XM414 finished its operational service with No. 7 FTS based at Church Fenton in Yorkshire in 1988 after which it was sent to No.1 School of Technical Training at Halton where it received the Maintenance Number 8996M. It remained at Halton for a number of years until it was purchased by Castlereagh Borough Council for a project known as The Flight Experience Workshop (The FEW). When the project folded XM414 went into storage at the Castlereagh Hills Golf Club premises.
In 2003 the UAS was approached by Castlereagh Borough Council and asked if it would be prepared to look after the aircraft on 'long-term' loan, the aircraft having been on loan ever since.
XM414 still carries the markings of its last service with the RAF, No.7 FTS.
Designed from the outset as an 'ab initio' trainer to replace the piston-engined Provost from which it was developed, the Jet Provost served with the RAF in three different 'Marks' i.e. the 3, 4 and 5. the latter having a completely redisigned nose and pressurised cockpit.
It was a side-by-side two seat trainer powered by a single Bristol Siddeley Viper 102 turbojet rated at 1750 lbs thrust. It was developed as a private venture and was first flown on 26th June 1954.
Eight Mark 1's were ordered for evaluation, the last machine serving as the prototype Mk2. however, the Mk3 version was the first to be ordered in quantity and eventually some 200 aircraft were ordered to equip the RAF's Flying Training Schools.
Later in its career whenever Hunting became part of the British Aircraft Corporation - BAC developed the type into a multi-role combat aircraft known as the 'Strikemaster' and enjoyed considerable overseas sales in Saudi Arabia, South Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, Botswana, Singapore, Kenya, New Zealand, Ecuador and Sudan.
Photo: Mark J. Cairns