Sea Harrier – story behind the image

XZ450 Sea Harrier at Dunsfold August 1978

It was late in a sunny warm Sunday afternoon in August 1978.

XZ450 just at start up for the first Sea Harrier flight at Dunsfold. the photo was taken by Dunsfold Photographic Dept. John Farley is in the cockpit, Trevor Davies is sitting on the ground and I’m standing with the cine camera.

Dick Poole, formerly of Dunsfold Flight Test Department

Sea Harrier XZ450 in Royal Navy livery 1978 Dunsfold

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4 Replies to “Sea Harrier – story behind the image”

  1. NB the nozzle angle – the Dove photo-ship was capable of 150knots -so I was able to photograph a Hawk ‘ clean ‘, flaps up – but the Harrier 1 required 270 knots, no chance ! So it was semi-jetborne for such pics.

  2. XZ450 was the first Sea Harrier to fly, in the hands of John Farley in August 1978 – then first Harrier shot down ( by ground fire, none were lost in air to air combat ) in the Falklands War.

    Up to then XZ450 had been a development aircraft at Dunsfold, it had taken thirteen months to fit special instrumentation wiring to be able to test and fore the upcoming BAe Sea Eagle sea – skimming anti-ship missile – like an Exocet but longer range with a mini jet engine and more intelligent, the pilot could programme it to hope over picket ships and go for the real target.

    Despite all this the Navy used it on a ‘ dumb iron bomb ‘ raid on Goose Green – it was shot down by a ground-air 35mm gun killing Lt Nick Taylor.

    The Argentine footage of the wreckage was shown on BBC TV, we could see bits with my fathers’ handwriting from her time in Dunsfold Experimental, it was a very unpleasant feeling.

    XZ450’s’ RWR Radar Warning Receiver was not working at the time and some blame that on Lt Taylors’ sad loss; but at that time the FRS1’s were flying VERY low and had no chaff and flare dispensers anyway except those flying high CAP Combat Air Patrol with a hopeful bunch of tin foil stowed above the airbrake…

  3. Mike Connelly. At the time chief photographer Kingston. Later on head of video unit Kingston.
    From my memory this was taken a few weeks before the Paris air show. I took the colour shots & Peter Shubrook took the black & white photo.
    Chase plane was the Dove.
    I later did air/air from G-HAWK with Andy Jones over Paris/Dieppe.
    Loved flying with Andy. We were flying to RAE Boscombe Downs and he asked if I had ever done a Flame Out landing. I said no. So we glided In from about 5 miles out ( I think). A lovely flight, thank you Andy, where ever you are.

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