Length: 32ft 5in / 9.88m
Height: 10ft 2in / 3.1m
Wing Span: 36ft 11in / 11.25m
Service Ceiling: 31,000ft / 9,450m
Max Speed: 375mph / 603kmh
Max Weight: 9,200lbs / 4,173kgs
Seating Capacity: 2
Engines: 1 x Bristol Siddeley Viper 8
Hunting Jet Provost T3 (cn PAC W 7478) XM404 was built by Hunting Aircraft at Luton in 1959. It was delivered to the RAF on 1 January 1960 initially to No 2 Flying Training School (FTS) at Syerston and subsequently to No 3 FTS at Leeming in December 1961. XM404 was taken out of flying service in July 1968 and transferred to 27 MU at Shawbury for storage. It was then relegated to ground training in 1969 and transferred to 9 School of Technical Training (SoTT) at Newton.
In 1974 it was disposed of by the RAF and moved to the Home Office Fire School at Moreton-in-the Marsh for non-destructive training by fire crews. It was then sold in 2014, moved to Bruntingthorpe, where due to corrosion issues it was decided to save the cockpit section only. This was purchased by a private owner and moved to South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum at Doncaster in August 2015. It was purchased by the Bournemouth Aviation Museum in 2017, arriving in March 2018 for restoration and use as a mobile exhibit.
Developed by Hunting Aircraft at Luton from its piston Provost trainer of the late 1940s, the Jet Provost was built in response to a 1953 RAF requirement for a jet powered primary trainer designed to provide pupils with all through’ jet training. A fairly simple re-design led to the use of an Armstrong Siddeley Viper jet engine of 1,750 lb thrust, and the fitting of a nose wheel undercarriage. A large cockpit gave excellent all round vision. The first of ten Jet Provost T1s flew in the summer of 1954 and the type was used for trials by No. 2 FTS from the summer of 1955 alongside the existing piston Provost. The trials proved that trainee pilots showed no great problems in receiving their initial training on a jet aircraft as opposed to a piston powered one. A greater benefit was that pilots on the Jet Provost took less time to reach their solo flying stage than on the existing Provost.
Successful trials of the Jet Provost led to the RAF ordering large numbers of the developed T3 version in 1957. This had a more powerful Viper engine, improved cockpit canopy, tip tanks for extra fuel, shortened undercarriage and Martin-Baker ejector seats. The first of 205 RAF Jet Provost T3s were delivered to No 2 FTS at Syerston in the summer of 1959, with the first all jet “ab-initio” course being completed the following June. Later the T3 was developed into the T4 which had an even more powerful Viper, giving it a greater rate of climb. 185 T4s were delivered to the RAF between 1961 and 1964. Large numbers were also built for overseas air forces, including Ceylon, Iraq and Venezuela.
During the 1960s and 1970s most of the RAF’s Flight Training Schools (FTS) operated their own aerobatic teams for display at Air Shows, including “The Red Pelicans” from the Central Flying School. Successful service of the Jet Provost T4 led to a further development – the T5. The need for a high altitude training and the fact that the T4 was not pressurised, resulted in BAC (who had acquired Hunting Aircraft) developing the T5. The prototype flew in February 1967 and this version entered service with the RAF Central Flying School at Little Rissington in September 1969. 110 were built by BAC at Warton for the RAF and Jet Provosts remained in RAF service until May 1993 when they were replaced by the Short Tucanos.