Based in Yorkshire, Jet Art Aviation specialise in the supply of ex-military aircraft, museum aircraft, aircraft engines, cockpit sections, ejector seats, aircraft spares, movie props and collectables.
They are also a specialist disposal contractor for aircraft/aircraft parts; undertake aircraft/component restoration work, aircraft engineering, aircraft transportation and logistical work to individual customer requirements. They aim to provide a unique service by offering a combination of items and services which you just can’t get anywhere else.
When we spoke to Jet Art Aviation they kindly gave us some information about a few of their aircraft that have been restored. We thought the best way to show you what they do is to show case their aircraft and stories written from their own words so, here goes.
To begin with we shall look at the pictured Harrier GR3 XZ130 and then we shall take a look at the Tornado F2A ZD902 before finishing off with my favourite, the F104 Starfighter. I must stress that all information has been taken from Jet Art Aviation Website and through communication with their staff.
Harrier GR3 XZ130
1980. After months of deteriorating relationships between NATO and the Soviet Union and escalating skirmishes on the border between East and West Germany the USSR began amassing tank and mechanised infantry divisions at strategic locations all along the border. Eventually the unthinkable happened and the Cold War became hot. On the 8th May thousands of tanks and APCs punched through the lightly defended border positions and began a breakout across the Northern German Plain. The horde of T72s, T64s and T62s formed the seemingly unstoppable armoured fist that the Western powers had feared ever since the closing days of WW2.
On the run up to the beginning of the war RAF Germany had dispersed its Harrier squadrons from Gutersloh and Wildenrath to forward locations and now they found themselves at the very tip of NATO’s attempts to halt the Soviet armoured thrust. Whilst fighters fought desperate air battles high above them the GR3s carried out wave after wave of sorties to destroy AFVs with rockets and bombs. The missions are brief but intense and casualty rates are high. Crews are flying multiple missions per day, their V/STOL capabilities are critical because it allows them to fly three missions for every one by ground attack aircraft based further away from the front line. Time and time again front line troops are saved from being overrun by prompt intervention by the RAF GR3s. …
Thankfully this scenario never played out but although the GR3 didn’t go up against Warsaw Pact forces it did go to war in the Falklands, as well as deployments to other locations such as Germany, Norway and Belize. Our example saw service with 4 squadron in Germany, as well as 1 sqn, 3 sqn, 233 OCU and 1453 Flight in the Falklands. After leaving service the aircraft ended up in spending 15 years at RAF Number 1 school of Technical Training being manhandled by young recruits such as our very own Managing Director Chris before finally ending up sitting outside London Air Cadet Squadron. When we took ownership XZ130 was in surprisingly good condition considering all that time sat out in the elements but has nevertheless been the subject of an 18 month, 2000 hour restoration by Jet Art Aviation. We have carried out a full repaint in a beautiful gloss finish and applied the same markings she had when last in service with 4 squadron, complete with yellow lightning flash, red and black fin and ex USAF exchange pilot Captain L Y Ching’s name down the side of the cockpit. But the result is not just cosmetically pristine, this machine is alive. Just as much effort has gone into sourcing all the missing components and making her mechanically complete as went into that stunning external finish.
In March 2016 we carried out a successful ground run and systems check which included starting up the Rolls Royce Pegasus for the first time in 25 years! The engine and APU had been coated in preservative oils and once this burnt off the engine ran perfectly and was taken up to 35% thrust for several minutes – we even operated the variable incidence nozzles. We shared this moment of glory on various social media sites and the response was incredible (30k hits within 24 hours and now well over 100k) which once again proves just how popular the Harrier is around the world.
XZ130 is now available for sale and we believe this is the first time anyone has put a Harrier GR3 of this calibre on the open market. As you may have seen in our recent social media updates this is Jet Art Aviation’s 10 year anniversary and XZ130, our most in depth and ambitious project, is a fitting milestone achievement for a company that has developed a long standing association with the Harrier. This is the latest in a long line of restorations that Jet Art has carried out and we are proud of every single aircraft project we’ve completed but XZ130 really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own an incredible piece of British aviation history in ground running condition.
Tornado F2A ZD902
December saw an exciting new addition to the Jet Art stable. Our mission was to dismantle, load, extract and transport 250 miles by road our latest acquisition; the pristine Tornado F2A ZD902 also known as ‘TIARA’ (Tornado Integrated Avionics Research Aircraft). I don’t know about you but for starters the name Tiara is certainly doing it for me! TIARA is a very special and rare variant Tornado, the trials work she conducted contributed hugely to avionics evaluation and development for a host of aircraft such as the Sea Harrier, Eurofighter and Tornado as well as testing exciting new technology in experimental trials such as airborne control of UAVs. More about her history later but it’s safe to say she did great things!
RB199 Afterburning Turbofan engines installed. The best and most unusual thing about our new arrival is that she is basically complete, in superb condition with ridiculously low airframe hours. Yes that’s engines installed, APU, Gearboxes, Avionics, Hydraulics etc. The Cockpit is also in superb order kitted out with state of the art avionics having been modified with 3x multi-function displays and a holographic head up display. No other Tornado has a cockpit like it, this is one of a kind – unique.
First flown in 1984 and delivered to the Royal Air Force -as a F2 specification Tornado ADV (Air Defence Variant) she was one of only 18 F2s built. Rare then you might say but it does not stop there. These 18 F2 Tornados were scheduled for upgrade to F2A standard which was in essence the F3 but with the older RB.199 103 engines (same as the ones used in the original GR1 ground attack version) but in the end only ZD902 airframe was converted making this the only F2A variant in the world. With the majority of ADV Tornado aircraft being ‘reduced to produced’ spare parts and in essence corporately scrapped this jet is now an endangered species as far as aircraft preservation goes and a real rare beastie bound to have serious investment value for the future. What you are looking at in all seriousness is basically the last virtually complete RAF Tornado ADV in existence. The end of an era it may be but this beautiful aircraft is now out of captivity, in private hands and available for sale.
Ummmm I hear you say…..cancel the Bugatti Veyron order.
Please check their website out to learn more about this aircraft.
Finally, I’d like to take a quick look at a project undertaken by Jet Art Aviation in July 2011. As far as SBT are aware, this was a bit of a ‘buy on impulse’ aircraft as they had very little experience in this type of aircraft. They eventually sold the aircraft to a buyer in Taiwan late that year.
The aircraft you see in the photo has the Luftwaffe markings. The German Luftwaffe used the Starfighter in many roles during the 1970’s from attack, interceptor and neclear fighter/ bomber wings. In fact the Luftwaffe actually operated around 35% of F104 starfighters built.
The F104G project taken on by Jet Art Aviation was the aircraft that really caught my eye. It’s beautiful, sleek, missile look really captures the developing Jets of the Cold War.
In summary, what can we say about Jet Art Aviation. Only that I am extremely jealous of these guys playing around with incredible aircraft everyday. Seriously, they do an awesome job of restoring these iconic aircraft to their true glory. Their website is definately worth checking out to find out more about their work.
Finally, we would like to thank Jet Art Aviation in allowing us to feature them in the magazine. In particular, I would personally like to thank Cameron Wingate for his kindness and communication at a particularly busy period.
If any one wants to know what to buy me for my birthday, looking below could give you some idea’s!!