Here’s the thing, after almost 30 years I am departing Flight International for pastures new. I have seven days until The Woracle’s last post. So how best to mark this momentous life change? With pictures, of course. You know The Woracle: a picture is worth 1,000 words delivered after deadline.
And where best to begin than with the first aircraft I worked on as a rookie aeronautical engineer: the Hawker Siddeley (now BAE Systems) Hawk, the last aircraft to carry the hallmark, artfully curved, Hawker fin:
Ahhh, Hawker (Crown Copyright – a Geoff Lee picture, I think)
It’s hard to express how much I love this aircraft. I helped build it (c1977). I designed the windscreen washer bottle for the Finnish Hawk…but I have no idea if a) they ever fitted it or b) it even worked. And one of my first assignments on Flight was to visit RAF Brawdy in remotest Wales with photographer Tom Hamill to see the Royal Air Force’s Hawks in action – alongside the Hawker Hunter, which was still in use back then as an aggressor aircraft. The Hawk could out-turn the Hunter, but if the fight went vertical the Hunter always won. And it was beautiful, where the Hawk is stylish.
(Crown Copyright – Geoff again)
I haven’t quite forgiven British Aerospace for sticking the long nose on today’s Hawk, or for closing Kingston and moving Hawk production to Brough. But they say if it looks right, it is right, and the Hawk’s long reign as the premier advanced jet trainer has been well deserved. It was my privilege to begin my career in aerospace alongside the people who designed this lovely machine.
John Marsden’s Hawk T1 cutaway (Flight archives)