I was torn whether to keep editing my blog article about the FD2 and then realized I could simply write another one, on another occasion.
I’m glad I did because a quick riffle through YouTube revealed this gem of British Movietone News. A lovely series of shots of the Fairey Delta and an interview with Peter Twiss (1921-2011) who “happened to be the lucky chap in the cockpit” as I think he put it. I didn’t know Twiss was a former FAA pilot, so it’s fitting in a way that WG774 is displayed at Yeovilton.
I was also wondering if there were any current Public Domain or Creative Commons pictures of WG774 and WG777, partly to remind myself what WG777 looked like when I wandered through Cosford in around 1991, and happily of course there are a couple.
Here is WG774 seen at the FAA Museum in Yeovilton in 2011. You can see the extent of the modification of the wings and undercarriage. It’s noteworthy as the original photographer suggests that WG774 was selected for modification rather than WG777. Was there an operational reason or was there some arcane political reason for modifying this airframe? We may never know.The 1984 photograph is interesting for me as I first visited Yeovilton a year before – during a heatwave in the late summer of 1983, and this is how I believe these aircraft were displayed at that time. The extent of the modification to WG774’s wings is clear. The HP.115 was a research aircraft which explored the characteristics of delta wings in slow flight in delta configuration and to demonstrate the beneficial extent of extending the delta wing forward along the fuselage.
Finally, here is WG777 looking very sleek at Cosford in 2007. Having seen this picture I understand why I didn’t identify the polished silver machine with WG777 in its later dark blue scheme. Such is life and memory. But I salute both aircraft and their pilots.