The Sea Harrier will be touring in 2014 at various air shows. To name a few Chicago, Oshkosh, Milwaukee Rockford, Gary, IN, Lakeland, FL, and Ft. Lauderdale. For those of you who are not familiar with this aircraft and its pilot , this duo is a crowd favorite and often the star of the air show, most of all for American spectators who have been ” victims” of sequestration. The aircraft is the world’s only privately owned flying BAE Sea Harrier F/A2 and Art Nalls is a U.S Naval Academy graduate. Nalls has logged over 900 hours in the AV-8A variant of the Harrier including over 400 shipboard landings and another 500 in the AV-8B. Nalls is also a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base. He has flight time in approximately 75 different aircraft including the B-52, C-141, C-130, A-7, A-37, T-38, F-4, F-5, F-15, and F-16, and F-18.
The former Royal Navy Sea Harrier FA2 was purchased in 2006 by Art Nalls, who spent the next two years restoring it to flying condition. In December 2007, it was damaged in a hard landing, while undergoing testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River and had to be repaired.The aircraft made its first public appearance at an air show in Culpeper, Virginia in October 2008.The BAE Systems FA2 Sea Harrier fighter aircraft, which was in service with the British Royal Navy, provided air defense for the carrier fleet, particularly against low-flying attack aircraft armed with long-range air-to-surface missiles. The FA2 first flew in 1988 and entered service in 1993. 56 aircraft were built for the Royal Navy. The Sea Harrier was retired from the UK Royal Navy in March 2006, but is currently in service with the Indian Navy.
Over the years sirsShow spectators across America have seen their share of American AV-8A and AV-8B Harriers demonstrate the type’s unique vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) abilities. But Nalls’ aircraft was the first British Sea Harrier to appear in the north American air show circuit, and the differences in the aircraft variants are significant.
In a recent interview to Airventure.org Nalls said “The Sea Harrier is a fighter aircraft designed to shoot down enemy aircraft,” , while the AV-8s were designed for air-to-ground and close air support. “The Sea Harrier has a bigger nose, a raised canopy for better visibility, and shorter wings.” It also has a 50,000 foot-per-minute climb rate, much faster that of the AV-8, which Nalls spent most of his military career flying.Nalls said that the original Harriers were designed for military ground attacks and reconnaissance work. The British Royal Navy requested a Harrier that could operate from ship platforms, which Nalls said are smaller than aircraft carriers used by the United States.“The airplane was modified specifically for the Royal Navy environment,” Nalls said.
Nalls received extensive military experience with Harriers while in the Marine Corps before purchasing the 34-year-old aircraft he flies today. He flew the original AV-8A Harrier and was a test pilot for the AV-8B Harrier.
Watch EAA’s video shot in 2011 showing what it takes to preflight the Sea Harrier:
For more information about Art Nalls and his aircraft visit NALLS AVIATION.