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Area 4 presentation on Navy Wings & the Sea Vixen by Bill Covington

Area Rep | Published on 10/23/2017

Area 4 members were treated to a presentation on Navy Wings & the Sea Vixen by Commodore Bill Covington CBE at the Fleet Air Arm Museum on Sunday 22nd October 2017.

Cdre. Covington is a trustee of the Fly Navy Heritage Trust and a Director of Naval Aviation Ltd. He is no stranger to welcoming Area 4 to events, having hosted a memorable visit to the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton (co-located with the museum) when he was its commanding officer back in 2001.

Bill was invited to talk by Area 4 member and fellow retired Royal Navy officer, Anthony King... I believe he didn't take too much persuading!

Bill's talk set the scene as to the role of Navy Wings (the new brand name for the Fly Navy Heritage Trust) in conserving historic aircraft and associated materials, remembering the deeds of those who've gone before and inspiring the next generations of Naval personnel and supporters.

His slides and video excerpts included contributions from the Late Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown, notables from more recent conflicts and even Pink Floyd (Nick Mason is also a very active supporter of the trust)! Bill showed how relatively 'simple' mechanical failures in aircraft (such as afflicted the Sea Vixen recently) have huge financial and 'political' ramifications for the trust. Not only are repairs the work of only a handful of suitably qualified experts in the field, they can also cause debates at the highest levels in the Civil Aviation Authority that can add both cost and timescale to any project. That's why Navy Wings needs supporters at all levels.

Rather than try to cover all of the content here, it's fair to say that Bill educated and inspired all in the room. A collection for the trust was an immediate show of gratitude for Bill's effort. Perhaps more importantly, a number of people joined Navy Wings and so will continue to be supporters.

If you would like to join or simply find out more, follow this LINK.

I have no doubt that, like our successful long-term association with the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Area 4 will enjoy a close relationship and further events linked to Navy Wings.

There were lots more people in the room than this picture suggests, but Bill's talk was too interesting to spend more time taking better photographs!


Seven Astons present in the Fleet Air Arm Museum car park. Not in shot is the DB9 of Area 16's Paul Vickery. His car is the 'cover shot' above. Paul brought along fellow Area 16 member Mike Holyoake who used to work on Sea Vixens during his time in the Royal Navy. 


Above: Home page of the Navy Wings website showing the Sea Vixen in flight (courtesy of Navy Wings)


The rather dark and wet 20 minutes drive to the Drayton Crown pub at least included a colourful wing mirror view of Bob Carter's DB4.


Lunch after the talk to continue the talking! Clockwise from the front: Anthony & Barbara King, David Polly, Melvyn Freeman, Penny & Bill Covington, Charles Scott, David Pye, Michael Pye, Bob Sackley, Bob Carter, Rick Cullen, Gillian Fawkes, Matthew Maneely and John Hazzard.

Thanks are also due to Julia Morris and Adrian Dennis at the Fleet Air Arm Museum for setting up the event on our behalf and looking after us so well (as usual).

Story & Photos by Area 4 Rep, Andrew Fawkes.