Hawker Harrier Heroes: Notable Pilots and Their Exploits in the Cockpit

In the annals of aviation history, certain pilots stand out for their extraordinary courage, skill, and daring exploits in the cockpit. Among these aviation heroes are the pilots of the Hawker Harrier, a revolutionary vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft that redefined aerial combat. In this blog, we pay tribute to these Hawker Harrier heroes and explore their remarkable achievements in the skies.

Hawker Harrier Heroes: Notable Pilots and Their Exploits in the Cockpit
Image from Wikipedia 

The Revolutionary Hawker Harrier: A Game-Changer in Aviation

The Hawker Harrier, renowned for its revolutionary vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) capabilities, stands as a pioneering aircraft in aviation history. Developed in the 1960s by Hawker Siddeley, this jet fighter introduced a new era of operational flexibility and tactical versatility. Its ability to hover, take off, and land vertically allowed it to operate from unconventional locations, such as aircraft carriers and makeshift airstrips, significantly enhancing its strategic deployment. The Harrier's innovative design and remarkable performance have made it an enduring symbol of aerospace ingenuity and military prowess.

Wing Commander John Farley -Father of the Hawker Harrier

One of the most notable pilots to fly the Hawker Harrier was Wing Commander John Farley, often referred to as the "Father of the Harrier." Farley played a pivotal role in the development and testing of the Hawker Harrier, pushing the aircraft to its limits and demonstrating its groundbreaking V/STOL capabilities. His extensive experience and innovative approach to flying paved the way for the Hawker Harrier's success in combat.

Squadron Leader Sharkey Ward:

Squadron Leader Sharkey Ward was another legendary pilot who made his mark flying the Hawker Harrier during the Falklands War. Leading No. 801 Naval Air Squadron, Ward conducted daring raids against Argentine positions, including the famous attack on Stanley Airfield. His leadership and bravery earned him widespread acclaim and contributed to the success of the British campaign in the Falklands. 

Hawker Harrier Heroes: Notable Pilots and Their Exploits in the Cockpit
Image from Wikipedia 

Lieutenant Colonel Art Nalls:

In the United States, Lieutenant Colonel Art Nalls made history as the only civilian pilot licensed to fly the Hawker Harrier. A former Marine Corps aviator, Nalls purchased a decommissioned British Harrier and restored it to flying condition. He subsequently became a renowned airshow performer, thrilling audiences with his aerial displays in the iconic vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

Flight Lieutenant David Morgan:

Flight Lieutenant David Morgan's harrowing experience during the Falklands War earned him the nickname "The Fortunate One." After being shot down behind enemy lines, Morgan evaded capture for several days before being rescued by British forces. His survival and eventual return to flying exemplified the resilience and courage of Harrier pilots in the face of adversity. 

In conclusion, the pilots of the Hawker Harrier are true heroes of aviation, whose bravery, skill, and dedication have left an indelible mark on history. From testing and development to combat operations, these Harrier pilots pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the skies, demonstrating the incredible capabilities of the V/STOL aircraft. As we honor their legacy, we celebrate their courage and sacrifice in defending freedom and democracy around the world.