The Hawker Hunter, one of the most successful combat aircraft built in Britain, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its maiden flight on Tuesday (20 July).
The Hawker Hunter, one of the most successful combat aircraft built in Britain, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its maiden flight on Tuesday (20 July). The occasion was market by a special celebration at the British Royal Air Force (RAF) base at Brawdy in Wales.
SYNOPSIS: RAF Bradway is a tactical weapons unit and there are 60 Hunters stationed there. Pilots practise tactical sorties at the base before they pass on to fast new jets like the Jaguar. There are 17 more Hunters stationed at another base in Wales and small detachments in Gibraltar and at Laarbruch in West Germany.
The test pilot on the maiden flight in 1951 was Squadron leader Neville Duke and he was back at Brawdy for this week's celebrations. The Hunter became best known to the British public in the 1950's as the machine used by the RAF Black Arrows aerobatic team. The group had the distinction of being the only team to loop 22 aircraft in close formation.
It's the Hunter's versatility that's made it popular with air forces around the world. The aircraft can be easily reconditioned and there is now an enormous second hand market in Hunters. In fact, the manufacturers, Hawker-Siddeley, lament they cannot re-open the production line.