Final Flight Of Shorts Tocano In RAF Service

Posted on September 6, 2019

All the RAF’s fast jest pilots will have taken to the skies in the Tucano as part of their training. Its last public appearance will be at the Southport air show which runs from 6 to 8 September. Training on the Tucano was principally carried out at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, in North Yorkshire, and the station is due to close in 2020.

The Red Arrows’ longest-serving pilot, Sqn Ldr Mike Ling, retired from the RAF after 21 years earlier this year. He is now a pilot with the Blades aerobatic display team and this weekend will be flying alongside the Tucano at Southport. He trained on the plane in the late 1990s, before transferring to RAF Valley in Anglesey to complete his training on the Hawk T1. He was then selected to return to RAF Linton-on-Ouse and the Tucano to train other pilots.

“I would never have done anything different. It was fantastic,” Mike said. In training terms he said the plane was a “big jump” as it has a tandem cockpit – so the trainer would be sat behind the trainee rather than side by side. “It’s quite a big jump, you are in a turbo-prop and wearing an oxygen mask,” Mike said. “You have to develop a new way of communicating, it’s quite what I loved about it.”

Mike said a trainee pilot would spend about 120 hours flying in it and described the aircraft as the “perfect all-rounder. It was very capable you could take it into places you couldn’t with any other RAF plane. It was a good way of honing skills and offered a good test of airmanship and capacity,” he explained.

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