The Tornados Just Weren’t Playing Ball

I do love the Tornado.  It was coming in to service just when I was getting into aviation and I ended up working on handling clearances for them when I was a junior aerodynamicist.  Their retirement by the RAF was a sad thing for me but I was consoled by the fact they remain in service with the other operators.  I was looking forward to seeing some at RIAT.  I did get to see some flying at a distance on arrivals day and they taxied up our way.  Nothing too close in the air though.

I did get a chance to see them on static display which is fine but not as fun as seeing them flying.  A lot of my hopes, therefore, were focused on departures day.  The German jets were scheduled out at various times during the morning.  However, they weren’t hitting their designated times and I was getting close to needing to leave.  Eventually I realized my time had run out.  I walked back behind the FRIAT stands and popped to the facilities prior to making the drive away.  While in there, I heard a very familiar roar.  Sure enough, as soon as I was out of sight, a Luftwaffe Tornado made its departure.  The Tornado doesn’t climb fast so it was nice and low as it passed the stand – apparently.  Bum!

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