Newsletter 16
Spring 2007
Updated on 16Mar2007
Egyptian chaos
F-35 flies
Harrier - tiger on my back
Harrier news
Hawk news
Hawk vs Goshawk
Hawker apprentices
Hawker people news
Old Hawker Aircraft news
Programme for 2007
RAF Club Camm Memorial
Restored Hawker Nimrod
Restoring Hawker biplanes
Sea Harrier set to fly on
Sopwith - America's Cup
Typhoon and Tempest
Typhoon fund
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents © Hawker Association

    Art Nalls, the new owner of Sea Harrier FA2 development aircraft XZ439, originally the second development FRSMk1, writes, on 27 December 2006, about his plans for its future...
    I am a retired Marine Corps pilot and now the proud owner of XZ439. As a former squadron maintenance officer I was aware of what a rare find this aircraft was when I first laid eyes on her. She's in great shape! I've honestly flown much worse aircraft over 200 miles of the Indian Ocean and had to find my way back to a grey ship in  grey sea. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this aircraft will be flying again very soon.
    To that end I've assembled a cadre of experienced Harrier maintainers and am collating a good supply of spares, support equipment etc. Since the airplane is certificated as 'Experimental' in the US I have great latitude with modifications and can do almost anything to the airplane to make life simple.

Sea Harrier Set To Fly On

top top top top top
   I've modified the hydraulic and nitrogen connectors to be compatible with US standard, removed almost all the military equipment and will install civilian radios, and even a civilian EFIS (electronic flight information system) to replace the HUD, which all work on 28 volts DC rather than the AC that the generators provide.
    XZ439 is no longer a 'weapons system' but an airshow demonstrator. We'll add the gun pods to house a smoke system feeding the rear nozzles. I can imagine what a dramatic effect a 'flop' will be since the smoke will rotate with the nozzles.
    I have no shortage of experienced pilots willing to offer their services to fly my 'plane for me; as if I needed help to fly it - but one day I might. I have operational experience in the AV-8A, was a test pilot for the early AV-8Bs and project test pilot for the TAV-8B.
    I also have over six hours of flight time in Harriers and Skyhawks without the engine running (during air-start testing), hundreds of shipboard landings and was a test pilot for Harrier trials including high angle-of-attack tests, weapons tests, asymmetric take-off and landing tests, and shipboard ski-jump tests. I was fortunate to hit the programme when everything needed to be explored and we only had three pilots to do it all.
    XZ439 has successfully passed the FAA airworthiness inspection and the Certificate will be formally issued on 10 January 2007. It has been assigned US civil registration N94422 and only needs one more piece of paper before it is legal to fly again. That is the Letter of Authorisation to begin actual flights, and I expect that within a month. I have the second of two simulator sessions on 29 December.
    Non-believers become converts as soon as they see the actual airplane. As you might imagine, the Marines are also quite excited about this; so much so that the volunteer maintainers have sentenced me to a chair with my hands duct-taped and I'm not allowed to touch my own airplane, except in an 'official' pilot capacity. The airplane is ready, the team is ready and I'm ready!
    Our concept is to fly the XZ439 to a select few airshows in 2007, all within one short flight leg of home base which is St Mary's Airport, just outside NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The following year we'll expand our operations to shows outside that short radius, to the west coast for example, by shipping the airplane, dismantled, on two flatbed trailers. This does a couple of things: it preserves valuable engine time, it is not weather dependent, and is probably cheaper than flying. The Harrier is not the most fuel efficient aircraft, especially when I'm limited to an altitude of 17,500 ft and visual flight rules (VFR) conditions. I doubt I'll ever need the windscreen wiper again!
    Editor's Note. In answer to some questions raised by the above, Art sent the following.....
    I was a military test pilot at Pax River, having graduated from the USAF Test Pilot (TP) School with Class 85A. At that time the new AV-8B was being introduced and there was no shortage of work. In fact, I had been offered a TP job Edwards AFB while a student there but Marine Colonel Harry Blot, my former CO, told me in no uncertain terms that if I accepted a job testing for the Air Force I was to stay there and never come back to the Marines; I had been sent to Edwards to become a qualified TP so had better get back to work for the Marines!
    I was the project officer for the ski-jump testing aboard ship. The first ship was the Italian Navy Garibaldi, with a 6 deg ramp, designed specifically for Harriers. The ship must have been designed by someone who had never actually been aboard a fighting ship - centre deck elevators, centre hangar bay with passages round the outside, fuel lines running round the ship perimeter, no deck-edge scuppers and no lights - but it does look good!
    Anyway, we did the tests and provided the launch bulletin for them. The second ship was the Spanish Navy Principe de Asturias with a 12 deg ramp. This had a much better configuration being based on the unbuilt US designed Sea Control Ship sponsored by Admiral Zumwalt, USN.
    The ski-jump so impressed me that I authored several technical papers and was a huge advocate for the USMC to push the USN to install it in our amphibious ships (LHDs). We could then use the single flight deck as essentially two runways; the helos launching from the stern, the Harriers from the bow. There is nothing that can be loaded on a Harrier that it can't take off with from 400 ft with 15 knots wind over deck - absolutely nothing - and the flight deck is 800 ft long on the LHDs.
    Doubled take off performance, increased inherent safety from the launch trajectory and no moving parts. Seemed like a no-brainer to me but the USN didn't want to jeopardise their big deck carriers. I even attempted to orchestrate a cross-deck operation with the Russian ski jump ship Tiblisi.
    Towards the end of my flight testing career I conceived and got official approval to take a test team to Russia to explore the YAK-141 supersonic VSTOL fighter and to fly and report on the YAK-38 Forger. I was the first western TP to do this.
    Editors Note. I'm sure I speak for all Hawker Association Members when I wish Art the very best of luck in this exciting and ambitious project. Who knows; one day we may see him and XZ439 doing a season of UK and European airshows. What a thrill that would be!