Play / pause Tornado


  • Al Byford
  • Interview by: Karen Worden


Well, I've flown the Tornado for all my operational career

so obviously it is dear to my heart.

It's not too difficult an aircraft to fly.

Probably the most difficult things that we did

in pure piloting terms was as we're refueling

because again on the ground attack version of the Tornado

the refueling probe was a bit of an afterthought

so it's stuck on the side and it sits in the bow wave.

So when you've approaching the basket

the screen behind the tanker,

the basket moves out in the bow wave

so you've got to aim to miss it knowing that the basket

is gonna move out rather than chasing the basket.

So not an easy aircraft to tank with.

Easy aircraft to fly.

The best thing about the Tornado is at low level

because it's got high bypass engines, very small wings,

the gust response is fantastic.

So it's a very stable comfortable

weapons platform at low level.

The downside of that is because the wing area isn't very big

it struggles at medium and high level

and of course for the last 20 years

that's been the regime that we've normally operated in.

So a Tornado with a full war load struggles

to catch about half the height that you would see

in an airliner flying out to Torremolinos.

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