XT752 "Janets" Unique History
“Janet” was designed and built by Fairey Aviation UK in 1954.
She was built as the FIRST dual control T2 Gannet “Prototype” in the world and first flew August 16th 1954. With her given military registration of WN365 she was ready to be assigned to full military service, painted in overall silver with yellow bands on each wing and fuselage. These markings signified the well known British military training colours.
Not long after her production in 1954 she was proudly displayed to the public and forces as the first T2 Dual Control Gannet at the worlds military trade show “Farnborough” in England by Fairey’s as their trainer flagship, where she became one of the main stars that attended this huge event of which many articles were publicised about her. She shared her show debut with the launch of some other remarkable prototype aircraft that were also attending, such as the Vulcan VX770, Varsity VX835, Victor WB775, Sea Vixen WG240, Javelin WT827 mentioning just a few of "Janets" historic friends that sadly have not survived at all.
After all the publicity and press exposure “Janet” was selected by the “Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment” at the well known military test base Boscombe Down UK. Here she was to be evaluated throughout her operational potential not only as a very effective search and destroy anti-submarine aircraft, but evaluation to instruct the conversion of new pilots and crew on this very unusual type of aircraft, before other T2 trainers were built. A total order number of only 24 trainer aircraft were manufactured.
“Janet” then went back into full military service still as T2 WN365 until 1957. At this time it was then decided she was to be called back by Fairey Aviation who had selected her again for a new classified project.
A very rare situation then occurred, which very few or any aircraft world wide flying or existing to this day could ever claim. Fairey’s decided to recall “Janet” to totally rebuild her and use her once AGAIN as their prototype new development.
Fairey's reconstructed her as they’re newly designed T5 dual control Gannet of which a total of only EIGHTwere ever built using new systems and more powerful Mamba engines which had just been developed by Armstrong Syddeley. "Janet" was now reborn again. Not just satisfied at being a unique prototype "Janet" went back again for more active service with the military.
In 1960 Fairey's recalled WN365 now as the T5 version, and was sold as one of only two T5 trainers to Indonesia through a deal between the British and Indonesian governments, for her to train new potential Gannet pilots how to fly and handle such a different aircraft. This was in support of the new Indonesian purchase orders to Fairey Aviation for the Gannet type.
During this recall and sale of "Janet", the Indonesian military allocated their own registration which was AL-14, but the markings were never applied to her fuselage.
The reason these markings were not applied, was just prior of the sale to Indonesia, Fairey's had already recalled WN365 for their own civil use, and she was the FIRST and ONLY Gannet in Fairey's history to be registered to their own company and put on the civilian aviation register as privately owned G-APYO.
Even though Fairey's had sold "Janet" to the Indonesian government she ended up staying in the UK and continued training operations at White Waltham airfield still as G-APYO under Fairey's training scheme designed for Indonesian pilots.
Completing her duties for the Indonesian’s successfully in 1961 without fault or damage. She was re-acquired by the British Government to Westlands care. Here she was continued to be cared for and maintained to full operational status for use at all times. In March 1965 she was again to undergo new changes, and the Royal Navy commissioned a totally new livery and identity for her, into a striking silver and high visibility day-glo scheme with a new military registration XT752.
Proudly she was back again and better than ever in British Naval service firstly at R.N.A.S Lee-on-Solent in April 1967 and then with 849 squadron as XT752-772 BYstationed at Brawdy in March 1968, training new pilots and crew who in turn, caringly looked after her for many years.
In September 1970 happily moving home once more, "Janet" travelled to the other end of the UK now wearing her new station identity as XT752-772 LM at Lossiemouth Scotland.
On September the 18th 1971 she proudly flew attending a Biggin Hill airshow, as one of her last public farewells before gracefully retiring at Lossiemouth in 1978 of which she saw the last of her amazing operational days out. It was then decided to return "Janet" to Culdrose on the 25th of January 1978 at the end of her wonderful military career where she was then placed into Naval storage as the last Gannet to retire from service, still with very low operating hours to her name.
Over her outstanding twenty four year military career she had safely trained and looked after many International crews without fault or incident and was loved and known by many. During this time her proud crews gave her some personal body art as a loving reminder to her outstanding past, and to this day she displays her leaping Leopard on the sides of her fuselage in memory of the brief and unusual role she performed for the Indonesian’s.
The early 90’s came and the Royal Navy’s heritage trust who needed to raise funds for their swordfish restoration, decided to sell some of their preserved aircraft in order to raise capital.
“Janet” was part of this sale where she was sold from storage to a museum in the USA along with the last of the Royal Navy’s huge spares support packages they had held specifically to allow her to stay in an airworthy condition well into the foreseeable future coupled with continued care and attention.
The museum opened its doors dedicated to historic aircraft and after a very expensive exercise of shipping her from the UK to Minnesota, work began to bring her back to airworthy status.
In 1996 she returned to the sky being the second time in her life to be operated by a civilian company, but the first time in her life to fly in retirement solely for the worlds aviation enthusiasts and supporters.
Janet then appeared at Oshkosh one of the biggest aviation events on the globe, and the first time a Gannet had ever attended and seen by the masses of people who surrounded her. So much so, that when she taxied away from her grass parking area there was an exact outline indented in the grass by the endless chain of people who had continuously been walking around her, which was easily viewed from the sky by all those who over flew.
In 1996 she was over forty years old, and still overwhelmingly crediting her British designers with the outstanding interest she draws, and spectacle to watch operate.
Not long after Oshkosh, the museum shut and closed its doors for the final time. "Janet" was then put into climate controlled storage. Many years passed and like the museums other preserved aircraft she was to change hands.
In 2004 Shannan Hendricks became the very proud owner and guardian of "Janet" and many were especially proud and excited for "Janet's" attempted flight visiting the UK to be reunited with old service friends and enthusiastic supporters, such an exciting experience for many to look forward to. On-route however to the UK she encountered a few temporary setbacks leaving only one option, to keep "Janet" stored until situations were correctly handled and rectified.
Continued monumental efforts behind the scenes by Shannan and some truly dedicated and genuine individuals have helped drive forward the quest to protect XT752's history and secure future, which has finally allowed "Janet" to return back to base for needed refurbishments (see our An-124 Air Lift page for her recovery). Work is taking place on a daily basis covering every aspect of XT752's operations, aided by a growing team of international professionals, sponsors and enthusiasts to get "Janet" our much loved survivor back in the air in 2012 where she belongs and so deserves.
Plans are also being pieced together for a very exciting future mission, to grace Europe's sky's again on a very special visit. In conjunction with this visit we are in the early planning stages of organising something that aviation enthusiasts and media have never seen before!
Those involved with "Janet" lovingly take on board the responsibility of protecting this very historic aircraft seriously, so all can appreciate her in the years to come which is definitely the centre of our focus. Like all dedicated collectors of historic artefact's that are entrusted custodians, the team are especially aware of how very special our time capsule is, so with as much help and resources possible we aim to do the very best job for her future that we can.
"Janet" now hopes for everyone's good wishes and full support in any, and every way possible. A new chapter in her vintage life and history begins.
“A truly wonderful aeronautical ambassador, that will always represent her country with pride”