Unflown Hawker Tempest slated to perform at Airbourne 2022

UPDATE: The Tempest has now been removed from the Airbourne line up. However, TIF understands that the intention is still for the Tempest to perform at its first airshows later in 2022 if possible.

The Eastbourne International Airshow, also known as Airbourne, has announced a Hawker Tempest for their 2022 flying programme – an announcement that raised eyebrows, given no Tempests are currently flying.

The aircraft was included in the show’s full flying participation list, posted to their website on Tuesday 5th July. It did not give specific details given on the aircraft’s owner or identity. There are currently several Tempest restoration projects ongoing around the world, including one in the UK: Tempest Mk.II MW763/G-TEMT, which last flew in 1969, and is being restored at Sywell by Air Leasing. The aircraft was rolled out in May 2021, suggesting that it was almost ready to fly, with the operators saying at the time that she was only waiting for work to be completed on her engine. However, despite rumours she would perform at several airshows that year, the aircraft’s first flight never came and no further updates on the project were posted.

Over the last few months, rumours that the aircraft will be ready to perform at shows towards the end of the 2022 season had begun to circulate, but no event has publicly confirmed its participation. Airbourne’s website, which almost certainly refers to Air Leasing’s aircraft, appears to confirm that a first flight is very near, and its airshow debut is just weeks away.

Among the other aircraft added to Airbourne’s line up on Tuesday was a Hawker Fury Mk.II. One of these is currently airworthy, operated by Anglia Aircraft Restorations, but the aircraft is a relatively rare sight on the airshow circuit. Given the rarity of both aircraft, and the close links between them, it may be the organisers’ intention for both types to fly together during the show – although the published aircraft list does not mention this possibility.

Both aircraft will fly on three out of the four show days: Friday 19th, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August.