Ollie takes his last flight int he "Big Fin"
After 4 years and 900 hours on the Tornado GR4 my time on the aircraft came to an end on April 18th 2017. I'd always wanted to fly the Tornado and had pictures of it on the wall when I was growing up so to be able to fly it was literally a dream come true. It's not a difficult aircraft to fly but as with anything of it's era it had a number of quirks that you got to know over the years.
For my last flight I was meant to fly a pair of aircraft, myself leading but as is the way sometimes with aircraft of this vintage the second aircraft broke so I had to go on my own. My WSO was 'Lamby' one of my best mates that I essentially went through my entire career with so it was nice to do my final trip with him.
The route took us from Marham at low level before passing over Rutland water and Bruntingthorpe before routing under all the airspace that runs along the spine of the country. Once the other side of the 'shark infested custard' we took a route out towards Hereford and then into Wales and towards the high ground. Once in Wales valley flying was the order of the day and we traveled from south to north and went twice round the 'Mach Loop' then hung a right to fly up lake Bala then left to 'playboy' and then north west through the A5 pass. We then double backed on ourselves making our way southwards before pulling up and taking the Lichfield radar corridor back to the North Norfolk coast. Here we did some acceleration runs from 230kts to 550kts ending with a vertical pull out just to prove the Tornado can still shift!
With that it was back to Marham for an airfield attack and one last landing as the sun was setting. I will very much miss the Tornado, not just the aircraft but the people most of all that made my first tour so memorable.
LAST FLIGHT IN THE "BIG FIN"