PR.9 - XH175
Proud Owner at RAF Waddington, 2006 (Photo : Les Bywaters)
Mounted on its bespoke trailer (Photo : Ross McNeil)
Surprisingly Complete Navigator's Station (Photo : Les Bywatersl)
(Click on photo for larger image)
The history of this PR.9 is fairly brief. It was ready for collection in 1960 and entered the RAF with 58 Sqn at RAF Wyton. When 58 Sqn gave up its PR.9s, in 1962, XH175 was transferred to the charge of 39 Sqn, RAF Luqa, Malta. It flew with 39 until 1976 when it was loaned to A&AEE for trials of the Radar Warning Receiver (fitted to the fin and tail - Skyguardian) after which it was returned to 39 Sqn at Wyton. It was one of 39's PR.9s that transferred to 1 PRU when that unit was set up (RAF Marham?).
XH175 was moved into storage at RAF St Athan in January 1982. The nose section was subsequently bought for preservation, and ended up at Hanningfield Metals scrapyard in Essex.


Scroll down for 'in-service' and 'in-cockpit' pictures.

The new owner, Ross McNeil, reports. . .

XH175 was liberated from Hanningfield Metals in November 2005 and now resides in the West Midlands. It's undergoing an internal restoration removing the spurious instrumentation and replacing with more suitable items. Later in the summer (of 2006) a new external paint job is planned with it's first outing in September 2006 for the local Battle of Britain collection day. Local Wings Collection will be Kidderminster/Bewdley/Stourport. I've left it up to the local committee as to where they arrange with the local councils.

The scrap yard used XH175 as it's travelling exhibit for a few years before it was swamped by scrap at the back of the yard. In order to present the appearance of a complete cockpit they filled vacant instrument holes with anything they had to hand. Hence the nav compartment had Bell Helicopter panels, army radio frequency selectors and a ton of Phantom panels instead of the PR.9 fit items.

The yard was also not adverse to swapping whole instrument panels from other PR.9 aircraft that had been scrapped at the time. This is evident in the main pilot panel. The wiring behind the panel is Decca Tans fit and is correct for XH175. The panel fitted has about 50% correct instrumentation - 50% Phantom and is pre Decca Tans fit. Pilot's panel is marked AR Nav's panel AE.

So all in all I think that XH175 contained components of the 74 Phantoms the yard scrapped, as well as bits from PR.9s XH133 and XH165. For example. the March '82 compass correction card for XH133 was found in bottom of XH175 cockpit.

When I initially viewed 175 prior to making an offer, I was at first disappointed that more of the original fit had not survived then came to the conclusion that the Phantom gear would be more than useful as trades for the missing stuff. This has proved the case with a two items being easily traded for Zero Reader equipment.

I've now collected most of the gear to return the pre Decca Tans AR pilot panel to original appearance. Most obvious omission is the circular 4 way trim display.between the 500 ft radar alt and Autopilot remote displays. Any leads to a source gratefully received.

One of the major attractions of XH175 to me was the extensive survival of the black boxes and associated wiring. I always get a sense of emptiness on some of the restored cockpits.

Just struck me that I spent 10 years looking for a cockpit that had all the internals and ended up getting an example that was scrapped 10 years ago! Just when I started searching.

The cockpit is currently at a temporary location in "The vicinity of Bewdley, Worcestershire".

Ross Mc Neil

XH175 - 39 Sqn
In service with 39 Sqn, RAF Wyton (Photo :J B E Hale)

Port side
Pilot's Console, Port Side (Photo : Ross McNeil)
Starbord side
Pilot's Console, Starborad Side (Photo : Ross McNeil)