Thanks to Mark Gerrard for the following, dated 22 May 2006...
XZ439 has been purchased by Art Nalls, a former USMC Harrier pilot,
reportedly through a deal negotiated by Richard Goode. Initial
information was that the aircraft was to be based at Cherry Point but
it has shown up at St Mary's County Airport in Maryland, close to
Patuxent River NAS, as advised to me by Matt Trenholme. Matt works for
QinetiQ and is on the JSF programme at Pax. Matt went to see the
aircraft and met Mr Nalls who is, as you might expect, very
enthusiastic about getting her in the air again. XZ439 will fly at
reduced weight with no radar, weapons system or wing pylons and Art
plans to replace the military standard comms stuff with civilian
equipment. He reckons to reduce the weight by about 1500 lbs and wants
to have a crack at the time-to-height record. Matt has recommended a
careful working out of the weight and cg!
Thanks also to John Farley and Mike Laker who provided information for the following...
Harrier FA2, XZ439 was purchased from the Defence Sales Agency in
October 2005 and was then shipped to the USA. Art Nalls is a very
experienced former USMC operational and test pilot on AV-8As and Bs. He
is well known on the US air show circuit with his L-39 Albatross and
Yak-3. After US FAA Certification in the Experimental category Art
hopes to be able to operate his FA2 from MCAS Cherry Point, North
Carolina, home for USMC Harriers from the start of the AV-8A programme.
He has already recruited experienced Harrier ground crew.