On Monday 31st July 2006, Canberra PR.9’s XH134 and XH135 arrived at Kemble Airfield to their new owners and at exactly 11:58hrs, XH131 followed them into Kemble, making it the final flight of the type in RAF service. XH131 and XH135 were both initially purchased by Nigel Spurr who shortly after sold them to XH134’s owner, Mike Davis and were looked after by Delta Jets.
Initially there was a plan to restore the aircraft and lease them back but this didn’t work out.
XH131 was purchased by the Ulster Aviation Society with the help of the Lottery Heritage Fund, meaning the oldest example of a Canberra would return to where they were built.
Mike Davis then came up with a new plan to return XH134 to the air with XH135 providing the spare parts needed to restore her. Despite this, 135 still made an appearance in the 2010 Cotswold Airshow at Kemble Airfield, with 134 conducting a fast-taxi run down the runway.
On Friday 19th July 2013, seven years after her ‘final flight’, XH134 took to the air after an extensive 2 year restoration by C2 Aviation Ltd based at Kemble. She also made it, the same day, to The Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the static display.
Mike Davis formed the ‘Midair Squadron’ team and also added two Hawker Hunter T7’s (XL600/G-VETA and XL577/G-BXKF). On 2nd September 2013, they were rolled out in their new silver classic schemes – allegedly leaving room for sponsorship logos if necessary. Their old liveries (including XH134’s special tail and XL577’s Blue Arrows scheme) have been digitally mapped, allowing them to be returned to their former glory at a later date.
Saturday 1st March 2014 saw XH134 conduct some winter training over the airfield with two sorties. The first flown by David Piper (Who flew XH131 into Kemble) and the second by Mike Leckey. Both pilots will fly here throughout her first display season.