Friday, 29 October 2010


Another of British aviation's finest is now heading for the scrapheap. The Harrier is nearly as old as I am, but it's still a very formidable aircraft, probably one of the best close air support platforms ever and I do not comprehend the logic behind scrapping it!
Design started in 1957, I was 2 and it entered service when I was 14 years old; ever since then it has wowed everyone, not just aviation enthusiasts, a real crowd pleaser, this 'jump jet' and the Vulcan was what my now departed dad always wanted to see on the airshow list.
I remember being totally gobsmacked seeing Harriers for the first time at Farnborough, they just rose up out of the trees at the far side of the airfield during an airfield attack to see off the marauding Sea Vixens (Simon's Circus, 890 squadron display team I think). I am still just as impressed seeing them screaming through the Mach loop in appalling weather piloted by the RAF's finest. I have also spent long hours at various bases photographing them.
RAF Cottesmore has been their home since the departure of the Tri-national Tornado training unit in 1999, I have been there many times and not always seen much activity, so it was joyous that this weeks 'pilgrimage' was like a private airshow for the above average number of spotters gathered for another sad-eyed fix of a favourite jet.
It was the best day I've had at the base, 9 aircraft flew including a 2 seat T10, all the pilots gave a friendly wave before deafening us, the smell of burnt kerosene tingled in my nostrils and a few tears rolled down my cheeks too, my dad would have loved that day as much as I did!