Hawker Hunter: Once Upon A Magnificent British Post War Fighter
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Hawker Hunter: Once Upon A Magnificent British Post War Fighter

Hawker Hunter: Once Upon A Magnificent British Post War Fighter

'Miss Demeanour' flying above a De Havilland Sea Vixen

Undoubtedly one of the existing examples of the leading role of British technology in the aviation industry, the Hawker Hunter maybe an enduring static display in aviation museums around the world but remains an elegant fighter in its class to those who were able to chance upon seeing it in airshows flying in all its glory.

Some 70 years ago, the British supremacy in showing to the world the second jet engine instead of a piston engine powering a fighter as shown in the Gloster G.40 Pioneer was the only edge the Allies have opposed to the same technology which have found its way first in Hitler’s arsenal with the Heinkel He 178.

The Hawker Hunter follows the lead in the evolution of the jet fighter long before the US (benefitting from what remained of German technology seized after the war) managed to come up with its own designs thereby taking the lead in the long run. But such leadership didn’t pushed through without considering that the British still made more advances with the first commercial jet airliner (DH Comet) and the nuclear capable Cold War bomber (Avro Vulcan)which demonstrated a flying wing design years before another similar concept managed to take off to the American skies making a trend out of the word “stealth” on the air and incorporating the technology in military aviation as we see today.

Sydney Camm aside from designing the phenomenal Hawker Hurricane which provided close air support to the Supermarine Spitfire during the Battle of Britain in World War II was seen as the instrumental figure behind Hawker Hunter's design owing to his position as chief designer of Hawker Aircraft after the war. The first batch of Hunters took the British skies on 16 May 1953 barely two years after the first flight of three prototypes. Powered by one Rolls Royce Avon turbojet engine, the Hunter F.1s types attained a maximum speed of 1,140 km/h (708 mph). A mid-wing aircraft incorporating a swept back wing profile, it was also one of the first British jet powered aircraft to venture the air intake at the wing root typical of the earlier De Havilland Sea Vampire, De Havilland Sea Venom, and the later De Havilland Sea Vixen.

Hawker Hunters served with the RAF as a jet interceptor from 1954 to 1963 and much longer with other armed forces around the world. Its subsonic speed made it inferior to later supersonic fighter designs which have gone to exceed speeds at twice the speed of sound. The Swiss Air Force topped the list of Hawker Hunter users which retired their fleet of the type in 1993 after allowing the Hunters to serve for 37 years.

'Miss Demeanour' taken at last day of Bournemouth Air Festival

At present Hawker Hunters in airworthy condition still continue to thrill crowds in airshows all around UK where most of it were kept in flying condition and in any airshow around the world per request. Team Viper is one such display team utilizing a number of Hawker Hunters piloted by pilots from Royal Air Force. Another privately owned type donning a colorful paint scheme dubbed “Miss Demeanour” is a familiar eye-catcher at airshows. Owned and piloted by Jonathan Whaley under his company Heritage Aviation Developments, Ltd. she had once served with a fighter squadron in Germany before being utilized for ground instruction prior to her disposal. Her fate wasn't meant for an end however and despite being kept in a hangar in her less hectic schedules, chances are we may still be fortunate to see her fly. A week ago I had just my strange luck to take a snapshot of her up close.

Reference:

pp. 212-213, Fighter: Technology, Facts, History by Ralf Leinburger

pp. 64-65, Daily Echo Official 2011 Commemorative Programme, Bournemouth Air Festival

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Comments (12)

Good facts about Hawker Hunter, kabayan. She is very beautiful too.

Very well composed and interesting article.

Another great piece of work.

Very interesting article. I always find them interesting. Well done. Voted up.

Very interesting! Voted up!

Great read, thanks deep blue.

I don't know much about aircraft, but this was a fascinating article!

I love watching the RAF perform whenever I get a chance... great photo! Voted and promoted.

Another great one Will.

Really enjoy reading your articles and viewing the awesome pics! Already voted up...just had to add my comment. Thanks

Excellent article and beautiful pictures

Your prowess as an aviation historian shines forth here like a 10kW floodlight.

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