Returning Royal Air Force history to the skies.

by Provost Preservation in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

Returning Royal Air Force history to the skies.
Not quite
Unfortunately this project was not successful.

Provost Preservation is a historic aviation group which aims to preserve and promote the Percival Provost aircraft for future generations.

by Provost Preservation in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

Restoring and Maintaining Aviation History 

During March 2018 Provost Preservation was formed with the aim of preserving an important part of British aviation history. We’ve been lucky enough to acquire three examples of the aircraft and the main aim is to have at least two of them grace the skies once again. The Percival P.56 Provost is a British basic trainer that was developed for the Royal Air Force in the 1950s as a replacement for the Percival Prentice. It was a low-wing monoplane with a fixed, tailwheelundercarriage and like the Prentice had a side-by-side seating arrangement. Eventually the famous Jet Provost was developed from the Percival Provost, and became a pivotal aircraft for the Royal Air Force and numerous airforces alike.

With the experience and knowledge from a number of people and companies in the aviation industry, Provost Preservation hopes to keep these aircraft and their spirit alive for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

Alan house has been an essential piece of this journey and we are forever grateful to him and his team for all their help and ongoing support with the Provost.

Currently Percival Provost T.1 XF597 (G-BKFW) is undergoing a full restoration back to airworthiness. We hope that In the future XF836 (G-AWRY) will be given the same professional treatment and return to the skies where she belongs. Out of 461 only 4 currently are flying throughout the globe , let’s change that. 

Through the website you can follow the progress of the restorations, keep up to date with upcoming events,  news, and what’s going on in the workshops. There are many ways of getting involved with Provost Preservation such as, joining our supporters club, browsing our shop or simply donating to help keep the restoration on track to get these important aircraft in the skies. With your help and support this can become a reality.

A big thank you to all who have been involved so far, and we are looking forward to the future. 

What would your money be used for ?

The money raised would all be put towards the restoration of the aircraft, focusing on completing the projects and getting the aircraft back into the skies where they belong. Following the completion of the restoration projects the funds will enable the aircraft to be kept on top condition so that the public can enjoy the wonderful sight and sound of the Percival Provost T.1. We are very keen to get people involved in the project from start to finish. Getting veterans and volunteers involved is going to be really exciting for the project and will be a huge asset to Provost Preservation. It’s important that these historic aircraft are recognised for their part in history, and that the people that made this history are a part of their future. 

With your help the Provost could be appearing at UK airshows next season. 

Airframe Histories


Jan 31 1955 Built at Percival’s Luton

Feb 10 1955 Issued to 9 MU Cosford

Jan 9 1956 Transferred to 12 MU Kirkbride

Jan 2 1958 RAF College Cranwell

Mar 31 1960 College of Air Warfare, Manby

Apr 6 1964 Retired to 27 MU Shawbury

Aug 4 1965 Struck off charge

Nov 22 1967 Sold to Flint Technical College, Connah’sQuay – Instructional Airframe

1982 Sold and moved to Oakington registered G-BKFW

1987 Sold to Alan House and flown Spring 1988

July 24 2018 To (Provost Preservation)



Jan 17 1955 Built at Percival’s Luton

Jun 22 1955 Issued to 12 MU Kirkbride

Apr 29 1957 Manchester University Air Squadron

Aug 30 1957 RAF College Cranwell

Jul 11 1960 Transferred to 49 MU Colerne

Jul 26 1960 Central Navigation and Control School, RAFShawbury (renamed Central Air Traffic School)

Jan 6 1969 Retired to 27 MU Shawbury

Apr 18 1969 Sold to The Shuttleworth Trust (registered G-AWRY in Oct 1981)

Apr 14 1983 Sold to Alan House

July 28 1987 Force-landing following engine failure and put into store

Oct 2018 Moved to Cambridgeshire to join Provost Preservation




Aug 27 1954 Built at Percival’s Luton

September 7 1954 Issued to 12 MU Kirkbride

September 20 1954 to 2FTS at RAF Hullavington

October 13 1959 1 SoTT, Halton as 7616M for ground Instructional use

May 1972 248MU Hedley Court, Chessington.

August 8 1975 to Cuxwold, Lincs

May 13 1979 to Thorpe Water Park near Chertsey, Surrey.

1981 sold and moved to Chinnor, Oxfordshire 

May 1984 relocated to Llanelli, Wales

December 1984 Delivered to Wales Aircraft Museum, Rhoose as exchange for a Percival Proctor (G-AHTE)

Late 1992 to the Stratford Aircraft Collection at Long Marston, Warks

April 1995 arrived at Firbeck, Sheffield for South Yorkshire Air Museum

Late 1999 Hemswell, Lincolnshire to the Bomber County Aviation Museum

September 2005 Moved and displayed/stored at Wartime Aircraft Recovery Group Aviation Museum, Sleap, Shropshire.

2017 Delivered to Marchamley, Ternhill, and listed by RAF Surplus for sale

February 2018 to Cambridgeshire with Provost Preservation

General characteristics

  • Crew: two
  • Length: 28 ft 6 in (8.73 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft 0 in (10.7 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 0 in (3.70 m)
  • Wing area: 214 ft² (19.9 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,350 lb (1,523 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 4,399 lb (1,995 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Alvis Leonides 126 9-cylinder radial engine, 550 hp (410 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 200 mph (170 knots, 320 km/h) at sea level
  • Range: 560 nm (650 mi, 1,020 km)
  • Endurance: 4 hours
  • Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7620 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,200 ft/min (11.2 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 20.6 lb/ft² (100 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.276 hp/lb (0.206 kW/kg)
  • Climb to 10,000 ft 3.27 minutes


  • for T.52 and T.53 - 2 x 7.62mm machine guns, 500lbs. of bombs or rockets.

In 1953, the Provost entered service with the RAF, the first batch of aircraft were delivered to the Central Flying School (CFS) at RAF South Cerney. The CFS carried out intensive flight trials in May and June 1953 prior to instructor training commencing. The Provost was more capable than the Prentice it replaced, which allowed students to move straight on to the De Havilland Vampire after completing training on the Provost. On 1 July 1953, 6 Flying Training School at RAF Ternhill started to re-equip with the Provost. The first pupil training course to use the Provost started in October 1953. No. 22 Flying Training School at RAF Syerston was the next to convert and it was followed by 2 FTS at RAF Cluntoe, Northern Ireland, 3 FTS at RAF Feltwell and then the Royal Air Force College at RAF Cranwell.

From 1956 the Provost was issued to some University Air Squadrons, the first being the Queen's University Air Squadron, Belfast in January 1956. The last RAF production aircraft was delivered in April 1956. The aircraft served with the RAF until the early 1960s, when it was replaced by the Jet Provost. A few Provosts continued in service during the 1960s with the Central Navigation & Control School (later Central Air Traffic Control School) at RAF Shawbury until the last example was retired in 1969. Several retired airframes were renumbered with maintenance serials and used for training of airframe and engine tradesmen. At least five Percival Provost have survived as civilian aircraft.

Provost T.53 of the Irish Air Corps at Baldonnel airfield Ireland in 1967

The first export order was placed in May 1953 by Southern Rhodesia, for four T.1 aircraft which were designated the T.51. Later, the Royal Rhodesian Air Force followed with an order for twelve armed trainers, designated the T.52, which were delivered in 1955.

In January 1954, the Irish Air Corps ordered four T.51 aircraft and in 1960, a further order for six armed T.53 variants. 

In 1954, the Burmese Air Force also ordered 12 armed T.53 variants and eventually operated a total of 40 aircraft.

In May 1957, the newly formed Sudan Air Forceordered four T.53 armed variant; two were lost in accidents shortly after delivery, a further three were bought in 1959, followed by five former RAF aircraft.

Former RAF aircraft were delivered to Royal Air Force of Oman as armed T.52 variants. In 1955, the Royal Iraqi Air Force ordered 15 armed Provost T.53s, with the first delivered in May 1955. The final export customer was the Royal Malaysian Air Force, who obtained 24 T.51 trainers between 1961 and 1968.

In 1968, Rhodesia obtained further aircraft using a convoluted route to circumvent an arms embargo.

A huge thank you to all who have helped with this historical project, and here’s to a highflying future. Together let’s bring the Percival Provost back.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

RAF Cranwell £20 Reward

For pledging £20 you will receive a Provost Preservation badge.

£40 or more

0 of 15 claimed

XF597 £40 reward

Receive a XF597 project t-shirt.

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