Sad news in the air show scene for the US is the announcement that Art Nalls has put his Harriers up for sale. Art did an amazing thing by buying a retired Royal Navy Sea Harrier and getting it airworthy and then displayed on the air show circuit for a number of years. He also bought a two seater which is apparently close to being flight ready. I was lucky to spend a lot of time with Art and the team both at shows and also visiting them in Maryland.
His hangar there also includes an ex-RAF Harrier GR3 which has a lot of common parts with the SHAR so could be used for bits he needed from time to time. The support team had a bunch of Harrier experience from the Marine Corps and various ex-RN individuals also got involved over time – not harmed by many people deployed to Pax River on the F-35B program coming from a SHAR background. Maybe someone will pick the jets up and take them forward but Art has other things to work on now and they are not part of the future for him. Here is a selection of shots I have got over the years of the team at work and the jet displaying.
Another flashback post today. This one is an old Farnborough airshow and it included a rather large flying contribution from the Royal Navy. I don’t now recall exactly why the Navy was so committed to this show. This wasn’t even on the public show days when the display is often modified for the public from the format used for the trade days.
The main element of the display was six Sea Harriers. These were FRS1 models prior to the F/A2 upgrade program. The aircraft took off in groups of three and included a formation hovering routine with the jets arrayed along the runway providing a jet in front of most of the viewing crowd. Some fast flying was also a part of the display of course.
Helicopters also contributed to the display and the low speed capabilities of the Harrier meant that it was possible to combine the fixed and rotary elements together in one formation. The whole thing made quite an impression as a recall. The sound of six hovering Harriers was certainly enough to give the eardrums a workout!
I have spent time with Art Nalls and his Team SHAR at various events over the years but it had been a while since we had last crossed paths. Therefore, it was good to see Art and the guys again at Gary for the Chicago Air and Water Show. This year has been a busy year for the team. Not only have they got themselves well established on the show circuit but the lack of military participation has meant a relatively modern fast jet is in high demand to fill the gap left by the normal front line fighters. Add to that, the difference that a Harrier brings and you can see why their calendar has been filling up.
I caught up with Art early in the day and ended up running some errands with him for a while. However, I didn’t want to miss other acts on the ground so left them for a while to do some other stuff. I did get back later in the day and chatted to the guys for a while and watched the launch and recovery. With the jet on the ground, I also took the time to get some shots of it while no one was working on it. On the final day of the show, I did head back to the beach to try and catch it in action too.
It was, as always, great to hang out with the team. They did a great job and closed out the show nicely. I hope it isn’t as long before I next see them!