Blackburn Buccaneer S.1.(XN923) - Gatwick Aviation Museum
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Blackburn Buccaneer S.1.




Purpose Low Level Shipborne Strike
Max Speed (sea level) 626 knots (1159 km/h)
Cruising speed Approx 450 knots (833 km/h)
Service ceiling 50,000ft (15,240 m)
All-up weight 45,000 lb (20,412 kg)
Weapons 4 x 1000 lb (1,814 kg) bombs internal, 4 x 1000 lb externl underwing - nuclear capable
Range 1200 nautical miles (2,222 km)

XN923 running the starboard Gyron Junior on the 12th of February 2011.

Video of Buccaneer run


The "Buccaneer' first flew on the 30th of April 1958, with service trials being carried out on HMS Victorious from June 1959. The aircraft entered service in March 1961 with 700Z flight and became operational with 801 squadron in July 1962. It equipped a number of squadrons, 700Z (1961-63), 736 (1966-70), 800 (1964-66), 801 (1962-65), 809 (1963-65). It was phased out of Naval service in December 1970.

XN923 looking very colourful whilst with RAE. taxis back in after completing its display at RAF Coltishall on the 19th of July 1970.

Twenty pre-production, and forty production aircraft were built and delivered between October 1959 and December 1963. Blackburn Aircraft Company was taken over by the Hawker Siddeley Group in May 1963. The S 1 was replaced by the S 2 which had a substantially enhanced capability over the S 1 and was destined to see considerable service before being retired by the R.A.F. to whom they were transferred in the 1970's. The following Serial No's were allocated to S 1 Buccaneer's; XK486 (Prototype), XK523-XK536 (pre-production), XN922-XN935, XN948-XN973.


The Buccaneer S 1 was designed to achieve surprise by flying at subsonic speed under the enemy radar to deliver nuclear or conventional bombs against targets at sea or on land. The Buccaneer was designed to carry a substantial payload without the need to fly at airframe stressing supersonic speeds. It was fitted with avionics equipment that ensured precision navigation and weapons delivery accuracy.


Some of the weapons payload is held in a rotating bomb bay, weapon delivery being by either conventional bombing or by "tossing" the bomb - a technique which added to the aircraft’s survival chances, especially if delivering a nuclear weapon. During this time the majority of aircraft were painted a reflective white colour. The aircraft was also capable of photo reconnaissance and deep visual surface search. This role was employed during the 1965 Beira Patrol when the oil embargo on Rhodesia was being enforced.

Gatwick Aviation Museum History

XN923 did not see active service. It was used by the Ministry of Defence for service trials at West Freugh in Scotland and by A& AEE at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. Purchased by Peter Vallance when put up for sale and transported to Charlwood by road arriving on 23rd March 1990.

XN923 Looking ready to launch as she sits waiting in the spring sunlight at Gatwick Aviation Museum. (2007)


Information curtesy of Norman Roberson
XN923 - 16/5/74 at RAE West Freugh, prior to its last flight to A & AEE Boscombe down, when it was finally grounded after landing there.

The proof (not that we need it!) that the S.1 does run.

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Following several months work the Port Gyron Junior on XN923 was spun over for the first time in early March 2012. The engine replaced a heavily corroded item with a ex static display engine that had obviously been kept indoors for many years. The engine was blown over three times, the first time was completely "dry" and just ensured that no major faults existed in the running gear. The second time it was blown over "wet" to ensure that no major problems were present in the fuel system. Both of these were accomplished successfully with only a minor problem during the wet run. This was a pre-existing problem that was quickly resolved. Finally the "crackers" were fired and the engine lit and ran smoothly, it ran for just a few minutes at little more than idle, all parameters were within spec. This almost completes the engine change that started in late 2011, further test runs will be made in the next few weeks before it will be declared fully serviceable. With this engine now running XN923 is capable of running both Gyron Juniors, it is intended that they will be run together in future. In general these runs will take place outside of normal public opening times, unless a specific event is planned and this will be advertised on this web site.

XN923 ready for the first run of the "new" port Gyron Cockpit instruments shows she's running!


A second run of the port engine was recently carried out in the late morning, this was succesful and the starboard engine was also started. This provided an invaluable reference and with both running it has shown that some minor adjustments are needed.

March 2018: XN923 will soon be prepared to go into a long term restoration program. To start this process the mainplanes will be removed and stored ready for restoration. Once they are removed and possibly the tailplane, the fuselage will be pulled into the building alongside Lightning 53-671. With the main bulk of the aeroplane inside the major restoration work can commence. It anticipated that this will take approximately 2-3 years.