will not only lose the tangible legacy of the two aircraft but all the accumulated knowledge and experience of the volunteers and their willingness to reach out and help other restoration projects. In addition we make ourselve available to special groups visiting the UK from all over the world, in this case aircraft modellers from Germany and Japan.
This is as much history as a castle or a palace. It is Industrial History. These aircraft kept the peace during the Cold War whilst based in Germany and helped win the Gulf War. One of the aircraft is credited with destroying an Iraqi transport aircraft.
Unsurprisingly, the team decided to do all it could to continue the legacy of these aircraft, to honour the past volunteers and seek a new home for them. After discussions with three prestigious airfields, the team decided that the optimal choice for the new location was Kemble.
Kemble is a brand new start for us. It gives the team the opportunity to shape a different future where we will still be able to demonstrate these iconic jets to the public, invite people to join the team and share our experience with others.
All of the work in preparing (dismantling) the aircraft and all the groups equipment will be undertaken by the volunteers, as will the reassembly at Kemble. That is all within the gift of the group.
The team has a tight deadline of the end of September 2020 to vacate Bruntingthorpe and that will be achieved.
However, the group needs to find £24,560 to cover the cost of road transport for the two aircraft, four spare Rolls-Royce Spey jet engines, all of the ground and service equipment, three containers of spares and the tool storage containers and lockers. Additionally, the cost includes police escort and highway alterations, lighting and traffic signs. Specialised lifting at both Bruntingthorpe and Kemble is also included.
The total cost of moving is beyond our financial ability and although we are pledging £6000 from its own members, its in the raising of the balance of £18,560 that the team requests your support in this crowdfunder project.
We are a cross-section of society and as such we are acutely aware of how difficult many of our fellow citizens are finding life at the moment. It is with this awareness in mind we are so unbelievably grateful that you choose to support and fund this move and with it provide a life line for these two Buccaneers and all the experiences their continuing existance will to bring to many people.
Please help to relocate these aircraft and thereby saving these unique, iconic and innovative examples of British industial heritage and living industrial history alive.
For any further information please contact us through our web site, www.thebuccaneeraviationgroup.com
or directly through The Buccaneer Aviation Group Shop Operations at [email protected]