XX436 | Westland Gazelle HT.2 | Gordon

  • Aircraft type: Westland SA.341C Gazelle HT.2
  • Construction number: 1402
  • Military serial: XX436
  • Civilian registration: G-ZZLE
  • Name: Gordon

Gordon was born in 1976 as an SA.341C (Gazelle HT.2), built by Westland Helicopters Ltd at their Factory in Yeovil, Somerset with the manufacturer's construction number 1402, he was first flown on 21 July 1976 with B.A. Horsey at the controls.

He was delivered to RNAY Wroughton on 19 February 1977 for storage until it was delivered to the Royal Navy at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall on 25 July 1977, where he served for 26 years in a training role with 705 Naval Air Squadron (NAS). Throughout his life with 705NAS, Gordon wore the squadron code CU/(5)39.

From 19 June 1978 to 28 July 1978 he flew as part of The Tri-Service Helicopter Team in the British Helicopter Championships, and in August of that year both he and XX431 were to take part in the World Helicopter Championships, held in Vitebsk in the Soviet Union. Both XX431 and Gordon received special markings for this, with tri-service markings applied to the fenestron and the Royal Navy titles hidden with white stickers! However, neither aircraft left UK soil as the UK government withdrew their participation on political grounds shortly thereafter.

On 21 May 1997 he was flown to RAF Shawbury in Shropshire for long term storage until being demobbed - removed from military service - on 16 May 2002 and sold by JCM Disposals Ltd, when he was taken to Redhill in Surrey by road.

Sold in to civilian use, Gordon was painted in Royal Marines grey and green colours. The 2015 season saw Gordon's final season in this scheme, and through the winter he underwent a complete rebuild and transformation back to his original 705NAS scheme of bright red and white, complete with Royal Navy "Sharks" display team markings.

XX436 engaged in formation practice. March 2017

XX436 hover-taxiing out of Bourne Park, March 2017

XX436 during the latter part of her rebuild - May 2016