Like me, I’m sure that many youngsters with an aviation interest grew up dreaming of flying the fast jets. Also like me, I’ll wager that many never stopped long to think about the learning involved in flying those fast jets. I didn’t give it much thought until I spent time at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, where I met, and fell in love with, the Jet Provost, or ‘Jay Pee’ as she is forever to be known. Pleasing to the eye and a joy to fly, the JP was a product of the heyday of British aviation. It was a development of the piston-engined Provost, and one of the final designs from Hunting Percival Aircraft, before the company became part of the powerful British Aircraft Corporation (BAC).
First flown in 1954 she trained thousands of future front line pilots and I have yet to meet a JP pilot, either past or present, who doesn’t enjoy flying with her. She was so popular with pilots that a weapons capable version was developed, called the Strikemaster. Sadly the type was retired in 1993 but many found their way into the hands of civilian pilots. Most are privately owned and sometimes are displayed at airshows. If you ever get an offer to fly in one, take it!
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