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World’s Second Civilian Harrier Acquired

  • EAA
    It will take about a year to get the two-place Harrier T Mk 8 ready to resume flight.

November 13, 2014 - Former U.S. Marines test pilot Art Nalls, EAA 689513/Warbirds 549224, made history when his company Nalls Aviation, Inc., acquired a BAE Sea Harrier FA2 jump jet in 2006 - the world’s only civilian-owned and operated Harrier. This week Nalls announced the acquisition of a second Harrier by Nalledge, LLC. It’s a rare two-place T Mk 8 that will be used for flight training and air shows which, when it becomes airworthy in about a year, will be the world’s only flyable Harrier trainer.

“We’ve been working on this acquisition for nearly three years,” Nalls said. “The two-seat Harrier front cockpit is nearly identical to the Sea Harrier we already have flying and have flown successfully for seven air show seasons.” Nall has performed numerous times with that airplane at Oshkosh and elsewhere, including the 2013 AirVenture at which no active military aircraft appeared due to federal sequestration.

While this latest acquisition doubles the number of civilian-owned Harriers in the world, it also in effect triples the number of seats. It’s also very rare bird; only 46 two-place Harrier trainers were built.

And training is exactly what Nall intends to use it for, transitioning pilots to a civilian Harrier. Nalls and retired USMC Major General Joe Anderson are the only two current civilian Harrier pilots and have thousands of hours of flight time and test pilot experience between them. Both are certificated flight instructors in powered lift, and many other pilots could obtain a Harrier type rating by virtue of their military training and experience. That means we could see more private Harriers flying in the future.

In fact, Nalls said the next civilian pilot will be awarded her type rating very soon. “That’s right - it will be a woman pilot,” he said, referring to Lt. Col. Jenna Dolan, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. Dolan has nearly 1,000 hours of Harrier flight time, combat experience, and was a weapons and tactics instructor.

Nalls expects the import process (from the UK) to take several months, then several more months will be needed to inspect, modify, and obtain approval for flying the demilitarized plane in the United States. The experience restoring the FA2 to flying status will be a tremendous advantage this time around, Nalls said.

“We already have reverse-engineered several systems, such as ejection seats (Stencil vs. Martin Baker), radios, gyros, servicing adapters, weight and balance,” he said. “We know how to do this!”

The airplane is in such good condition that ferrying it across the Atlantic from the UK was seriously considered. That option was dismissed as an unnecessary risk, however, so the airplane will be dismantled and shipped, as was the Sea Harrier.

“We’ve had a waiting list for several years from people wanting flight instruction,” Nalls said. “Now we have an opportunity to provide it to them in a safe manner.”

The airplane will be initially based at St. Mary’s County Regional Airport (2W6), Leonardtown, Maryland.

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