One of the relative rarities at Airshows in Australia is the BAC Jet Provost / Hunting Percival Jet Provost series of aircraft. At the recent Wings Over Illawarra 2017 we were treated to a great display by of the last version of the type produced, BAC Jet Provost Model 84, T.5A Ex RAF XW295 civil Australian (VH-JPV) owned and operated by Dr David Warren of Zentel Aviation Pty Ltd, Hobart Tasmania.
The Provost was flown with great energy and verve on both days of the airshow and it displayed all of its characteristic handling in front of a very appreciative crowd. The performance of the aircraft is very surprising given that the Armstrong Siddeley Viper Mk-202 turbojet is not particularly powerful but it accelerates very well when the power is applied. VH-JPV is finished in a very attractive earlier RAF Training scheme of Silver with yellow trainer bands on the wings and fuselage.
Following the retirement of the Jet Provost from the RAF a number of the type found their way to Australia (particularly to Bankstown NSW), however now there are very few remaining with the bulk being re-exported.
The Jet Provost was initially developed as a jet engine modification of the piston-engine P.56 Provost, retaining to original wing structure mated to a new fuselage. 592 of this versatile trainer were produced in the UK from 1955 until 1967 and 146 of the armed BAC Strikemaster ground attack version of the T5.
The Jet Provost is a versatile and maneuverable aircraft and its relatively low cost and docile handling behavior has made it a favorite in the Warbird community and is very popular at airshows. It was also seen as an excellent lead in training aircraft for those wishing to operate high performance private jet aircraft.
Of late a lot of Strikemasters and some civil Warbird Jet Provosts have been purchased by civil contractors in the USA for use as ground attack and training aircraft for the USA Department of Defense. This means that the already scarce breed in the southern hemisphere is shrinking even more.
BAC Jet Provost T.5A Ex RAF XW295 History
The aircraft was constructed in Luton UK in 1969 and served with the RAF as a trainer from 1969 until it was disposed of in 1992 from storage at RAF Shawbury to International Air Parts, Bankstown, Sydney NSW where it was stored, dismantled until 1995. It then passed on to Kevin T. Acres, of Melbourne Victoria, being shipped to Devonport Tasmania for restoration to fly in March 1997 and flew again on the 28th of February 1999. Now registered VH-JPV the aircraft passed on to Kevin T. Acres, of Warrandyte Victoria until 2000 and operated out of Moorabbin Victoria. Hugh Walthro of Airport Facilities Pty Ltd, acquired the aircraft in 2000 and operated it until 2011 when Essendon Executive Pty Ltd, Essendon Airport acquired the Jet Provost and flew it until the current owner purchased the aircraft in 2015.
Warbirds Online looks forward to seeing the beautifully presented BAC Jet Provost in Australian skies for many more years to come.
© John Parker 2017