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A rare chance to buy an iconic piece of British engineering

15 November 2016

Jet Art Aviation has completed an 18 month long restoration of a 1976 Hawker Harrier GR3, serial number XZ130, which is now for sale to the general public!

1976 Hawker Harrier GR3 (Credit: Jet Art Aviation)

The aircraft previously served with 4 Sqn in Germany, 1 Sqn, 3 Sqn, 233 OCU, 1453 Flight in the Falklands in 1982. This has been the company’s most in depth and adventurous restoration yet and the end result is stunning. 

More than 2,000 man hours have been spent on the transformation and restoration which was split into two key phases. The first phase was spent on mechanical work and sourcing many parts and components culminating in a successful ground run and systems check where the Rolls Royce Pegasus engine was started for the first time in 25 years in March 2016. At the moment of truth, the engine spun into life with a puff of smoke then ran sweet as a nut for the duration of the 4-and-a-half-minute test during which the engine was taken up to 35 percent thrust and the movement of the variable incidence engine nozzles were tested (which in flight give the harrier its unique ability to hover). The initial smoky start which allowed for a striking photo opportunity was expected as the engine and APU had been inhibited in 1990 with preservative oils. Once that burnt off after a few seconds the engine ran sweetly without missing a beat. 

What makes this achievement even more impressive is the fact that the aircraft had stood outside for a decade as a gate guardian for a London Air Cadet Squadron not far from the Kingston Hawker factory where the jet was built. The time outside had not degraded the aircraft and the fact that she started first time is a testament to the British engineering and build quality. The Ministry Of Defence tendered the aircraft off to the highest bidder in November 2014. 

Phase two of the restoration was cosmetic, a full repaint in gloss with service markings applied as she last flew including the 4 Sqn special yellow lightning flash red and black fin and pilot’s name on the starboard side of the cockpit. The name reads ‘Capt. L Y Ching’ the ex USAF exchange pilot whose name was on this machine when serving at Gutterslough.

1976 Hawker Harrier GR3 (Credit: Jet Art Aviation)

The aircraft is now for sale in what is believed to be the first time anyone has offered a Harrier GR3 of this calibre for sale to the general public. The aircraft was rolled out for an end of project photo shoot on 6 July, a video of which can be found on their website and YouTube channel. 


XZ130 had a fairly interesting service life: First flown in 1976 she was delivered to 20 Sqn. Later serving with 4 Sqn, 1 Sqn, 3 Sqn, 233 OCU, 1453 Flight in the Falklands in 1982 finally finishing her days at an instructional aircraft at RAF Cosford. A large percentage of the aircraft’s service life was in Germany as part of the RAF cold war deterrent. The aircraft was last flown on: 31/8/90 by Flt Lt Jon Herrod. Total aircraft hrs is: 3336, XZ130’s last flight was in 1990 when the type was retired from RAF Service. The aircraft then spent 15 years as an instructional aircraft at the RAF Number 1 school of Technical Training.

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