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Newsletter 13
Summer 2006
Updated on 25May2006
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

Contents
Editorial
Aviation Heritage Project
Camm Bust for RAF Club
Correction
Crescent Wing More
Crescent Wing Even More
Harrier News
Hawk - First Delivery
Hawk News
Joe Turner
Members
People News
Programme
RAF Harrier Story
Sopwith Catalogue
Test Flying the Hunter
Ties
Tripartite Squadron
Walter John Biggs
Wartime Project Office
 
Duncan Simpson continues the 'first delivery' series...
 
The Hawk first flew on August 21st 1974, ten days before the Farnborough a Air Show; the first deliveries, to the RAF, took place only just over two years later on November 4th 1976. Flight development and clearance at Dunsfold went ahead on time, thanks to the team at Dunsfold led by Fred Sutton, Len Hearsey and Alan Wigginton. Flying was in the hands of Andy Jones and Jim Hawkins, the Hawk project pilots, who were A1 Flying Instructors and Weapons Instructors and had been test pilots at the A&AEE, Boscombe Down. One hundred and seventy-six aircraft had been ordered and they were going to be delivered on time!
 

Hawk -  First Delivery

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The day came for the first two deliveries and I received a call from the Commander-in-Chief of Flying Training Command, Air Marshal Sir Rex Roe. 'Joe' Roe, an old friend from Air Force days, said, "May I come with you on the first delivery?" I was delighted; it was his aeroplane after all. The flight up to RAF Valley over solid cloud cover went well with the C-in-C flying the Hawk. He began his descent but the weather at Valley, heavy rain with moderate visibility but with the cloudbase well up at 3,000 ft, was not ideal for a first arrival. The runways and perimeter track were flooded by the downpour and I volunteered to take over for the landing; Sir Rex readily agreed.
 
It had been suggested that the 'World Press' would be meeting us but as we flew overhead not a soul was to be seen. We landed with due care. The Hawk brakes were not its best feature and I had failed miserably in trying to persuade the RAF to opt for the tail parachute. We taxied in towards the appropriate wooden hut and two airmen appeared holding waterproof capes over their heads. The Station Commander, Group Captain David Thornton, emerged from the hut, bade us welcome and ushered us inside to be warmly received by his Squadron Commanders and Instructors. The 'World Press' turned out to be a little lady from the local Welsh News and the Wales representative of the Daily Telegraph! The only question was, "Would the Hawk make as much noise in the valleys as the Hunter?" The Instructors asked more serious questions and were soon clambering all over their new Hawk in the dry and quiet of the hangar. Two hours later Sqd Ldr David Young, the Operational Requirements Liaison Officer (ORLO) at Dunsfold and Air-Vice-Marshal 'Togs' Mellersh, (SASO HQTC) arrived at Valley in the second Hawk, by which time the party was well under way.
 
In 1976 we had witnessed the start of a new era in advanced flying training and now, thirty years later, we look forward to the first deliveries of the Hawk 128 to the RAF. I note that it will be fitted with a tail parachute.