Hawker Siddeley (BAe), McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing Harrier AV-8S/TAV-8S & AV-8B/B+/TAV-8B


On 21 October 1960, the initial tethered flight, performed by XP831, was conducted at Dunsfold; at this stage of development, this feat had required the airframe to have been stripped of all extraneous weight and restrictions on the engine meant it could not be run for more than 2.5 minutes at a time. Several tethered flights took place, partially so that the test pilots could familiarise themselves with the hovering controls; on 4 November, the first tethered flight without use of the auto-stabiliser system was accomplished. In mid-November, conventional taxying trials were performed at speeds of up to 70 knots.
On 19 November 1960, the first un-tethered free-flight hover of XP831 was achieved; a week later, the first publicity photos of the P.1127 were released.Prior to the first flight, Hooker is claimed to have asked of Camm “I suppose you are going to do some conventional flying first Sydney?” and Camm replied “What for?” Hooker said “Well you know, just to make sure the aeroplane is a nice aeroplane, and everything under control.” Camm replied, “Oh, Hawker aeroplanes are always beautiful, nothing wrong with a Hawker aeroplane, not going to bother with that. Vertical first time”.

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On 13 February 1961, XP831 performed its first conventional flight, flown by Bill Bedford and lasting for 22 minutes.Soon after this, XP831 was refitted with a new model of the Pegasus engine, capable of generating 12,000 lb of thrust, prior to embarking on new hovering trials in May 1961. In June, XP831 attained another milestone in the program when it performed the first transition from vertical hover to horizontal flight, initially flying the length of Dunsford’s runway at a height of 50 meters.
On 7 July 1961, the second prototype, XP836, performed its first take off conventionally. Continuing tests of the two prototypes proceeded to close the gap between vertical take off and flight, a feat which was achieved on 8 September 1961.] During September, the feat was repeated multiple times by both prototypes, transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight and vice versa, including instances in which the auto-stabiliser was intentionally disabled.

 

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During the flight test program, the issuing of NATO Basic Military Requirement 3 (NBMR-3) did not prove to be the opportunity as envisioned by Hawker, as NBMR-3 sought performance characteristics of which the P.1127 was not only unable to meet, but unlikely to be developed to meet in its current form either. As such, in 1961, there was little military interest in the P.1127 program, although, in January 1961, Hawker was requested to provide a quote for the costs involved in a potential 100 production standard P.1127 aircraft. Meanwhile, Hawker believed that the continuing development of the P.1127 would serve a successful demonstration, acting to dissuade potential customers from pursuing competing ‘paper’ VTOL aircraft projects.
On 2 November 1960, the Ministry of Supply issued a contract for a further four prototypes to be produced, which were intended to develop the aircraft further towards being a realistic combat design, such as the refinement of the wing, engine improvements, and of accompanying operational equipment. Throughout this period, improved models of the Pegasus engine were rapidly developed, such as the Pegasus 3 being capable of 15,000 lbf (67 kN) of thrust. Apart from the improved powerplants, the first four P.1127 prototypes were quite similar; the fifth prototype, XP980, introduced the taller fin and tailplane anhedral which were later used on the production Harrier. The fourth machine was partially used to provide Hawker production test pilots with type familiarisation.[25] The first carrier vertical landing was performed by the first prototype on HMS Ark Royal in 1963. The last P.1127, XP984, introduced the swept wing.[25] It was eventually fitted with the 15,000 lbf (66.7 kN) Pegasus 5 and functioned as the prototype Kestrel.

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The first three P.1127s crashed, the second and third occurring during development. In 1963, the first prototype, XP831, publicly crashed at the Paris Air Show; the accident had been caused by a speck of dirt in the air feed lines of the nozzle control motor, which had caused the engine nozzles to stick. XP831 was later fully repaired and resumed development flying. All the pilots involved survived.

First generation Harriers in the Spanish Navy

The Spanish Navy’s Fleet Air Arm first squadron to be equipped, was Octava Escuadrilla, initially equipped with five AV-8S Harrier and two TAV-8S Harriers, also known (but rarely used) Matadores.
Even for the seasoned reader it may seem strange the number of aircraft assigned, as initially six of the first were acquired, one of which was never incorporated into the squadron as such, it was lost in an accident before official activation.
Previously, by OM 773/73 (Ministerial Order) of 6 December 1973 was formed the nucleus of the Octava Escuadrilla, and then on September 4, 1976 was officially activated following the enactment of the ministerial order OM 902/76.
But the Harrier was not the first fixed wing aircraft in the Spanish Navy, since few years befote the Air Arm, had two Piper Commanche and two Twin Commanche belonging to Cuarta Escuadrilla, and used as trainers, liason and hacks. Butt he Matador arrival heraled a change of name, which took place on Agust 31, 1976, when the Flotilla de Helicópteros (Helicopter Flotillla) was named Flotilla de Aeronaves, the same name as it is known actually
Also, the aircraft carrier Dédalo (ex USS Cabot) received a new hull numer, from PH 01 to PA 01). the Dédalo was renamed the helicopter carrier (PH-01) to aircraft carrier (R-01), which by the end of September of that year sailed to the United States, returning to Rota in November with the new Harriers aboard. Between June and December 1980 five additional aircraft were incorporated again in this case all single seaters, bringing the number of aircraft acquired by the Spanish Navy to thirteen (including two twoseaters)
Of these, four were lost in separate accidents, although only one pilot killed, namely the Lieutenant Cesar Jauregui Garcia on May 28, 1980 off the coast of the island of Cabrera in aircraft 008-1.

 

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Mo70 Harier

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