Redbull hangár

Redbull hangár

2011. január 1., szombat

Farewell to the Harrier and the MiG-29, salute of the New Year

Year 2010 will be memorable for me from a military aviation point of view, because two of my favourite jets have been retired in to countries: the MiG-29 Fulcrum at the Hungarian Army and all types of the Harrier at the Royal Air Force.

MiG-29's display programme at Kecskemét Airshow

As for the MiG, it was evident, that I took a liking to it, as it was the star jet in Hungary before the Gripen, so it has already built into my mind in my childhood. When I heard the word ’jet’, always a MiG-29 has appeared in my mind’s eye, as the F1 car meant Senna’s red-white McLaren for me. I saw its awsome display programme at Kecskemét many times and I’ve always liked it, as it flew through in front of the public like a graceful swan or swooped down from the air like a hawk. I had the opportunity to speak with some pilots who served on the Fulcrum and they told me very interesting stories about it, thus the type has become my favourite even more. Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to admire it closer, as there was a long queue in front of plane at every airshows, when it was allowed to sit in and take some photos. I’ve never had the taste to stand about an hour for that 10 seconds what I could spend in its cockpit. This time would have not enough to inspect that cool analogous instruments.

My first closer experience with the Harrier in 2003 - the man in the overall is Mr. Wharmby the display pilot and squadron leader

It’s interesting, that I could examine the Harrier more times at close quarters. I could even sit into it and check the cockpit calmly.
I have become a fan of this jet at first sight and for no other rasons, than its uniques STOVL (short takes off and vertical landing) capability and of course because its basset hound looking J I watched it with amazement on my first Kecskemét Airshow, as it’s hovering only a few meters above the ground like a helicopter, spinning and turning above one point, bowing in front of the tribune, then buzz off like a lightning. I thought at first, what the old countryman tells in a joke, when he sees a giraffe first time in his life: ’There cannot be an animal on the earth like this!”. Then I was lost. During the past years, I came to a strange condition, when I watched its unique show and heard its engine roaring. It was the opposite what happened to me at the MiG’s dance; while at the former one the adrenalin was flooding in me and I was flying with it in my mind as  I was watching it, seeing the Harrier’s programme, my basic life functions almost stopped and I nearly forgot to breath, I was so concentrating to the spectacle. I love every version of it: the small GR-5, the mostly seen GR-7 and the GR-9, the latest development.

Refuelling the Harrier's extra fuel tank before flying home

I hold the pilots of  both jets in high esteem, as at the Fulcrum, they had to get on with an older navigation and electronics at past years’ international military exercises and at the Harrier, the pilots have to be very skilled to handle the 3 levers which control the nozzles (with two hands only). In the video below, a former test pilot explains, how to hover the Harrier:

 Source: YouTube

Otherwise Helen totally got used to it, that I ususally spend more time on the static row, in front of these jets J
The following video is from the hero era, when the Hungarian pilots won prizes for their solo display programme in Fairford, at the most prestigious military airshow in the world. You will see Gyula Vári as he is enchanting the British public. The first part of the video is mainly about the preparation to the show:

The second one is the bigger part of his display programme:

Whoever did it, many thanks for her/him for record it to the posterity. Unfortunately I didn’t find a video with a good quality about the other two prize men, Topi and Peter Kovács.

Further MiG-29 and Harrier photos can be find on this link:

But we don’t want to be sad, just look into to future optimistically. We will do our best to visit as many airshows as we can in 2011, and report about them with good texts, photos and videos. There still remained enough interesting military aircraft in the world ;-)

We would like to wish all of our readers a very successful and cheerful New Year! Helen and Gabriella