After some delays and difficulties, the Eurofighter Typhoon is entering service with the air forces of the partner nations.

Squadron Leader David 'Charlie' Chan became the first frontline RAF pilot to solo in the Typhoon on 9 February. Chan, the commanding officer of No 17 (Reserve) Squadron - the RAF's Typhoon Operational Evaluation Unit - made two flights, the first to RAF Leuchars in Scotland and RAF Leeming in Yorkshire, and the second to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, thereby visiting all three of the UK's air defence airfields, and Typhoon's future bases.

Chan flew from BAE Systems' Warton Aerodrome, where Typhoon's entry to service is being managed under Case White with BAE Contractor Support Services providing support.


This allows the RAF to take advantage of the experience and knowledge built up by industry during the design and development of the aircraft.

After his flight an ebullient Chan said: "For me personally it was a very exciting moment. More importantly, however, it represented a major milestone for the Royal Air Force, as we have RAF pilots flying RAF Typhoons.

"I have no doubt that, in the near future, the frontline pilots operating this aircraft will be delighted with both the capabilities and performance of the Typhoon. But, to bring Typhoon into operational service with the RAF, the hard work starts now."

Since Chan's flight, Squadron Leader Wil Hockenhul, one of his flight commanders, has also flown solo in the Typhoon. Sixteen RAF pilots - six from No 17 (R) Squadron and 10 from No 29 (R) Squadron - have now flown the aircraft.


Source: Flight Daily News