Aircraft of all shapes and sizes are a fairly familiar sight over Salisbury, however uniquely on August 21 an Ex RAF Hawk (XX154) made its way from MOD Boscombe Down to Old Sarum with the help of Chinook HC6A ZH892.
The Chinook and crew from 27 Sqn based at RAF Odiham helped with the unusual transportation of the Hawk to its new home as part of the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection at Old Sarum Airfield. Flying the relatively short distance across the Wiltshire countryside, it offered a unique sight to those travelling between Salisbury and Amesbury.
This move marks the 45th anniversary of the first flight of the Hawk aircraft, and XX154 is in fact the original prototype aircraft, last flying with the Empire Test Pilots School, making it a unique piece of history within the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection based at Old Sarum Airfield.
The Chinook is rarely far from the news, recently seen supporting efforts to secure the dam at Whaley Bridge, during which it moved in excess of 620 tonnes of aggregate over five days. This awesome lift and precision make it the perfect aircraft for transporting unusual loads. Utilising its three hooks, the aircraft can lift nearly its own weight, and deliver it precisely to a location with less than one foot of accuracy.
All the pilots at RAF Odiham regularly train on unusual loads, carrying anything from shipping containers to artillery guns, this allows them to turn their hand to almost any situation and is used almost daily on operations.
This particular load came with its own set of unique challenges, its relatively unconventional shape makes it more complex to rig for transport, also, by design it can create its own lift. To overcome this, the Chinook flew slowly to ensure these effects were minimised while under the aircraft.