- Neil McCarthy has now been flying the Jet Provost Mk3 since 1999 making this his 12th year and has amassed over 500 hours on classic jets, Neil regularly attends airshows showing the Jet Provost as both a static and flying display, he decided to go for his display authorisation in 2009 and is looking forward to his third year as a display pilot.
- Neil is 38 years old and holds a private pilots licence (PPL) he fly’s the Jet Provost purely as a bit of fun! His day job is as an electronics medical technician working for the local NHS hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne, Neil’s wife Amanda also works for the NHS and attends most events with Neil along with there 1 year old son Ryan.
- Neil runs the Newcastle Jet Provost Group from Newcastle airport where the aircraft is operated from, the group was formed in 1995 and is now one of the longest running ex military flying groups in the UK.
- The display is put together to show off the profile of the Jet Provost and with a new engine fitted in 2010 this will preserve the aircraft for many more years to come, this particular mark of Jet Provost, the Mark 3 is now a rare sight in UK sky’s.
- As can be seen the JP is a very easy aircraft to fly in fact any private pilot with a PPL can fly the Jet Provost with as little as 5 hours of training.
- Known universally as the 'JP', the Jet Provost introduced the concept of all-jet basic training for trainee pilots in the RAF for the first time ( a world first), and indeed in many air forces around the world.
- In 1993 the Jet Provost ended its RAF career, spanning over 35 years It was replaced by the Shorts Tucano
- With a top speed of 440 mph, excellent maneuverability, mechanical reliability and low operating costs, the Jet Provost was utilised as an aerobatic aircraft, air warfare and tactical weapons training as well as advanced training.
- Jet Provost T.3 XM479 was built at Luton in 1960 and was delivered to the Royal Air Force in the summer of 1961. It was posted to RAF Cranwell, were it remained in service until 1966.
- XM479 was ferried to RAF Shawbury and put into long-term store with 27MU.
- In early 1973 XM479 was moved to RAF Kemble for a further period of storage, this time with 5MU, where it remained for the next three years.
- In 1976, XM479 was ferried to Warton airfield for conversion to T.3A status. One of the last aircraft to be upgraded, on 30th April, the aircraft was delivered to RAF Linton-on-Ouse and went into service with 1FTS, as aircraft '54'. It remained in service at the airfield for the next seventeen years, until final retirement in 1993.
- Sold into civilian hands, XM479 was acquired by the Newcastle Jet Provost Company in 1995, a consortium made up of several private pilots. Following the replacement of its UHF radios to VHF equipment it moved to its new home, Newcastle Airport, in early 1996.
- Still owned by the Newcastle Jet Provost Group, XM479 is kept in excellent condition, and is one of the lowest-houred JPs in existence, thus ensuring many more years in the air.
Jet Provost History
- The BAC Jet Provost (originally built by Hunting Percival) was a British jet-powered trainer aircraft used by the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1993.
- In the 1950s the RAF issued a requirement for a new dedicated jet training aircraft. Hunting developed the Jet Provost from the piston-engined Percival Provost basic trainer. On 26 June 1954 the prototype made its first flight and In June 1957 the Jet Provost Mark 3 featuring a new Armstrong Siddeley Viper jet engine, ejector seats, and a strengthened, retractable undercarriage went into RAF service.
- In total 201 Jet Provost T3s were delivered between 1958 and 1962.