Wing Span: 38' 5"
Length: 34' 7"
Max Speed: 460 mph
Gross Weight: 12,500 lbs
Power Plant: Pratt & Whitney
One of the fastest piston engine aircraft ever built,
Hawker's magnificent Sea Fury/Fury has always had the
ability to inspire awe amongst everyone from airport
kids to jet fighter pilots. It continues to attract fans
at airshows and air races around the world and leaves
most other aircraft of the era well behind.
Hawker was designated to work on the land-based
version, the Fury, and responsibility for the naval
conversion was assigned to Boulton-Paul Aircraft Ltd. In
April of 1944 contracts were placed for 200 aircraft for
each the Royal Air Force and Fleet Air Arm. The first
Sea Fury prototype flew on February 21, 1945, but the
first full naval version with folding wings did not fly
until October 12, 1947.
The Sea Fury was to see significant involvement in
the Korean War, mainly in the ground attack role
alongside the Fairey Firefly. The aircraft also had the
distinction of shooting down a Mig-15, the first by a
piston engine fighter, this being achieved by an 802
Squadron aircraft flown by Lt. P. Carmichael on August
Hawker Sea Fury FB. 11, N19SF "Argonaut", was
originally delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy as TG114
in May 1947. Frank Sanders of Chino, California acquired
it in 1970 and used parts from it for other restoration
projects. It was transferred to Sanders Aircraft in 1990 and was rebuilt based on the
cockpit section of Sea Fury TG114 (former N232J) which
was itself restored from parts of VR918 and VR919. Its
Bristol Centaurus engine was replaced with a Wright
R-3350-26WD radial engine, driving a Douglas Skyraider
propeller, and first flew after restoration on July 30,
1994. It was named "Argonaut" and assigned race number
In the past, numerous people have asked about the
possibility of installing the Pratt & Whitney R-2800,
well known for its outstanding record of dependability.
After doing a comparison between the two engines we decided to convert “Argonaut” to an R-2800
Conversion was scheduled to start after Reno, but
after the word got out, the interest was to the point
that we started sooner. When comparing the two engines,
it can be seen that the numbers are fairly close and the
dependability becomes the overriding factor in
converting to the R-2800.
Sanders Aeronautics is now in a position
to offer conversion kits or in house conversions of the
Sea Fury to Pratt & Whitney R-2800 power. Please feel free to contact us if you are
interested in a conversion or restored R-2800 powered
On April 19, 2011 Dennis Sanders took Argonaut on a
successful 20 minute first flight with the new Pratt &
Whitney R-2800 CB3. Argonaut was inspected after the
flight and Brian Sanders then flew Argonaut on it's
second flight later that afternoon. Both reported that
the R-2800 CB3 engine pulled as hard as the old R-3350
and the aircraft handled very well.
A 10 hour test flight schedule started on May 21,
2011. Prior to the days first flight, three separate
power runs were made, with the last being a full power
check. The oil screens were checked and everything was
good for the test flights to begin. Brian Sanders flew
the first flight with Dennis in the SX 300 chase plane.
The engine and airplane performed perfectly. All engine
parameters were reported in the green and Brian said
that the engine was running very smooth and strong at
all power settings. The oil screens were then checked
and Dennis Sanders took Argonaut up for the second test
flight that day.
The Sanders brothers, Dennis and Brian, are renowned
experts in the field of Sea Furies and aircraft
restoration in general. "Argonaut" has been equipped with
smoke generators on both wing tips, allowing it to
visually demonstrate the effects of wing tip vortices
and its awesome performance while performing warbird
aerobatics at select airshows.
Over the years, "Argonaut" has also been a regular
Unlimited participant at the National Championship Air
Races, "the world's fastest motor sport", held every
September in Reno, Nevada. This
immaculate aircraft has relatively few race
modifications. To keep oil temps under control, spray
bars are used on the oil cooler, and it is also equipped
with an ADI system, allowing it to run a typical race
power setting of 61 in.Hg. Abs at 2,800 rpm.
Argonaut Smoke Test Video