Tag Archives: jaguar

Tornados and a Jag – My Old Handling Buddies

In my days in the aerodynamics department at Warton, I spent time working on the current aircraft handling section.  This included a number of types but the main focus was on jaguar and Tornado work.  When we were walking around the hangars at Duxford, there were examples of both jets on display.  The Tornado was a big part of what I worked on and I had always loved the jet as it was coming in to service at the time I was getting interested in aircraft.  The GR4 version is on display.

The Jaguar had been around a long time when I was getting into planes and the Tornado ended up replacing the Jaguars in the RAF Germany strike role.  The jet continued for a lot longer though and got some decent upgrades late in life.  I had a great time climbing over a jet in the hangar at Warton as we were looking at clearing a new store on the overwing pylon.  A lot of fun!

An Exotic Collection of Cars

B11I7246.jpgThe dinner at Eagle Field was held in the large hangar.  Not only does this accommodate planes but it also seems to be the home to a lot of cars.  Jaguars of a variety of vintages were kept there in various states of repair.  Out the back were even more cars.  These were not usually looking too healthy but there were some things I have not seen before.  Whether it was an old Renault or and Armstrong Siddeley, they were there gathering valley dust and withering slowly under the harsh sunlight that this area has a lot of!

Desert Pink Jets (and not jets)

wpid13510-03-0303.jpgMy friend, Ben, put some pictures on Facebook of a Jaguar being restored in Arizona that is being painted in the desert pink colors that were used during the first Gulf War.  I worked a little on Jags in my days at BAe and have always thought it was a cool jet.  It is nice to see one showing up in restoration over here.  It triggered a discussion between a few of us about the colors that were used at that time.

wpid13500-02-0701.jpgIn 1991, I went to Mildenhall for the, then annual, Air Fete.  The Air Fete went away a while back and now it looks like Mildenhall itself will follow into the realms of “once upon a time”.  However, there was a time when the Air Fete was possibly the premier military air show in the UK.  For a while it was a regular feature of my year.  (The weekend before my university finals started was I a) studying hard at college or b) at Mildenhall for the show?  I was studying aeronautical engineering so surely it counted?)

wpid13494-02-0601.jpgThis was the first big show after the end of the war in the gulf and a lot of the aircraft that were on display were pretty much unchanged.  This included the desert colors that had been applied in a hurry along with mission markings and less official images that the crews had painted.  One of the Tornados on display showed how quickly things had been done.  They had painted the jet with the flight refueling probe still attached which, when removed, left a grey patch amongst the pink on the front fuselage.

wpid13502-02-0801.jpgNot everything was pink.  The tankers that went over had already adopted a hemp color in the previous years so they were already quite well prepared.  Also, a Chinook was on display that had a mottled finish that was supposedly the result of being used for special forces missions.

wpid13508-03-0302.jpgNeedless to say, most of these colors were pretty quickly removed as the aircraft where cleaned up after their return and put through some deeper maintenance and the rapid war modifications either removed or upgraded to a clear condition.  (Lots of mods were done under a “war only” approval.  They were less likely to kill you then the opposition but hadn’t gone through the full clearance process.  They weren’t approved for peacetime use until a more thorough evaluation had been done.  Of course, we had a fair bit of testing experience to do the clearances with given how much they had flown in theater!)

wpid13498-02-0604.jpgThe pictures are scanned from old negatives so not fantastic but they are a snapshot of an interesting time!

wpid13496-02-0602.jpg wpid13504-02-0802.jpg