The three aircraft owned and operated by Midair Squadron have had Receivers appointed to manage their sale in order to repay debts that have been accrued and secured upon them.
Tyrone Courtman and Lee Brocklehurst from Business advisors PKF Cooper Parry LLP were appointed Receivers over the aircraft on Wednesday 11 November 2015 under the powers contained within a mortgage used to secure debts due from a related company, Canberra 134 Limited, to its Landlord
Acknowledged as the world’s first and only display team featuring Canberra XH134, the world’s only airworthy Canberra PR9 and two supersonic Hunter jets, the Midair Squadron evoked the heritage, power and glamour of a bygone era. Based at Kemble in the UK, the Squadron had the capability to fly across the world, displaying their aviation prowess to a global audience of aviation aficionado, celebrities and royalty.
In 1951, the English Electric Canberra was the RAF’s first jet powered bomber, and relied on high speed to escape enemy fighters. The Canberra was sold to air forces all over the world and a total 1,347 were built. During its first ten years of service with the RAF, the Canberra broke nineteen flight records and three altitude records including winning the London to New Zealand Air Race in 1953 with a world speed record and the first jet flight over the North Pole in 1954.
The Canberra is believed to be the world’s longest serving bomber and most recently provided support during conflicts in the Balkans and Middle East. And, because of its ability to fly at nearly 60,000 ft., it was also used for clandestine photo reconnaissance work during the Cold War. The aircraft retired from active duty in 2006.
Fully restored with complete airworthiness certification, experienced engineering and maintenance support – and highly qualified senior RAF pilots ‐ Canberra XH134 is the only air‐worthy Canberra of its type in the world.
The Canberra is complimented by two Hawker Hunter aircraft, hunter XL577 and XL600. Designed by Sir Sydney Camm, the Hawker Hunter is arguably the most significant aircraft designed following the Second World War.
The Hunter was the first high‐speed jet aircraft, equipped with fully powered flight controls, to enter widespread service within the RAF. As a British designed aircraft, the Hunter was a significant export success and served 22 air forces across the world. In total, 1,972 Hunters were manufactured by the Hawker Siddeley Group.
Hunters produce an iconic sound in jet aviation – affectionately known as the ‘Blue Note’ – purportedly created as air passes over and through gun ports, however other RR Avon powered aircraft such as the Canberra also make the sound.
Formally known as “Blue Diamond”, XL577 was first flown for the RAF in 1958 and sold to Delta Jets in 1996. XL577 flew in the Blue Diamond team colours from 2005, although she was never part of the display team.
Hunter XL600 was formally known as G‐VETA, this supersonic jet having been built as a T7 and was first flown on 7 October 1958
Both XL600 and XL577 are the T7 (two seat) variants of the aircraft and this type remained in use for training and secondly roles with the Royal Navy and RAF until the early 1990s.
Flanked by the two Hunter T7’s, Canberra XH134, had spent some 24 months undergoing an extensive restoration programme having been last seen on the display circuit in 2006. Re launched officially in 2013, the Midair Squadron display team was flown by pilots of the Royal Air Force and was privately backed by Mike Davis, who was passionate to achieve a long‐held dream of seeing the Canberra fly once more.
Tyrone Courtman, Receiver, said ‘It’s a shame that circumstances have led to me being appointed Receiver of these iconic 1950’s jet aircraft. They are now truly unique on the display circuit and are a credit to the passion and vision of Mike Davis. In the post Vulcan era, they potentially represent our only remaining insight and exposure to the sight and sound of what 1950’s British aeronautical at its best means. They should be maintained and operated in flying condition for the benefit of our future generations. There are nothing quite like them on the display circuit.
Our objective is to sell only those aircraft sufficient to be in a position to repay the debts secured by them, but if we have to sell them all as a trio, we shall do so, albeit we will consider offers for each aircraft independently. We are sensitive to the significant investment made by Mike Davis and to the following they have from enthusiasts here in the UK and worldwide.
The aircraft are currently being prepared for sale and will be offered for sale at the Bonham’s Goodwood Members meeting auction on 19 March 2016. We have received a lot of interest from prospective buyers and so, in the meantime, I would urge anyone interested in securing a piece of British aeronautical engineering at its best to contact either myself or Bonham’s directly”