Jet plane lands at Hartlepool College
Hartlepool College’s £53 million new campus has been open since September 2011, and since that time work has been ongoing to demolish the old College and turn the land it stood on into a large staff and student car park with landscaped grounds. This final phase of the six year project is due for completion in July.
As part of the process, the College is installing an ex-RAF Jet Provost T5 aircraft to stand on a plinth close to its Skills Academy, positioned on a slight bank as if in flight. The plane, XW405, arrived from storage on the morning of 20th June and over the next couple of weeks will be fully stripped, repainted and rebuilt by students to restore it to display condition. It will be visible from both Stockton Street and Huckelhoven Way.
The Jet Provost was one of the most successful British aircraft types of the post-war period. In the 1950s the Royal Air Force issued a requirement for a dedicated aircraft to train pilots who would be flying a new and ever-advancing generation of jet fighters. The Hunting Percival company, later to become part of the Government-merged British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), developed the Jet Provost from its piston-engined basic trainer the Percival Provost. The resulting design was responsive, reliable and inexpensive, and Jet Provosts were operated by the RAF in a training role from 1955 to 1993.
XW405 served with the RAF Nos. 1, 6 and 7 Flight Training Schools from 1971 to 1991, operating mostly from RAF Linton-on-Ouse. It was then used as a ground-based instructional airframe at RAF Cosford until 2007, when it was put up for sale.
Despite its vintage, many of the systems and mechanics on the Jet Provost T5 are still in use today on more modern aircraft, making it an ideal platform for practical training. The College bought three for this very purpose, the others being XW309 and XW404, and both are located inside a special hangar in the Skills Academy wing of the building. XW405, however, is destined to become a local landmark, as while “gate guardians” are a common sight at RAF bases and aircraft museums, they certainly are not at colleges. The plane will serve to further reflect the College’s pride in the achievements of its students that are so prominently visible throughout the interior of the building.
Created on: 20/6/2012
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