Newsletter 11
Winter 2005
Updated on 18Nov2005
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents © Hawker Association

Agenda for Aerospace
Duxford Visit
Harrier First Delivery
Hawker People News
Heritage Memorial Project
HMS Invincible Retires
Last Pegasus
Programme 2005-6
Sopwith Stories
Tangmere Hawker Weekend
Unified Flight Control
In the last Newsletter Duncan Simpson recalled the first Hunter delivery to the RAF. Now he tells us the story of the first Harrier delivery...

The Harrier Conversion Team of the first four instructors selected by the RAF arrived at Dunsfold towards the end of April 1969. They were Sq Ldr Dick LeBrocq and Flt Lts Peter Dodworth, Bruce Latten and Richie Profit; all experienced Hunter pilots. After they had each completed a five hour conversion course to the Harrier at Dunsfold (organised and run by Duncan - Ed.) the first five aircraft were ready for delivery to RAF Wittering.

top top
On the evening of May 16th I joined the Team for the ferry briefing. I was to fly as No.5. Next day we strapped-in and started up, all ready to go...except for me. I found that my 'electrics' refused to come on-line. I pressed the reset button many times but to no effect. However, it just so happened that our two chase Hunters were also ready for Wittering. So, determined not to be left behind, I ran over to the Hunter Mk9 affectionately known as 'Fred', strapped-in again, took off and arrived shortly after the Harriers.

This event must go down in history as one of the lowest key first deliveries to the RAF of any new type. We were met by a few ground staff who made the necessary arrangements to help us push the Harriers into the hangar. We then discovered that the furniture for the Operational Conversion Unit offices was all stacked outside the allocated building, so we just had to set about carrying in the chairs, desks and filing cabinets.

Thus did the Harrier join the Air Force; not just a new aeroplane but the start of a new concept of operations.