Hawker Tempest Mk.5/TT NV778



NV778 was built in November 1944 by Hawker at Langley, Bucks. On January 5th 1945 it was on charge at Napiers. After been damaged twice it was on January 26 1946 transfered to Hawker Aircraft, and was once again damaged on February 4th and not ready again until August 19. After spending 3 1/2 years in storage at 5 Maintenance Unit (MU) it was converted to target-tug (TT.5) in March 1950. Several moments later it (complete fuselage) was found in an old dispersal at North Weald, Essex.

NV778 was rebuilt to take part in the celebrations for the presentation of 33 Squadron's standard in 1958. It was reconstructed from parts of several aircraft in the Proof and Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness, ranges. It then spent some years as a "gate guardian" at Middleton St. George, painted as 5R-F(SN219). When later restored at Cardington it was found out that 85% of the airframe is of NV778. Tailplanes, elevators and some panels are from SN219. Other aircraft which had been given parts to NV778 were Mk. VI NX262 (at least on panel), Mk. V EJ753 (a cannon cover) and Mk. II PR622 (cockpit undershield).

NV778 was displayed at several airshows and parades, but after refurbishment by 71 MU, it was in November 1972 displayed at RAF Museum, Hendon. In the early 1990s NV778 was moved to Cardington and maintenance. In December 2000 NV778 was moved from Cardington to RAF Museum's temporary facility at Wyton, Cambs. The RAF Museum Restoration Centre, at Cosford Shropshire, was officially opened on May 13 2002. The NV778 arrived at the centre in November 2001, but the rebuild restarted not until May/June 2002. NV778 was rebuilt and repainted as a Turget Tug. On December 18th 2003 two new exhibition halls were opened for the public at Hendon - Milestones of Flight and the Grahame-White Factory. NV778, one of only two remaining Tempest Mk. Vs (or TT...), is now to found hanging from the ceiling in the Milestone exhibition painted as a Turget Tug.





Summary of History





Nov 1944

Built at Hawker Aircraft Ltd at Langley (Contract ACFT/1876/C.23(a)



Jan 5 1945

On charge with Napiers, probably at its engine development establishment at Luton.



Jan 26 1945

Hawker Aircraft.


Sep 9 1946

5 Maintenance Unit (MU) Kemble, Glos, for storage. 


March 24 1950

Converted to TT.5 at Hawker Aircraft Ltd at Langley (Contract 6/ACFT/2485/CB.7(a) NV778

Dec 12 1950

6 MU Brize Norton, Wilts, for storage. NV778

Sept 20 1951

20 MU Aston Down, Glos, for storage. 


Oct 27 1952

233 Operational Conversion Unit, Pembrey, Wales. NV778

July 13 1955

Returned to 20 MU Aston Down, Glos, for storage. Last in service with RAF. NV778

Nov 30 1955

Transfered to the Ministry of Supply. NV778

April 1957

Complete fuselage noted in old dispersal at North Weald, Essex. NV778


Rebuilt for display during 33 Squadron's standard at Middleton St George, Durham. 5R-F/SN219

Aug 1958

Gate guardian at Middleton St. George, Durham.


Sept 1963

Moved to gate at Leeming, Yorks.


Nov 1965

RAF Museum store at Henlow, Beds.


April 1968

Refurbished by 27 MU Shawbury, Shropshire. Correct identity discovered. Roll-out on April 11 1968.



Refurbished by 71 MU. I/d stripes removed as incorrect. NV778

Nov 1972

RAF Museum Hendon, public display.


Dec 17 1991

Cardinton, Beds. Overhaul and return to TT.5.


Jan 20 2000

Moved to temporary RAF Museum facility at Wyton, Cambs.


Nov 13 2001

New RAF Museum Restoration Centre, at Cosford Shropshire.


Dec 18 2003

On display at RAF Museum, Hendon, Milestones of Flight hall as TT.5.



nv778 3

In August 2017, NV778 on ground level again for refurbishment. 




© Peter Goodearl
© Christer Landberg
James Atkinson
Text sources:
The Typhoon & Tempest Story (Chris Thomas & Christopher Shores).
FlyPast Jan 2002.
FlyPast May 2002.