Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?

harrier and jaguar tate 2  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Image: cormac70, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

In March our sibling site Urban Ghosts broke a story concerning the whereabouts of Fiona Banner’s Harrier and Jaguar, the two retired jets at the centre of Tate Britain’s most talked-about exhibit of 2010. While the aircraft remains pictured have not been officially confirmed as the Tate art exhibits, the evidence is compelling. But despite the interest generated during the show, their fates have attracted little attention.

harrier and jaguar tate 3  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Image: cormac70, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

Despite contacting several reporters who covered the Harrier and Jaguar exhibit in the mainstream press, the only online interest in their demise can be found in this aviation forum discussion. While it seems a pity, given the aircrafts’ histories, it also illustrates perfectly Storm Climb’s core raison d’être – to report on issues of interest in the aviation world that might otherwise go unnoticed.

harrier and jaguar tate 4  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Image: cormac70, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

Admittedly, small fighter and ground attack aircraft aren’t as adaptable for other uses as larger planes. You can’t turn them into a hostel like you can a 747, or innovative modern houses like these luxury examples from Dark Roasted Blend. But with several retired Harrier and Jaguar airframes existing in museums and even suburban gardens, it’s a shame that these two famous examples went (it seems) to the scrap heap.

harrier and jaguar tate  Harrier and Jaguar: Fine Art to the Scrap Heap?(Images: Matt Brown, cc-3.0)

The images above show the Harrier and Jaguar in the Duveens Galleries at Tate Britain during the exhibition (read the full story here), displayed as “ambiguous objects implying both captured beast and fallen trophy”. Their next place of residence – a scrap yard in Harrow, London – has not been so widely reported, but you can explore it here.

Stealthy YF-23 Prototype Takes to the Streets of Los Angeles

yf 23 1  Stealthy YF-23 Prototype Takes to the Streets of Los Angeles(Image: PhantomPhan1974 Photography, reproduced with permission)

Twenty years ago the best fighter plane never to be produced was grounded permanently after a rigarous fly-off competition for what was to become the Advanced Technology Fighter (ATF).  After a spell in storage, the stealthy Northrop YF-23 prototype is seen here under police escort being towed from Northrop Grumman’s El Segundo facility in Los Angeles to Torrance Airport in September 2010.

yf 23 2  Stealthy YF-23 Prototype Takes to the Streets of Los Angeles(Image: PhantomPhan1974 Photography, reproduced with permission)

In a move that would have been inconceivable a generation ago when a veil of secrecy blanketed the programme, the second YF-23 prototype to be built – officially designated PAV-2 and nicknamed the “Gray Ghost” – is towed almost 10 miles along public highway between the two locations.  One commenter quipped: “Now, that is something you don’t see everyday… A street with freshly-painted white markings!”

yf 23 4  Stealthy YF-23 Prototype Takes to the Streets of Los Angeles(Image PhantomPhan1974 Photography, reproduced with permission)

PAV-2, which first flew on October 26, 1990, was fitted with General Electric YF120 engines during the demonstration and validation programme.  Despite proving to be an excellent aircraft, the Northrop YF-23 ultimately lost out to the more agile Lockheed YF-22, which featured vectored thrust and went on to become the F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter.

yf 23 3  Stealthy YF-23 Prototype Takes to the Streets of Los Angeles(Image: NASA, public domain)

PAV-2 is seen here in flight alongside the first YF-23 – PAV-1, nicknamed the “Black Widow” – which flew with Pratt & Whitney YF119 engines.  Despite reports that the FY-23 was more stealthy and faster than its Lockheed opponent, neither jet has flown since the end of the contest in April 1991.

yf 23 5  Stealthy YF-23 Prototype Takes to the Streets of Los Angeles(Image: U.S. Air Force, public domain)

There was some speculation that the design might be revived to fulfill an interim bomber requirement.  PAV-2 was reportedly modified by Northrop as a full scale model, but the proposal was dropped after the U.S. Air Force decided to pursue a longer range, strategic Next-Generation Bomber.  Both YF-23 prototypes are now on public display, with PAV-2 under the care of Western Museum of Flight, Torrance, California.

Thanks to Damon Duran for the use of these images.  Find out more at Aviation Photographers of Southern California.

War of the Worlds: Crashed Boeing 747, Universal Studios

war of the worlds 747  War of the Worlds: Crashed Boeing 747, Universal Studios(Image: Daniel Rodríguez Troitiño, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

Anyone who has seen Steven Spielberg’s 2005 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds will remember an incredible scene where, after cowering in a suburban basement while the Tripods wreaked havoc on the world around, Ray and his kids ventured out to discover the wreckage of a crashed Boeing 747. Storm Climb has delved into the story behind the “crashed” plane and its final journey to Universal Studios.

war of the worlds 747 2  War of the Worlds: Crashed Boeing 747, Universal Studios(Image: s.yume, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

The 747 Jumbo Jet is a breathtaking sight on the back-lot at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, 2,500 miles from the crash scene’s fictitious east coast setting. To create the scene, the film crew purchased a retired 747 previously operated by Japan’s All Nippon Airways. The surplus passenger plane was transported to Universal at a cost of $2 million.

war of the worlds 747 4  War of the Worlds: Crashed Boeing 747, Universal Studios(Images: prayitno, cc-3.0; Roger Schultz, cc-3.0; Andrew Wippler, cc-3.0)

The crew then set about breaking the 747 into several massive pieces and cutting away parts of the cabin to reveal seats and other internal features. Wreckage was strewn all around, and the damaged houses were constructed around the aircraft remains.

war of the worlds 747 3  War of the Worlds: Crashed Boeing 747, Universal Studios(Image: s.yume, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

The All Nippon Airways livery is clearly visible on the fuselage of the wrecked plane. Fans can view the memorable scene for themselves on the Universal Studios back-lot tour. While this 747 is well and truly destroyed, it has nevertheless been immortalised in film history and displayed for the enjoyment of movie fans, unlike the rusting occupants of forgotten plane graveyards and boneyards around the world.

The Sky’s the Limit: FlyNano Launches Eco-Friendly Personal Sea Plane

flynano sea plane  The Sky’s the Limit: FlyNano Launches Eco-Friendly Personal Sea Plane(All images via FlyNano)

The Coolist recently featured these super sleek sea planes designed for anyone who wants to lift off cleanly from water to sky for a relatively modest $36,000. The low-cost craft will feature sea-friendly hull, conjoined wings and small propeller-powered engine above the cockpit. Manufactured by FlyNano, the craft come in three different models and have a maximum ceiling of two miles.

flynano plane  The Sky’s the Limit: FlyNano Launches Eco-Friendly Personal Sea Plane

Two basic versions are available with either electric motor or combustion engine, along with a souped-up model with increased range, speed and ceiling. The electric FlyNano E200 can cruise quietly at around 90 mph with a range of 25 miles per charge. While the combustion variant can manage an extra 18 miles, the environmental and economic benefits of the E200 make it Storm Climb’s model of choice.

flynano g 240  The Sky’s the Limit: FlyNano Launches Eco-Friendly Personal Sea Plane

For a few (thousand) dollars more ($39,400), the high performance FlyNano R300 model will take you higher and faster, but in The Coolist’s words: “We would gladly sacrifice a few miles an hour just to be able to try one of these machines”. Storm Climb seconds this, and echoes the call to FlyNano that there are eager test pilots willing to risk it all for the chance to soar two miles high on a jet ski.

flynano e200 g240 r 300  The Sky’s the Limit: FlyNano Launches Eco-Friendly Personal Sea Plane

FlyNano is a European-based company. Their E200, G240 and R260/300 series all come in nicely coded colours, from green (enviro) to yellow (gas) and red (fast). The sea planes were launched at Aero 2011 with deliveries set to begin this summer. Transport and storage trailers are available from $7,900. If you’ve ordered one, be sure to let us know how it goes!

DIY Plane Art: Coca Cola Stealth Fighter

stealth fighter art  DIY Plane Art: Coca Cola Stealth Fighter(Image: Doug Sharp, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

Ever had the urge to do something creative with an empty Coca Cola box?  This one has been recycled one into a DIY stealth fighter, complete with faceted “airframe”, windscreen and wheels. The cut-out stealth, featured on Wareye, recreates the appearance of the F-117 Nighthawk, but comes with the slightly odd designation “Coca Cola Stealth Fighter from Vietnam – early 90s 005”.

coca cola stealth fighter  DIY Plane Art: Coca Cola Stealth Fighter(Image: Doug Sharp, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

Perhaps this plane art designation is intended to be as confusing as the black projects themselves? One thing we can say on the record, however, is that the F-117A’s technology was tested by a small proof-of-concept demonstrator aircraft known as the Have Blue, and the Have Blue remains almost as mysterious today as it was while classified – learn more about the once top secret aircraft here.

Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel

jumbo hostel  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Images: Stefan Sjögren, cc-sa-3.0; jingdianjiaju1 (inset), cc-sa-3.0)

In these times of escalating travel costs, an economy seat on a Boeing 747 is going to set you back a few quid.  But ironically, an entire bed on this retired Jumbo is ideally suited for budget travellers and aviation enthusiasts alike. Known as the Jumbo Hostel, the decommissioned 747-200 boasts 27 bedrooms equipped with wireless internet and flatscreen TVs. With the exception of Air Force One, it’s arguably the most comfortable 200 series 747 in the world.

jumbo hostel cockpit suite  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Image: Lioba Schneider, reproduced under the Free Art License)

Located at the entrance to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in Sweden, the Jumbo Hostel offers 24 hour service and features a cafe where guests and non-guests can enjoy breakfast – served on airline trays, of course. For a little extra exclusivity, guests can book the “Cockpit Suite”, a twin bedroom located on the flight deck with ensuite bathroom and even the remains of the 747’s flight controls.

jumbo hostel 3  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Images: jingdianjiaju1, cc-sa-3.0)

This Jumbo Jet was originally built for Singapore Airlines in 1976 before serving with Pan Am. The plane’s final operator, Swedish airline Transjet, collapsed in 2002. Authorities consented to the 747’s conversion to a hostel in 2007, and work began ripping out the original 450-seat interior and installing 70 beds in 27 bedrooms, while adhering to modern building regulations and energy standards. The hostel opened in 2008.

jumbo hostel 2  Jumbo Hostel Puts the Fun Back in Plane Travel(Image: Brorsson, cc-sa-3.0)

At the Jumbo Hostel, guests can monitor flight information from the comfort of their own rooms, while the terminal buildings are just five minutes away. This Jumbo, which featured in our companion site’s article about creatively recycled and DIY 747s, is one of the lucky older model versions to have escaped the scrap heap, and stands resplendent in a fresh new livery today.?

Second Chance for Neglected Saab 35 Draken Jet

saab 35 draken finland  Second Chance for Neglected Saab 35 Draken Jet(Image: All images by Sameli Kujala, all rights reserved)

While abandoned aircraft and plane graveyards can be fascinating sights and poignant reminders that yesterday’s cutting edge technology is tomorrow’s scrap metal, it’s always pleasing to see a neglected fighter plane restored to health. Photographer Sameli Kujala captured this Saab 35 Draken in the middle of a cosmetic rebuild, after the jet was moved from the Finnish municipality of Oulunsalo to its new location.

saab draken finland preserved  Second Chance for Neglected Saab 35 Draken Jet

All but abandoned prior to the move, with smashed canopy and signs of vandalism, the Draken looks much better with a newly installed canopy and a good clean. Now it just needs its wings back. Find out more about this aircraft, and other aviation abandonments, by visiting our companion site Urban Ghosts.

Solar Impulse Prepares for First International Flight Next Month

solar impulse aircraft  Solar Impulse Prepares for First International Flight Next Month(Image: Matth1, cc-sa-3.0)

After a successful 24 hour flight in 2010, a new breed of intrepid aviation pioneer is planning to take Solar Impulse on its first international flight next month, as a prelude to eventually circumnavigating the globe. And while last year’s success proved the craft could store enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft at night, crossing borders presents its own set of challenges.

solar impulse wing  Solar Impulse Prepares for First International Flight Next Month(Image: Matth1, cc-sa-3.0)

For one, the Solar Impulse team will have to negotiate international air traffic networks, a complex task even before the added bureaucracy of several national governments giving their consent is factored in. All being well, the plane will leave Brussels to attend the 49th Paris Air Show in June.

solar impulse 2  Solar Impulse Prepares for First International Flight Next Month(Image: Matth1, cc-sa-3.0)

Solar Impulse made its maiden flight in 2009. The solar powered plane, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 777, is expected to ultimately circumnavigate the globe in around 20 – 25 days. The team is led by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard, who co-piloted the first round-the-world balloon flight in 1999 with Brian Jones.

Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay

F 4 phantom subic bay1  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Image: Anders Poulsen, reproduced with permission)

There are numerous reasons why ocean floors are littered with the remains of military aircraft, from war and conflict to mechanical malfunction and the occasional artificial reef. But it’s not often divers stumble across the submerged remains of one of the world’s greatest warplanes. Not so for photographer Anders Poulsen, seen here exploring the wreck of an F-4 Phantom on the bottom of Subic Bay in the Luzon Sea, Philippines.

submerged f 4 phantom subic bay  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Image: Anders Poulsen, reproduced with permission)

While the identity of this Phantom remains elusive, it most likely served with the U.S. Navy and is probably an F-4B, J or N model. The Phantom’s intact condition and numerous missing components suggest it didn’t crash or ditch. During the Vietnam War it wasn’t uncommon for badly damaged aircraft to be stripped for parts and, in some cases, even pushed overboard to free up space.

crashed f 4 phantom subic bay  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Image: Anders Poulsen, reproduced with permission)

Could that be the case with this F-4? A more tragic possibility is that the Phantom may have been a victim of the fire aboard the USS Forestal fire in 1967. With the fire extinguished, the Forrestal steamed toward Subic, where it moored at Naval Air Station Cubi Point. Was this Phantom stripped for parts during the cruise and pushed overboard at the mouth of Subic Bay?

f 4 phantom US navy  Submerged F-4: The Phantom of Subic Bay(Images: top, left, right: U.S. Navy, public domain)

We may never know, but its watery grave has saved it from being scrapped or shot down as a target drone – a common fate for retired Phantoms. For the time being, this aircraft, originally built by McDonnell Douglas in St Louis, will remain a popular destination for scuba divers exploring the wrecks of Subic Bay. The more active Phantoms above show what the jet once looked like.

Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World

abandoned f 4 phantom  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Image: cgull123, all rights reserved)

While they’re a sad sight to the aviation enthusiast, there’s something eerily fascinating about abandoned aircraft and plane graveyards. Whether it’s the sight of yesterday’s cutting edge technology rusting away in the boneyards of the present, or the rich history surrounding military forces and hardware in general, plane graveyards make for great exploring – in this case from the safety of your PC. In this article we examine eight boneyards that highlight present conflicts and past epochs.

MiG-23 Graveyard, Balad, Iraq

MiG 23 graveyard  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: dokmarius (left), cc-nc-sa-3.0; nathanm, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

This ruinous plane graveyard reflects the fate of Iraq’s air force following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Dragged from various hiding places around the former Balad Air Base (now Joint Base Balad), these dilapidated MiG-23s represent an air force that barely got off the ground in the wake of invasion. Lying amid other junk in a neglected airplane boneyard, the abandoned MiGs have been looted by coalition forces and look more like pieces of urban art than once operational aircraft. Explore more of the Balad plane graveyard.

The Famous “A1 Lightning”, Balderton, UK

lightning xn728 balderton  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Image: Gary Parsons, Air-Scene UK, all rights reserved)

Speaking of urban art, this English Electric Lightning F.2A is easily Britain’s most famous derelict fighter plane. The Cold War warrior appeared in a haulage yard near Balderton, Nottinghamshire in 1983, after battle damage repair duties at RAF Coningsby. Bought to attract customers to the yard almost 30 years ago, the Lightning has somehow survived despite changes of ownership and periods of dereliction.

derelict lightning f2a balderton  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: Simon Thomas; Gary Parsons, Air-Scene UK, all rights reserved; David Cowling, cc-sa-3.0)

Despite it’s terrible condition, the abandoned aircraft has become a landmark to drivers on the A1 road and was even the subject of a Paul Smith clothing line. With restoration looking increasingly unlikely, some have called for the jet to be turned into a piece of urban art – if it isn’t already. All in all, the Lightning remains something of an enigma. Personal enquiries to owners past and present yielded few details other than an dogged refusal to give it up. RAF Binbrook, the Lightning’s spiritual home, is also abandoned today.

Russian Aircraft Wrecks

abandoned russian aircraft  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: Igor W. Minaichenkov and Vladimir Nazarov, via English Russia)

In the world of plane graveyards and abandoned aircraft, the wilds of Russia and vast expanses of Siberia hold a treasure trove of forgotten Soviet hardware. While the workhorse TU-95 Bear and TU-22M Backfire bombers have seen a resurgence in recent years, it’s unlikely the rusting hulks above ever saw regeneration. While many have doubtless been scrapped since these photographs were taken, some likely remain on their weed-infested dispersals due to the sheer remoteness of the region.

Moscow Aircraft Museum – Plane Graveyard, Russia

plane graveyard moscow  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: Eldan Goldenberg (website), NC-SA-2.0)

Siberia isn’t the only place to take in Russian aircraft wrecks. Silently guarding the last overgrown dispersals of a Moscow airfield, this collection of corroding jets and helicopters looks more like a plane graveyard than a functioning museum. It’s a curious site amid a rapidly redeveloping area of Moscow, as decaying Soviet hardware meets modern Russia.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, United States

davis monthan aircraft boneyard  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: Roger Smith, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

The most famous aircraft boneyard in the world is a mind-blowing facility at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where over 4,400 silent fighters, bombers, transports, helicoptors and attack jets make up the world’s second largest air force. From F-4s and F-14s to chopped B-52s and B-1Bs, this is where America’s retired military airborne hardware comes to wait – for recycling, reactivation or spares use.

davis monthan airplane graveyard  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: Roger Smith, cc-nc-nd-3.0)

While the B-52s and F-14s are being destroyed to honour treaty agreements, many F-4s will fly again, only to be shot down as target drones over the western bombing ranges. That said, here’s one F-4 Phantom that escaped both the scrapman and the missiles. For more desert plane graveyards of the western United States, check out this article by Ransom Riggs writing on Mental Floss.

Rinkaby Shooting Range, Sweden

rinkaby saab draken  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: Andreas Mathiasson, all rights reserved)

In a plane graveyard located in a distant corner of the former Rinkaby military airfield in Sweden, a group of seemingly abandoned Saab 35 Draken fighter planes stand amid other decaying hardware. Ranging from fully intact to twisted metal fuselage remains, the aircraft do not currently appear to be used in live fire exercises but their future is far from certain. Find out more about Rinkaby and its abandoned Saab Drakens.

Abandoned Aircraft and Plane Graveyards of the Middle East

plane graveyard middle east  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: Jim Garamone; Bahamut0013, cc-sa-3.0; U.S. Marine Corps; jamesdale10, cc-3.0; U.S. Army)

Due to ongoing instability and conflict, parts of the Middle East are littered with abandoned aircraft and plane graveyards. The top two images depict an airplane boneyard known as “the petting zoo” at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Like Balad’s MiG-23 graveyard, the battered jets have been rounded up from hiding places across the base. Many were probably unservicable before the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions. The wrecked MiG-29 (bottom) was destroyed during Operation Desert Storm and has lain in the desert ever since.

Predannack Plane Graveyard, UK

abandoned harrier predannack  Abandoned Aircraft: 8 Plane Graveyards From Around the World(Images: cgull123, all rights reserved; Dave Bellamy, all rights reserved)

In an extensive tribute to the Harrier jump jet on our companion site Urban Ghosts, we explored this plane graveyard at Predannack Airfield on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula. Operated by the Royal Navy, the derelict airframes, including several Harriers, appear reasonably intact despite ominously belonging to the Royal Naval School of Fire Fighting. Only time will tell how long they survive…