Jet aeroplane goes on show

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THE final supersonic piece of a £53m college redevelopment was finally dropped into place at the weekend.

A Jet Provost now takes pride of place on a platform outside Hartlepool College of Further Education, in the town’s Stockton Street.

Work had originally started back in August but was delayed while further work on the structure was carried out by workmen.

The jet was finally lifted and secured into place over the weekend to mark the final piece of the jigsaw at the FE College.

The former college building was demolished and replaced with the £53m new-build and college bosses are delighted it is finally in place.

The Jet Provost plays a key role in the education of students at the college as it is the same model used in the aerospace unit where young engineers get vital experience working first-hand on one of the planes as part of their courses.

Its installation caught the eye of passersby as a huge crane was used to lift the jet plane onto the holding platform.

College bosses say the Jet Provost will act as a “gate guardian” to welcome visitors to the college’s impressive main campus in Stockton Street.

A spokesman for Hartlepool College of FE said: “The plane, ex-RAF Jet Provost T5 serial XW405, arrived from storage in pieces and was fully stripped, repainted and rebuilt by students and staff to restore it to external display condition.

“The aircraft retains the eyecatching red, white and grey colours of the RAF Flight Training School in the late 1980s, but for aesthetic reasons the decision was made not to reinstate the plane’s squadron markings and serial numbers.”

The Jet Provost was one of the most successful British aircraft types of the post-war period and in the 1950s the Royal Air Force issued a requirement for a dedicated jet aircraft to train pilots who would be flying a new and ever advancing generation of jet fighters.

The Hunting Percival company, later to become part of the Government-merged British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), developed the Jet Provost from its basic trainer the Percival Provost.

The resulting design was “responsive, reliable and inexpensive” and Jet Provosts were operated by the RAF in a training role from 1955 to 1993.

The Provost outside the college operated mainly from RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

It was then used as a ground-based instructional airframe at RAF Cosford in Shropshire until 2007, when it was decommissioned and put up for sale.