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Newsletter 19
Winter 2008
Updated on 10Feb2008
Contents
Editorial
Betty Bore Praises Pension Trustees
Committee Member RAeS Award
Fifty-Five Years Of Flying
Hawker Association Future
Information Requests
Members
News Harrier
News Hawk
News Hunter
News Lightning II
Riverside Spectacular
Sea Hawk And Cygnet Memories
Thomas H Miller USMC
XZ439 Sea harrier Help Needed
XZ439 Sea harrier Update

Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved Hawker Association
 
    During 2007 steady progress was made in getting Sea Harrier FA.2 XZ439 up to airshow standard. New radios, a GPS and Stencil ejection seat were amongst the major changes introduced, the latter requiring only minor machining to the rails. Engine runs revealed the usual sorts of minor problems which were duly resolved. Art Nalls himself managed some USMC simulator rides in preparation for the big day.
    Art made the first flight from St Mary's Airport, Maryland, on 10 October 2007. The undercarriage was not retracted on this flight. A second flight on 11 October, however, did not end entirely happily. This time the undercarriage was retracted soon after take-off and after some 12 minutes a 'HYD 1' warning came up. Art selected undercarriage down but all indications were red - undercarriage not locked down - although the landing light was illuminated. In spite of positive and negative g manoeuvres the undercarriage indications remained 'unlocked'. After diverting to Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center (Pax River) Art carried out a gentle vertical landing on the VTOL grid but the nose gear and starboard outrigger collapsed and the nose fell violently to the ground.
Sea harrier XZ439 Update

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    In Art's own words, "The nose gear collapse caught me completely by surprise since the landing light was illuminated and we thought the gear was locked down despite the unsafe indication. I should have given it one more hard yank in the pattern. The fall was quite violent. I'm fortunate I didn't kill myself on the HUD since the harness was not locked (I've added that to the check list).
    My first thought was, 'I'm dead". My second thought was, 'The seat will fire any second.' When it didn't I safed it and looked for fire; there was none. I thought I had broken my back so I wiggled my toes. They worked just fine. I didn't see any fuel seeping, no flames and the engine didn't sound bad.
    My next thought was to transmit that I was fine, so I transmitted that on the radio and secured the engine, the batteries, and started a manual egress. I took my time since my neck did ache and I didn't want to cause any damage to my spine.
    My first words were, 'These sumbitches almost land themselves!' The ground crew knew that if I could make a joke just after banging my own Harrier, we'd be OK."
    Fortunately damage appeared to be minimal and replacements for the radome, nose gear doors, starboard air data probe and VHF aerial were despatched from the UK. The Sea Harrier was lifted onto its wheels for towing back to St Mary's by road for repairs.
    A hydraulic leak was found in a cracked hydraulic line that had been modified, apparently for flight test instrumentation, with a blue 'tee' piece that had been capped off. A new pipe is to be made and the hydraulic pump is being checked. During this enforced down-time the HUD will be removed and an EFIS (electronic flight instrument system) installed, the windscreen washer fluid tank will be removed as will redundant radar system items.
    Art says, "We did quite a bit of good stuff in only two flights: cg acceptable with full internal fuel at 4g and 359 knots to hover; hover capability acceptable; pilot hover performance acceptable; short field performance very acceptable and safe from civilian airfield." He hopes to fly again in February or March.