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Tornado GR1 ZA359

NEW ARRIVAL: Tornado GR1 Aircraft ZA359 Now For Sale

The Panavia Tornado has been given several nicknames but I wonder just how many of those nicknames are actually used by those who work with the aircraft? (I should ask Chris seeing as he spent several years in the RAF maintaining them!). I’ve also pondered over the names allegedly given to military aircraft by opponents. Did German soldiers really cry out “Ach nein, der Schwarzer Tod!!” at the sight of an IL2 Sturmovik? Did the Japanese really curse the ‘Whispering Death” Beaufighter? I myself am a mere aviation enthusiast so can only muse over such things but I do wonder if half of these nicknames are propaganda and the rest mainly made up by anorak clad Avtur sniffers like me.

Anyway, whatever you call it, the Tornado is a legend. 3 European countries working together to design a new Multi Role Combat Aircraft from the ground up could easily have been a recipe for disaster and indeed the jokes did fly. Must Refurbish Canberra Again, Mother Riley’s Cardboard aircraft, references to a camel being a horse designed by a committee etc etc . But after a production run of nearly a thousand and pivotal roles in combat operations around the world , the Tornado can justifiably be called a resounding success. The GR1 was used by Germany, UK, Italy and Saudi Arabia and there was also the F3 Air defence variant which was used by the RAF, the Saudis and the Italian airforce. Updates have been carried out to keep the aircraft current over the years but cuts to defence budgets look to have signalled the end game. The F3 has already gone, and the GR4 is close behind – it’s hard to imagine that an aircraft that has been in service since I was at primary school is coming to the end of its career.

As most of you know by now this isn’t the 1st Tornado that Jet Art has had through the doors but it is certainly the best and most complete we’ve ever had, and that’s saying something! ZA359 came off the line in 1981 and spent a lot of time with the Tri National Tornado Training Establishment in Cottesmore where pilots from the UK, Germany and Italy were worked up on the aircraft.

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Absolutely love this shot below, thanks to Arthur Payne over at A1 Aviation Photos. ZA359 being readied for full reheat ground runs sat on the ‘Tubes’ with intake debris guards fitted.

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After Cottesmore ZA359 was delivered to 9 Squadron at Honington which was the 1st RAF squadron to deploy the new type and she was flown until 1996 whereafter she enjoyed luxury retirement in a heated hangar with regular loving care and attention during her role as a specialist instructional airframe located at BAE Systems at Warton at the Technical Academy. This has preserved ZA359 in tip top condition. Most likely the best GR1 you will ever find. She has not been taken apart and put back together time and time again like some poor unfortunate training airframes but rather used to demonstrate the systems and how they work in live conditions. Electrically live with hydraulic systems regular functioned: landing gear, wing sweep, control surfaces etc were regularly tested and exercised for example. On top of that, up until October 2012 the APU was also regularly run, gearboxes engaged and generators, hyd pumps still functioned. To emphasise just how good this aircraft is we hooked up a battery and the cockpit lit up like a Christmas tree!

But wait, it gets better. 2 great big hulking RB199s afterburning turbofans are still sat in the back of this Cold War Warrior. Yes that’s right, the engines are still in situ. I hope by now it’s starting to dawn on you just what we have here – almost certainly the most complete and best presented example of a Tornado you could ever expect to buy (as a private buyer).

Business end of one of ZA359’S RB199s

The engine bays have all the plumbing as well and just look at the condition of all that complex pipework – absolutely mint.


We anticipate significant interest in this aircraft both here and abroad, this is (another) coup for Jet Art and we’re proud that our company has evolved to a position where we are able to offer airframes of this calibre up for sale. In the unlikley event that you cannot fit an entire GR1 in your backyard or don’t quite have the necessary funds, then do remember to check out our shop for smaller chunks of Tornado and many other types.


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