Back at Jet Art! “Time Capsule Condition” Harrier GR3 XZ132 Jump Jet For Sale
This week the Jet Art team were on a mission to bring Harrier GR3 XZ132 back to base after 4 years away as part of a private collection. Typically we chose the hottest 2 days of the year to move the aircraft! Despite the sweaty conditions the move went off without a hitch with the historic Falklands spec GR3 safely unloaded and placed into temporary storage. The aircraft is now back on the market, for sale and looking for a suitable new custodian. Some details about our latest jet are below.
What has been described as a “Time Capsule Condition” Harrier, XZ132 is a jump jet that has served with all the Royal Air Force Harrier Squadrons (1 Sqn, 3 Sqn, 4 Sqn, 233 OCU), has seen service in RAF Germany during the Cold War, Belize (1417 FLT) and the Falklands (1453 FLT). In our opinion this is the cleanest 1st generation RAF Harrier you will get, preserved in pretty much the same physical condition as when she was retired from service in 1990 and comes with great provenance. This aircraft has been preserved incredibly well having never been kept outside. There is no corrosion, the paint and markings are fresh and bright, mechanical components appear to be in tip top condition.
We often receive “humourous” emails from members of the public regarding aircraft we have for sale along the lines of “does it come with full service history?” Ho ho ho. Well, in this case, yes it actually does in the shape of 50 kilos of paperwork complete with job cards dating all the way back to 1976 when she first flew. Howdya like them apples huh?
XZ132’s first flight was in April 1976 before being delivered to the RAF later that year and going on to serve with 1417 flight out in Belize helping to deter Guatamalan aggression in 1979. It was here that the aircraft suffered a spectacular birdstrike involving a vulture! The pilot was pretty shocked after nursing it back to base to see how extensive the damage was and admitted he would not have stayed with the aircraft had he known the state it was in. 3 years later and fully repaired the aircraft was at Wittering being readied for deployment to Operation Corporate – perhaps better known as The Falklands War. This involved fitting an I band transponder (used to help guide the aircraft back to land on a carrier when visibility went to sh*t) housed in an unusual bulbous fairing beneath the laser nose, wiring in hardpoints for Sidewinders, a lick of anti-corrosion paint, drilling of drain holes (!) and modified nosewheel steering along with tie down points among many other things.
After the work was finished, XZ132 set off on the 3rd May for its epic journey to go to war, flying from Wittering to St Mawgan then Ascension Island via the Gambia. Upon arrival at Ascension Island she flew CAP missions until suffering a serious fuel leak that couldn’t be fixed on the island. She was stripped down and sent back to the UK for repairs, possibly escaping the fate of 3 of her sister aircraft that were lost to ground fire during the campaign. She finally made it to the Falklands a year later, taking part in the post war patrols of the islands as part of 1453 Flight.
After the tour of duty at Port Stanley, XZ132 spent the rest of her flying time in the air-force operating with both No 1 and No 4 squadrons out of Wittering in the UK and Gutersloh in West Germany. A former RAF pilot who flew our Harrier on numerous occasions has told us about some of the flights he made in XZ132 whilst based in Germany. Perhaps the most epic undertaking was a flight he made in 1984 from Gutersloh to Goose Bay in Canada (must be knocking on for 3000 miles?) which took 6 hours and required 6 air to air refuellings, followed by a 4 and a half hour flight on to Cold Lake with 3 more AARs. The purpose for this transatlantic mission was of course participation in Exercise Maple Flag XIV where the RAF GR3s mixed with CF5s, F5Es, F4s, CF18s and F15Cs. There was also another birdstrike incident in 1989, however the breed is not recorded on this one! It was also during 1989 that this aircraft spent some time as the personal mount of the Boss of 4 Sqn.
Before 2014, XZ132 spent the last 22 years in a heated building at RAF College Cranwell where she was used for instructional purposes. Nothing horrendous, a mere training aid for baby engineering officers (who in general aren’t allowed to play with spanners) to be taught about aerodynamics, flying controls and documentation. Jet Art acquired the aircraft originally in November 2013, and now have her back at base as of August 2018. The aircraft comes with a correct Rolls Royce Pegasus Mk103 engine not currently fitted to the aircraft but in a wheeled transit stand. For display purposes a photo decal engine blank is fitted in the intake as well as a full set of engine nozzles. The aircraft is externally complete. Cockpit interior is very good and fairly complete with the original Mk9A ejection seat installed (inert).
The main deficiency in the cockpit is 2x fuel gauges. Internally all powered flying control units are installed, air reaction nozzles / puffer ducts are fitted, undercarriage legs and bays appear to be complete with the brake units fitted on the main wheels. Internal components we have noted to be absent are: water tank, air motor for the nozzles, some fuel pipes from the engine bay, avionics boxes from the rear avionics bay. The majority of the aircraft wiring looms are intact and in good order, the only exception being some of the cockpit instrumentation that would require re-wiring as a handful of gauges are not currently electrically connected. Structurally this aircraft is about as good as it gets. Provenance, second to none in private hands!
Last flown: 8/10/90. Total Hrs: 3193